IRVING, Texas – Cowboys coach Jason Garrett took to the podium Monday afternoon following the team's fourth OTA practice of the spring.
Garrett addressed a bevy of topics – most notably about his fluctuating linebacker corps – during the press conference. It's been exactly a week since Sean Lee went down with a torn ACL at the first practice of the spring, and though Garrett wasn't ready to comment on Lee's prognosis, he talked plenty about the rest of the linebackers. Perhaps the two main storylines were Justin Durant's return to the field and Bruce Carter's home at the weakside linebacker spot.
Here are the highlights from the full press conference:
- Garrett said Tony Romo maintained the same schedule as last week – walkthrough reps and individual drills. He has not been taking part in the competitive, full-team portion of practice.
- Justin Durant worked heavily at middle linebacker during practice Monday. Garrett declined to comment on the status of Sean Lee, only to say he had a "very serious knee injury," and he was rehabbing it. He said the Cowboys are still working on a longterm plan for Lee. Asked if he thought Lee might be able to play at all in 2014, Garrett said "we'll evaluate that as we go along."
- Garrett said the Cowboys liked the tape on Durant during the 2013 season, but he was hindered by several injuries. He also added that several other players will get looks at the middle linebacker spot.
- The Cowboys have continued to use Tyrone Crawford both inside and outside on the defensive line in OTAs. Garrett said Crawford's flexibility makes him valuable, and he added that they want him to get a look at several different spots. [embedded_ad]
- More than anything else, Garrett said Bruce Carter needs to be able to settle into one position and allow himself to use his athleticism to make plays. That goes along with what defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said earlier in the day, when he said he wouldn't want to hinder Carter's progress by moving him to middle linebacker.
- Garrett said Michael Irvin set the tone for the Cowboys during his time with the team. In that same vein, Garrett said Dez Bryant helps set the tone for his team in terms of work ethic and approach. Garrett added that any of Bryant's contract concerns haven't shown up on the practice field.
- Asked about the possibility of adding a free agent linebacker, including a veteran name like Brian Urlacher, Garrett said the coaches needed to make sure they give every opportunity to the players on their roster. He also added again that they're continuing to survey the league landscape, as well.
- Matt Johnson tweaked his hamstring at the end of last week's OTAs. He was held out of Monday's practice for precautionary reasons.