I don't believe that Bruce Carter is a candidate to take over the Mike linebacker role vacated by the Cowboys injured defensive captain, that will come down to a competition between young guys, DeVonte Holloman and Anthony Hitchens, as well as veteran Justin Durant. However, I do believe that Bruce Carter will have as much to do with any improvement of the defense despite of the loss of Sean Lee, as any player who plays the middle linebacker.
The best football we've seen Bruce Carter play in his three-year career was the five-game stretch from weeks 8 to 12 of the 2012 season. These were the games that fell between Sean Lee's season-ending toe injury against the Carolina Panthers and before Carter injured his elbow in week 12 against Washington ending his 2012 campaign. In those games it was largely his high level of play that kept Dallas' defense competitive.
However, his failure to live up to that level of play in his new role as the Will LB in Monte Kiffin's defense last year led to him being benched at different points throughout the 2013 season, and brought Dallas within one pick in the 2014 draft of replacing him with Ryan Shazier. But Dallas needs much more consistent play from Carter in 2014, and luckily, Bruce isn't oblivious to that. As he told John Machota of the Dallas Morning News Wednesday.
"I definitely have a lot to prove to everybody, especially myself," Carter said Wednesday during a Reliant-sponsored charity home run derby at Globe Life Park. "I want to come out here and just get this thing moving in the right direction."
"I just want to be the best player I can be," Carter said. "I have a lot of potential to be great. I don’t want to leave anything in the tank. I want to sell out and give my all."
If Carter can regain the play making ability he showed in Lee's absence in 2012, and the Cowboys can develop a player to sufficiently fill the Mike role, there is still a chance for Cowboys defense to see better results in 2014.