Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Cowboys searching for strongside linebacker
By Calvin Watkins
Monday was the first day that the entire Cowboys coaching staff had a chance to discuss who plays where, who stays and who goes.
DeMarcus Ware, Brandon Carr, Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Morris Claiborne and Gerald Sensabaugh have spot secured. But there are still plenty of vacancies.
A big hole to fill is one of the outside linebacker spots in the new 4-3 defense. There are issues along the defensive line too, but the Cowboys have the personnel to fill some of those spots.
The strongside linebacker might not be on the roster right now.
Here are some candidates:
* Alex Albright. He played two linebacker spots in the 3-4 defense last season. Is Albright (6-foot-5, 260 pounds) big and strong enough to take on guards that outweigh him by 40 pounds? He looked overmatched at times during the 2012 season, but he has a bright future.
* Victor Butler. Butler is more of a weakside linebacker and probably doesn't get enough credit for his pass-rushing ability, outside of Valley Ranch. He might need to add more weight (he's 245 pounds) to take the pounding that comes with playing the position. Butler is an unrestricted free agent.
* Kyle Wilber. At some point you need to play your draft picks. Last year's fourth-round pick had an uneven 2012 season. There has been discussion about moving Wilber to defensive end to backup Ware. But Wilber seems to be the in-house leader, at least in February, to take over at strongside linebacker.
Of course, all three of these players might not be paired with Lee and Carter come September and the Cowboys might venture into free agency for a player. Given the money the team wants to spend on Tony Romo and possibly Anthony Spencer, it could be difficult.