Bruce Carter was the first name that popped in my mind the night I found out that Monte Kiffin had been hired as the new Defensive Coordinator. And I wasn't alone either.
Bruce Carter is a Tar Heel. My name is Tarheel Paul. So I completely admit that picking Bruce Carter as my breakout player of the year can be considered somewhat biased with a definite hint of homerism. But as much of a Tar Heel homer as I am, when it comes to our beloved Dallas Cowboys I’m completely able to set all bias aside. The well-respected Rich Gosselin from the Dallas Morning News had very lofty goals for Bruce as well.
[su_quote cite="Rick Gosselin - Dallas Morning News" url="http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/dallas-cowboys/headlines/20130527-gosselin-with-his-size-and-speed-bruce-carter-is-a-perfect-fit-in-monte-kiffin-s-4-3-defense.ece"]“I want to see more of Bruce Carter on the weak side. Monte Kiffin moved him over there for a reason. With his size and speed, he’s a perfect fit for that weak side backer in the Tampa Cover 2 scheme. This is where Derrick Brooks played. The position has cleaned up. He will be put in position to make plays, to make tackles, make interceptions, force fumbles."[/su_quote]
Well we all know how that ended it up working out. And while I’m his biggest fan, I was his biggest critic last year. I could not for the life of me understand why or even how this was happening. Our own writer here at DallasCowboysNation.com did a fantastic piece a month ago trying to put the pieces together as to why Bruce Carter struggled. If you haven’t checked it out yet, be sure to do so. Brian Leatherman - Bruce Carter: What Went Wrong?
So we could talk about why and how he struggled all day but that’s not what I'm doing here. Bruce Carter is my guy in 2014, and as much as I want him to breakout this season, I feel like he NEEDS to be that guy as well.
If this defense is going to make any improvement at all, I feel like - with the injury to Sean Lee - the linebackers could make or break the defense.
I think the defensive line is going to be a lot better than what the popular opinion currently is. It has a nice mixture of talent and depth and will come in waves. I also think the secondary will be much improved with Rod allowing Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr to play more press-man coverage which is what those two guys do best. So if the defensive line is improved and the corner play is improved then, to me, that’s going to make the lives of Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox a lot easier.
So what position group does that leave? The linebackers. And without Sean Lee, Bruce Carter is clearly the most talented player of this group. Now hopefully DeVonte Holloman comes on strong and whoever wins the middle linebacker battle can at least play adequately. But part of the reason my hopes are so high for Bruce Carter this year is because of a little tidbit I heard on The Lunch Break over at the mother ship - DallasCowboys.com.
If you skip ahead to the 36:15 mark of the broadcast, Nick Eatman gives you a sweet little nugget that he got straight from Jason Garrett himself. And this is the biggest reason I think he breaks out. Bruce will not strictly line up on the weak side. He'll basically line up behind the 3 technique on every single play. Which in this case is Henry Melton. So where ever Melton lines up Bruce Carter will be behind him. This will allow him to use his freakish athletic ability to flow from sideline to sideline and make plays since the offensive line has its hands full with Melton. It was done this way for Derrick Brooks in Tampa Bay and Lance Briggs in Chicago. And I believe 100 percent that Bruce Carter has that same ability.
Now why do I have so much faith in Carter? Take a look at what Jerry Jones had to say about Bruce:
[su_quote cite="Brandon George - Dallas Morning News, SportsDayDFW" url="http://cowboysblog.dallasnews.com/2014/02/dallas-cowboys-owner-jerry-jones-confident-lb-bruce-carter-can-still-be-outstanding.html/"]“He’s working at it, though. We saw things, there’s an old adage, if you’ve seen him do it a few times, you know they can do it at least and you go from there,” Jones said. “We know he can do what this defense calls for and be outstanding. We have some real reasons to be excited about him and certainly he’d be the first to say that he had some things that he’d like to take back.
“Overall, he’s got a future here … and that’s a positive. It’s not a condition, he’s going to become more of a pro and more understanding about the kind of commitment and the kind of detail and preparation it takes and he’ll be a lot better for it. He’s got the other stuff that nobody can coach, and that is speed and physical assets.”[/su_quote]
Same thing goes for me. I saw it for four years at North Carolina and we all saw it in 2012.
The only real obstacle that can get in his way, in my opinion, is himself. He seemed to really lose confidence in himself last year, despite racking up 122 tackles. But he has to mature enough to be able to get past that because Rod Marrinelli doesn’t play those games.
[su_quote cite="Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com" url="http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/cowboys/post/_/id/4728240/marinelli-message-to-carter-its-a-mans-game"]“I don’t do confidence stuff,” said Marinelli, who was promoted to defensive coordinator this offseason. “Get down and play. Get down and play. Here’s your assignment key. We want you to play fast and we want you to take the ball away.”
"Go play," Marinelli said. "It's a man's game, man. Play it the right way. That's what I want. We're going to coach it. We'll coach you hard. Be where you're supposed to be. This is what we expect. And then go."[/su_quote]
But he seems to be getting it with this quote from linebacker coach Matt Eberflus. "It's him getting his eyes on the quarterback and doing a great job of breaking on the ball," Eberflus said, per FOX Sports. "He's doing what we're asking him to do. He knows what he has to do. He's trying to make a step every day to work to get better."
According to Scott Crisp of NBCDFW.COM, he seems motivated. "I definitely have a lot to prove to everybody, especially myself," Carter said. "I want to come out here and just get this thing moving in the right direction."
