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August 20, 2013

Justin Durant says he has seen young players like DeVonte Holloman struggle in NFL, but that Holloman is getting it

Veteran linebacker Justin Durant has seen plenty of young players struggle to learn the NFL game. Plenty of young players just like DeVonte Holloman, the Cowboys’ sixth-round pick this year.

“The adjustment is going to be hard for them,” Durant said. “My adjustment was very hard. It was tough.”

But Durant said just as older players were around for him, he wants to be around for young players like Holloman, who is making an impression with two interceptions in the preseason but is still trying to get up to speed in the pro game.

“Some things are complicated. I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” Durant said. “Some of it is, you make adjustments based off what you see. Some of us older guys are catching up on it a little bit faster because we’ve been playing, and we have an idea what they’re trying to do in the league, certain setups, certain motions and what they’re trying to get to at the end of the day. It’s a little bit easier for us.

“But you know, man, he’s around the ball all the time. He’s making a lot of plays. I commend everything he’s doing and his work ethic.”

Holloman said he is learning more every day, and his mistakes are being reduced.

“I see my mistakes every day. So I know what I’m doing wrong,” he said. “I see the little things I need to do better.”

Holloman dove to his right for an interception near the goal line against Arizona last weekend. Two games earlier, against Miami, he plucked a ball out of the air and returned it for a touchdown.

But only the Arizona interception was in the scheme of the defense. Unlike the pick-six, when he said he had lined up wrong and was scrambling to cover the receiver when the ball bounced away and came to him.

“At first, it hit me hard,” he said of the transition to NFL speed. “It’s starting to slow down a little bit. I’m not thinking as a much. I’m learning the defense better. Now I know the tempo. I had to pick my tempo up a little bit more.”

Durant said Holloman’s interception against Arizona was a result of being prepared and being a good athlete.

“He did his job, and then he’s got good instincts,” Durant said. “He came, and he felt it. The quarterback had to slide over and throw it, and he made the play. Took advantage of the opportunity. It definitely was within the defense.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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