Brandon Carr needs better 2014 season

IRVING, Texas -- Middle linebacker Sean Lee is not coming back in 2014. A knee injury ended his season Tuesday, the first day of the Dallas Cowboys' organized team activities.

The leadership and playmaking void with Lee’s absence is glaring for a team trying to end a four-year playoff drought.

With Lee gone, there are other players willing to step up and perform. If they can.

Cornerback Brandon Carr is one of those men.

Carr enters his third season with the Cowboys as one of the highest paid players not only on the team, but at his position in the league.

Carr signed a five-year $50.1 million deal and has produced six interceptions in two seasons.

According to Stats Inc., Carr was burned by receivers 62 times last season, third-most in the NFL behind Ike Taylor and Cary Williams, who were each burned 70 times. He also gave up the third-most yards in the league at 966. Taylor led the NFL with 1,170. Carr allowed just three touchdowns, and had 12 pass breakups and one defensive touchdown.

It was not a good season for Carr.

He never backed down from a challenge, he covered the opponent's best receiver on a weekly basis but allowed Orlando Scandrick to take over the coverage of Pierre Garcon against Washington.

It seemed the Cowboys' secondary was under siege nearly every week.

The scheme could have been a problem.

Maybe the lack of pass rush was too much to overcome.

And here is the other thing, maybe Carr and Scandrick need to step up their games more than they have in the past. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said he needs career-years out of his players this season to avoid the issues of 2013.

Whatever is ailing the Cowboys’ secondary, you need to look at Carr.

“It is what it is, that’s the past,” Carr said. “We get to rewrite the history books this year. I can take it, I’m a big person. I work so hard to get in that position anyway, so bring it on again.”