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August 07, 2013

Cowboys giving former Carolina DT Nick Hayden work with first-team nickel defense on pass downs

Nick Hayden might be getting noticed for his quickness into the backfield on passing downs.

The Cowboys are looking at the fourth-year veteran at defensive tackle in the nickel in place of Sean Lissemore. Lissemore said he is still on the nickel defense but largely on run downs.

“I do have the skills to pass rush, play the run,” Hayden said. “I’ve been in this system since I’ve been in the NFL. I’m accustomed to what they’re teaching. I know the schemes and what they’re trying to get out of the players.

“That makes it a little bit easier on me.”

Hayden is a former sixth-round pick of the Carolina Panthers. He started 10 games for them last year and recorded a sack and a pass breakup. He also had a sack in 2011, playing in 10 games. In college at Wisconsin, he had 4.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss as a senior.

“Just be relentless,” he said, asked what it takes to rush the passer from a defensive tackle spot. “Keep going. High motor. And you’ve just got to know what you’re going to do beforehand, and then counter off it.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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