As of eight days ago, Bruce Carter wasn't even on the 53-man roster yet, and the consensus was whenever he was called up, he wouldn't be anything more than a special teams player.
Sean Lee's wrist injury has changed things for the Cowboys on defense, so there was Carter on Sunday, in only the second appearance of his career, as the regular nickel linebacker. Carter did have a pass breakup on one Tarvaris Jackson throw over the middle, but defensive coordinator Rob Ryan admitted after the game it wasn't a perfect outing for the team's second-round pick, who had been rehabbing a torn ACL until just a couple weeks ago.
"You can't expect miracles out there," coordinator Rob Ryan said. "He had a nice pass breakup on the Tampa coverage. He going to work. He's working with (linebackers coach) Matt Eberflus, and he'll get him up to speed. It just takes a while, guys."
Carter received roughly a dozen plays on defense.
"It was a good experience," Carter said. "I feel like I've got to play a lot better, but it's only my second game. Not using that as an excuse . . . You can't really be (impatient) because it's different, something new, so you've got to learn before you can actually go out there and do what you do. You don't want to go out there and mess everything up, because it's not just about me, it's about the whole team."
To that end, the Cowboys' more veteran 'backers are quick to let Carter know if he's done something wrong.
"It's great to have Bradie and Brook, and even Sean," Carter said. "When I make mistakes, I run to the sideline and they cuss me out. That's always a good thing."