DeVonte Holloman's Career-Ending Injury
DeVonte Holloman was a player who had a great deal of potential. He came on strong the last two games last season, which made him a prime breakout player candidate for 2014.
During the Ravens game, Holloman suffered a neck injury on a benign-looking play. ESPN Dallas' Todd Archer and Calvin Watkins reported:
Holloman missed seven games as a rookie with a bruised spinal cord but was able to return and start the final two games, posting a career-high 11 tackles and two sacks in the season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles.
In the offseason, Holloman took part in several offseason workouts and noted he almost had to learn how to tackle again.
Coach Jason Garrett said the neck had been bothering Holloman the last few weeks, and he was unable to finish last week's preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens.
After Holloman received a second opinion, he was told that it would be in his best interest to retire.
Now that Holloman is out, it is up to rookie Anthony Hitchens to pick up the slack as the backup "Mike" linebacker.
Maybe the biggest thing the Cowboys will miss with Holloman is his stellar special teams play. His size and speed combination made Holloman a fantastic special teams player.
The Cowboys will certainly miss Holloman, and it is so disheartening that somebody is pushed out of the game they love because of such an injury.
Minter Getting Time with the Starters
Zach Minter made a huge impact against the Ravens. While he started off poorly, Minter came on strong when he was switched from the 1-technique to 3-technique defensive tackle.
Minter was playing so well that head coach Jason Garrett had players begging him to keep Minter in the game. ESPN Dallas' Tim MacMahon reported, "Players were coming up to me and literally hit me, ‘Don’t take 79 out,'" Garrett said. "They didn’t even know who the hell he was."
Garrett and his coaching staff were so impressed that they gave Minter some work with the starters in practice this week, per The Dallas Morning News' David Moore.
While Minter doesn't have his roster spot sewn up, another impactful and productive would go a long way toward changing that.
He is likely battle Davon Coleman and Caesar Rayford for the last two 3-technique spots on the roster. It will be interesting to see which of those aforementioned players plays the best.
Who Will Be the Cowboys 3 Starting Linebackers?
The Cowboys need to figure out who there starting three linebackers are going to be. There have been reports that Justin Durant is going to take over Bruce Carter's job as the starting "Will" linebacker because of the emergence of Rolando McClain at the "Mike" linebacker.
Now it looks like the Cowboys are trying Carter at the "Sam" linebacker position, per Archer. He received some snaps there during the Ravens game but didn't perform well. Carter's biggest weakness is getting off blocks, and the "Sam" linebacker must take on blocks nearly every play. Therefore, it doesn't look like putting Carter at the "Sam" is the best decision.
The best linebacker lineup would likely be Durant ("Will"), McClain ("Mike") and Kyle Wilber ("Sam").
Durant is technically better than Carter and possesses similar athletic ability; therefore he could be a solid player on the weak side.
McClain is the most talented linebacker on the roster, and if he can get in shape, he could be a Pro Bowl-caliber player.
Wilber has improved significantly at the point of attack, and he may have the best ability to take on blockers among Dallas linebackers.
This game will be a huge indicator as to who will make up the first-team linebacker group come Sept. 7.