Justin Durant performed well while working with the starters at middle linebacker throughout training camp, but head coach Jason Garrett has said that his most natural position is weakside linebacker. The Cowboys plan to look at the combination of McClain in the middle and Durant on the weak side.
“We started to do that a couple of weeks ago and then Rolando was out of practice a couple of days, so we will do that in practice this week,” Garrett said. “At the end of the day, we need to find our three best linebackers and our best combination of those guys to start for us in base, and then there are some roles in nickel as well. If guys demonstrate that they’re a better cover guy than base linebacker, maybe they’ll get their opportunities there. So we’ll continue to work the different looks and the different combinations and see what looks best.”
If the Cowboys like what they see with the McClain-Durant combination, Bruce Carter would likely be on the bench in the base defense, although he could have a role in the nickel and dime packages.
Carter could move to the strongside spot, but the Cowboys have been pleased with Kyle Wilber’s performance at the position. Garrett has been tepid with his praise of Carter this summer.
“I thought Bruce did fine,” Garrett said, evaluating Carter’s performance against the Ravens. “Didn’t like the holding call that he had. Thought that was a legit call. But he showed up a little bit in the game both in the run game and defending the pass. Good cover guy.”