Jason Garrett praises Bruce Carter

IRVING, Texas -- With starting linebackers Sean Lee and Justin Durant each out for roughly three to four weeks with hamstring injuries, the Cowboys will look to move Bruce Carter from weakside linebacker to the middle.

Coach Jason Garrett praised Carter's effort in the loss Sunday night to the Saints. Carter played every defensive snap and was second on the team with 12 tackles.

After being benched for the second half of the Sept. 29 loss to San Diego Chargers, Carter has been trying to gain the confidence of the coaching staff and has done so by regaining his starting job from Ernie Sims.

"He played well the other night in the game, better than he's played," Garrett said of Carter. "He was active and he's played well the last few weeks and responded to the challenge we put forth to him."

When Lee was lost to a toe injury last season, Carter moved into the middle linebacker spot and played well before suffering a season-ending elbow injury. Carter had six tackles for loss and 42 tackles in a five-game stretch before his injury.

"Last year when Sean Lee went down, Bruce played his best ball in the middle of the season until he got hurt," Garrett said. "We're hoping he kind of sees it the same way. But he's the leader of that linebacker corps and he takes advantage of that opportunity, and he's not playing second-fiddle to anybody. You sense that a little bit in the game the other night. He was active and around the ball a lot and hopefully he'll continue to do that if we play him inside or keep him at the outside linebacker."

The projected starters at linebacker are Carter, Sims and possibly Kyle Bosworth.