Position battle: Should Sean Lissemore be a starter?

OXNARD, Calif. – Sean Lissemore looks like one of the Cowboys’ three best defensive linemen.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll start next to Jay Ratliff and opposite of Jason Hatcher.

“Whether he starts or is a backup, he’s going to play the same number of snaps as a starter does,” defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said. “It’s no real big difference. I think he’s got great position flexibility, which adds to his reps. However it comes out, Sean Lissemore is going to be a big part of us.”

It’s possible that the Cowboys could choose Lissemore to start at defensive end over Marcus Spears and Kenyon Coleman, although Coleman is getting the majority of work with the ones at this point. However, Lissemore might be able to have more of an impact as a jack-of-all-trades reserve than as the starting defensive end.

Lissemore, like Ratliff, has experience playing defensive end and nose tackle in a 3-4 and as an interior rusher in the four-man sub-package fronts. He got extensive work at nose tackle during Friday’s practice.

That versatility could be especially valuable if the foot injury that has prevented Ratliff from practicing since last season continues to be problematic.

Expect to see Lissemore on the field a lot this season, whether or not his name is announced with the starters.