Cowboys looking at LB by committee

IRVING, Texas -- If the Dallas Cowboys have settled on their three starting linebackers for the Sept. 7 season opener against the San Francisco 49ers, coach Jason Garrett is not saying.

Justin Durant is the only lock to start, but the question is whether he would play at middle linebacker or on the weak side. The Cowboys will have to find two starters among Bruce Carter, Kyle Wilber, Rolando McClain and Anthony Hitchens.

“We don’t anticipate putting this thing in stone and saying this is the way it’s going to be for 16 games,” Garrett said. “We’re going to continue that competition, and guys are going to fight for roles and spots. Each week, we’ll give them a chance to do what they can do to help our football team.”

It is possible Durant could be the only three-down linebacker with him taking over as the middle linebacker in the nickel defense if he is on the weak side in the base defense. McClain has not played in a regular-season game since 2012. Carter has moved between the strong and weak sides this summer. Wilber will have to play some defensive end. Hitchens has played middle linebacker and on the weak side.

“We’ll try to define some roles for them so that they can play the best they can in that opener against the 49ers,” Garrett said, “and let them play and see how they do and be willing to keep it exactly how it is or be willing to make the changes or adjustments we feel are necessary.”

Durant will likely wear the communication system in his helmet since he will be on the field the most.