With all due respect to players like Anthony Hitchens, Will Smith, DeVonte Holloman and Justin Durant, the only thing that is going to keep Bruce Carter from breaking out in 2014 is the man in the mirror.
Terrance Williams Contract Creates 2018 Job Security
There's been a lot of talk about what the Dallas Cowboys will do at the receiver position this offseason. While there's a great divide on what the team should do with Dez Bryant, there's a fairly unanimous opinion that Dallas should find an upgrade over Terrance Williams. No matter where he ends up on the depth chart, though, Williams' contract should keep him on the roster in 2018.
Last offseason, Terrance signed a four-year, $17 million deal to stay in Dallas. Because we are now just in the second year of that deal, it is cost prohibitive against the salary cap to release or trade him.
Williams is scheduled to count $4.75 million against the 2018 cap. If Dallas were to cut him, it would accelerate his remaining guaranteed money and create $7.25 million in dead money this year. He would cost more against the cap off the roster than on it.
Even the June-1st provision doesn't help. Williams' dead money in 2018 drops to $4.75 million, which is a net zero against his existing cap hit. It would also push $2.5 million of dead money to 2019. There's no benefit there, and you lose an experienced player who knows your system.
If the Cowboys do like their WR depth enough to want to move on from Terrance, one option is to try to trade him. A trade would lower the cap penalty to $3.75 million and save $1 million. If he's traded after June 1st, it would save $3.5 million against this year's cap.
Of course, it takes two to tango in this scenario. Williams hasn't scored a touchdown since 2016 and has never proven he can take on a significant role in an offense. He was serviceable when Dez Bryant and Jason Witten commanded more attention, but he's a low-end WR2 at best and many teams likely wouldn't want him in their top 2-3 receivers.
Perhaps something could happen during training camps or preseason, when injuries may make other teams desperate. Then again, something could happen in Dallas that makes them less willing to part with Terrance.
As it stands, it seems unlikely that Terrance Williams won't be a Cowboy in 2018. And really, that's not bad thing.
Even if he gets pushed down the depth chart, Terrance would be a good insurance policy against injuries or any other issues that could happen between now and September. $4.75 million is more than you'd like to pay your fourth WR but it's a one-year problem.
If the Cowboys do add more WR talent this offseason, there is a trickle-down effect that strengthens the entire club. Williams, with his experience, is an upgrade over Brice Butler as the fourth receiver.
Therefore, unless circumstances both here and elsewhere allow Dallas to find a trade partner, Terrance Williams should be back next year.
Cowboys Trade for FB Jamize Olawale from Raiders
Less than a week after the Cowboys lost fullback Keith Smith to the Raiders in free agency, the two teams have worked out a trade to send FB Jamize Olawale from Oakland to Dallas.
Fullback trade! The #Raiders are sending FB Jamize Olawale to the #Cowboys, sources say. Dallas has its fullback, one who was with Oakland since 2012.
To facilitate the trade, the Cowboys will send their fifth-round pick (173rd overall) to the Raiders for their sixth-round pick (192nd), moving back just 19 spots.
In return, Dallas not only brings in a veteran replacement at FB but a player they already know.
Jamize Olawale was an undrafted rookie free agent of the Cowboys in 2012. Despite a strong showing in that preseason, Dallas did not have room for him on the roster. He was on the team's practice squad until December, when Oakland poached him.
Since then, Olawale has been a regular roleplayer in the Raiders' offense. He's missed just six games since 2013.
Jamize brings more offensive firepower to the FB position than Keith Smith had. He's scored at least one touchdown in each of the last three seasons. He can be effective both running and receiving.
Through the trade, Dallas picks up the final year of Olawale's current contract. It calls for a $1.5 million base salary in 2018.
Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018
Continuity is the key to good special teams play in the NFL. Already losing long-time Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia to the Raiders - who promptly snatched ST aces Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber in free agency - the Dallas Cowboys have announced their intentions to re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for the 2018 season.
Returning on a one-year deal, the fan favorite Ladouceur will be back to do what he does best in cleanly executing almost every special teams snap for Chris Jones or Dan Bailey to handle.
Long snapper L.P. Ladouceur will re-sign with the Cowboys on Monday, according to sources, on a one-year deal. He will be in his 14th season with the franchise. Only Jason Witten, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Bill Bates and Mark Tuinei will have more years of... https://t.co/yTQbMYyrIv
While Jones has improved as the Cowboys' punter with each passing season, Kicker Dan Bailey actually enters 2018 as another question mark on this unit. With the general belief around the team being that Bailey will be just fine moving forward, the Cowboys will no longer have to worry about who handles long snaps next year either.
L.P. Ladouceur is back in the silver and blue, and in this moment, everything can be alright with the world.
Want to help make Inside The Star better?
We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.
Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).
Star Blog12 hours ago
Should Cowboys Reunite Shea McClellin With Rod Marinelli?
Star Blog2 days ago
Xavier Woods, the Real Reason Cowboys Didn’t Pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
NFL Draft2 weeks ago
Mauricio’s 2018 NFL Mock Draft 1.0: Cowboys Steal Defensive Talent
Dallas Cowboys6 days ago
Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Cowboys 2018 Free Agency: What’s Left Before Market Opens?
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Do the Dallas Cowboys Have Any Trade Assets?
Star Blog1 week ago
3 Former Penn State Alumni Cowboys Could Target in Free Agency
Star Blog1 week ago
Cowboys Defense: Bigger Need at Safety or Defensive End?