When the Dallas Cowboys made a trade for linebacker Rolando McClain back at the beginning of July, it was widely seen as a desperation move, and in some ways it was just that. Now, it might just turn out to be a very big move if everything plays out according to plan. McClain got his first real action as a Cowboy in the pre-season game against the Baltimore Ravens. While still knocking off the rust of not playing competitive football for a while, he did flash his physical skills, leading the team in tackles after replacing Justin Durant at the Mike.
This week at practice, McClain is going to get the Mike reps with the first-string, possibly a prelude to what we'll see this season.
Now he’s going to be given a serious shot to claim the starting middle linebacker role. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said this week McClain will practice at that spot with Justin Durant moving to the weakside position in an alignment that could offer a preview of the starting lineup for the Sept. 7 opener against San Francisco.
"At the end of the day, we need to find our best three linebackers and the best combination of guys to start for us in base," Garrett said.
In this alignment, Bruce Carter ends up as the odd-man out. One thing that has not been discussed too much is Kyle Wilber's seemingly tight hold on the starting Sam linebacker position. If McClain makes the most of his opportunity, Dallas will have Wilber, McClain and Durant as the starters with Carter being a backup.
Another guy who was supposed to be a backup, and earlier was thought to be in contention for serious playing time was DeVonte Holloman. The Cowboys are now worried about his future.
The Dallas Cowboys are concerned about the neck injury linebacker DeVonte Holloman suffered Saturday in the club’s second preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens... What’s alarming is that this isn’t the first neck-related injury for Holloman. He suffered a spinal contusion in a practice last season and missed seven games. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said the club is still evaluating Holloman’s injury. "We’ll just monitor him after he gets the feedback from the doctors," Garrett said. "We’re obviously looking at that situation very closely."
Garrett was asked later if he has any worry that this could be a possible career-threatening injury for Holloman. "We just got to see what the doctors say," Garrett said. "Simple as that."
Very tough break for Holloman if it is serious enough to derail his career.