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November 12, 2013

Garrett senses Bruce Carter could surge like he did last year in Sean Lee's absence

The Cowboys are still evaluating who will play middle linebacker in Sean Lee’s place, coach Jason Garrett said.

But if it is Bruce Carter, Garrett hopes he takes off like he did last year when Lee missed 10 games.

“Last year when Sean Lee went down, Bruce played his best ball in the middle of the season until he got hurt,” Garrett said. “We’re hoping he kind of sees it the same way, that he’s the leader of that linebacker corps and he takes advantage of that opportunity and he’s not playing second-fiddle to anybody.”

Lee was hurt in Game 6 last year. Carter led the team in tackles the next three games and had 42 tackles in a five-game stretch that ended when he dislocated an elbow on Thanksgiving Day against the Redskins. He also had six tackles for loss, four pass breakups. In a game at Philadelphia, he tied a career high with 11 solo tackles.

Garrett said he saw some of that spark on Sunday night after Lee went out against the Saints.

“You sensed that a little bit in the game the other night,” Garrett said. “He was active and around the ball a lot, and hopefully he’ll continue to do that if we play him inside or keep him at the outside linebacker.”

Carter finished with 12 tackles, second on the team behind Barry Church’s 14, against the Saints. He is in a bit of a resurgence since being benched in the second half of the Week 4 game against the San Diego Chargers.

“He played well the other night in the game, better than he’s played,” Garrett said. “He was active, and he’s played well the last few weeks and responded to the challenge we put forth to him.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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