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August 14, 2012

Cowboys' defensive package with three ILBs part of Ryan's new wrinkles

The Cowboys’ defense opened Monday’s game in a package that included three inside linebackers on the field at the same time (Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Dan Connor). It remains unclear how much the package will be used throughout the season, but Lee said it is one of many fresh wrinkles that fans can expect in the team’s second season under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

“We’ve used it some in camp,” Lee said of the three ILB approach. “And we have a lot of things waiting. As we use more and more packages, I think we’ll get better with them.”

The alignment offers more opportunities to get Carter, an athletic second-year pro, on the field. Carter made only one tackle in a scrimmage situation during a 2011 season in which he primarily rehabilitated from a knee injury suffered in college.

“It felt good to get out there and move around a little bit,” said Carter, who made the Cowboys’ first tackle of the game. “Just to get the feel for it. I’ve been out a while.”

Alex Albright, a second-year pro who has been training at both inside and outside linebacker, led the Cowboys with tackles (9) while lining up at both positions. Albright said he “felt a lot more comfortable (at ILB)” against the Raiders than at any time last season while he was learning the position.

But he’s still not ready to pull double-duty in a game at tight end, the position where he practiced one day last week in Oxnard.

“Not yet. Their play calls sound like Spanish,” Albright said. “I’m still trying to learn that.”

_ Jimmy Burch

 

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