EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ
Since he'll be making the defensive calls with Sean Lee presumably out, is this the biggest game of Bruce Carter's career thus far?
Nick: Something about that statement bothers me, but I can't figure out what it is. Maybe it's just because for a guy that isn't really producing, I think they're all big for him. But I see your point. Here's a guy that gets a chance to call the defense without changing positions. Personally, the biggest thing for Carter is simply stepping up to make plays and fill the void Lee leaves behind. Someone has to fly around the ball and make things happen. So why not him?
Rowan: Not completely, only because he's not taking the place of Lee. He at least gets to stay in the same position he was in. But the Cowboys are looking for a leader at linebacker with Lee out – a player they can trust to be in the right spot at the right time and make the play. They need him to be better than serviceable for the foreseeable future. He can't just be good. Carter has to be great if this defense is to flourish.
Why aren't the media making a big deal about Andre Johnson's "meltdown?" He yelled at his quarterback and he walked off the field. Dez Bryant was being positive, Andre was not.
Nick: I think you know why. We all know why that is. Your history follows you. Dez came into the league with question marks. He's had incidents in his first three years and then sideline acts like that have become normal. So he's a lightning rod and always will be. So you should never try and compare what other players do and how they're perceived to the Cowboys. If Romo followed a referee down the tunnel, as Tom Brady did Monday night, he'd be chastised way more than Brady was. I don't think Matt Ryan gets half the criticism for being a top pick and failing in the playoffs. And what about Sam Bradford and Matthew Stafford? There's a lot of things to point out there. The fact is, the Cowboys are the Cowboys and things they do are always magnified.
Rowan: I've heard a pretty decent amount about that moment and it was played over and over on highlights, but I agree that it's been much less of a big deal than when Dez did it. I think it's because of the resume Johnson's put together. He's been playing in the league at an elite level since 2003 and hasn't made headlines for the wrong reasons. Whether right or wrong, that buys him some leeway that Dez didn't have when he entered the league with character questions on a team that always tends to make headlines.