Monday, June 2, 2014
Justin Durant is latest to replace Sean Lee
By Calvin Watkins
IRVING, Texas -- The latest man to get some first-team snaps at middle linebacker during organized team activities is veteran Justin Durant.
Last season, Durant started five games as the strongside linebacker and one more game at middle linebacker for Sean Lee, who was injured.
Lee is out for the 2014 season with a torn ACL and the Cowboys are seeking his replacement internally.
"I'm comfortable," Durant said after Monday's OTA. "We all cross train in all the meetings to step in, just in case something like this happens. I have been studying it. Coach called on me to go and so I went whenever they tell me to go I go. I know we have a depth chart when we come in and my name was up there today for the MIKE."
Durant said he also played middle linebacker during his time with the Jacksonville Jaguars. After playing in Detroit, he became more familiar with the 4-3 scheme under Rod Marinelli so he does seem like a natural fit.
"We’re going to have a chance to take a look at him there," Marinelli said. "He’s a heck of a veteran. He played there some last year. We’ll take a good look at him. ([DeVonte] Holloman, wait until he gets back. And then the young guy [Anthony Hitchens] and find out the best guy. Hopefully also create some depth there too."
Durant is the most experienced linebacker of this current group of players. Durant and Hitchens are sharing time at the middle linebacker spot, but the team isn't in a rush to sign a veteran player. Finding someone currently on the roster to replace Lee is more important for the Cowboys.
Durant has played 89 career NFL games with 74 starts which is far more than any other linebacker on the team.
"No doubt about it, I guess I have played more than all of them combined," he said. "It's another stop in my career, I have never been the old guy in the room who the young guys look to ask questions. It's going to be different, it's going to be good, it's going to be fun."