Among the primary ramifications of today’s announcement by the Dallas Cowboys to place inside linebacker Sean Lee, the team’s leading tackler, on the injured reserve list and sign veteran LB Ernie Sims, are these:
- More playing time for Dan Connor, a starter last season for Carolina who was signed during the off-season as a free agent. Connor has played more at MLB in his career but will take over Lee’s WLB spot in the 3-4.
- Primary play-calling duties at linebacker to second-year player Bruce Carter, although Connor “will contribute to that,” said coach Jason Garrett.
- Probably more playing time for Alex Albright, who has been trained at both ILB and OLB, in the Cowboys’ defense. But Albright is a special-teams standout. Garrett said his snaps on defense will be determined by how quickly Sims, 27, adjusts to the Cowboys’ defense.
In terms of what Sims, a former first-round pick of the Detroit Lions (ninth overall, 2006), brings to the table for Dallas, Garrett said: “We’ll see how it all fits. We need to see where he (Sims) is now, physically and mentally, in picking up our defense ... He’s been more of a Will LB in a 4-3 type defense, where he’s been protected by a 3-technique. You can do that in a 3-4 defense. We do that a lot in our 3-4 defense. He’s a guy who is not real big but watch him play. Watch him play in college. Watch him play in the NFL. He plays with a great motor, a great demeanor. He runs to the football and makes a lot of plays. So we’re excited to have the opportunity to get him. But Albright does have some versatility. He’s been a very good special-teams player for us. His ability to play both outside and inside is certainly an asset to our team to be able to absorb some of these injuries.”
_ Jimmy Burch