Bruce Carter deals with his frustrations

IRVING, Texas -- It's been a rough week for a couple of the Dallas Cowboys' twenty-something defensive players.

On Wednesday, cornerback Morris Claiborne, 23, dealt with the media's questions regarding a tough game in San Diego. A day later, linebacker Bruce Carter, 25, had his chat with reporters.

Carter allowed two touchdowns against the Chargers, and -- depending on who you believe -- was benched in the second half.

In practices this week, Ernie Sims and Carter shared reps on the defense, increasing speculation that the Cowboys could bench Carter as the team prepares to face the Denver Broncos.

Carter has admitted a bit of frustration with the process.

"I definitely want to play," he said. "I don't want to take nothing away from him, Ernie is my guy, I love him like a brother. I want to be out there as much as he does. I feel like, I don't know, it's out of my hands, I'll say that."

If Carter is benched, it would be a major blow to a young player who was a 2011 second-round pick who fell out of the first round because of a knee surgery. The Cowboys like Carter's abilities in the run and pass game. Carter's speed allows him to make solid open-field tackles against the run and keep up with wide receivers and running backs on pass plays.

But Sunday's game in San Diego fell apart for him. He was beaten for two scores by running back Danny Woodhead and allowed another reception because he didn't get far enough down the field in zone coverage.

"I would say it's one of the worst games I've had since I was a Cowboy," Carter said. "I just wasn't focused. I didn't come out with a lot of spark. That's just something I have to learn from and move on."

Carter was off to a good start this season but over the last few weeks his pass coverage skills have taken a hit. He's allowed 17 receivers to beat him on passes, tied for fifth-most in the NFL according to STATS LLC. Like Claiborne, Carter is dealing with playing more in zone coverage and sometimes that can be tricky. A defensive player has to guide a receiver to a certain spot of the field so a safety can pick him up. When that doesn't happen, big plays usually happen.

"It can be frustrating when you're all over the field," Carter said. "But that's the position. That's why they brought you in here to play so you've just got to do it."