- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas -- The last time Cowboys linebacker Bruce Carter met a small running back, he allowed two touchdown receptions and was benched.
Carter gave up two scores to the San Diego Chargers' Danny Woodhead during a Week 4 loss. His efforts were so bad that Cowboys coaches replaced him with Ernie Sims for a bulk of the second half. It was Woodhead's ability to run wheel routes quickly that gave Carter fits.
On Sunday, Carter takes on another small running back in LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles. This time, Carter said he'll be ready for a running back who uses his speed out of the backfield to make defenders miss.
Both running backs are similar in size (Woodhead is 5-8; McCoy 5-11) and speed. While McCoy is more of an accomplished back -- he's rushed for a league-leading 630 yards this season -- both players can do almost the same things with their speed.
"You watch film and you know what he's capable of doing," Carter said of McCoy. "You just have to be up for it and we have to communicate with each other. He's real quick and shifty."
To prepare for the Eagles' up-tempo offense, the Cowboys won't gather in a huddle as much and will use hand signals from the sidelines to call defensive positioning. Middle linebacker Sean Lee will get the call from the sideline, but defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin will also make a second call in anticipation of a quick play being called on the next down.
"You just have to make sure your techniques are sharpened," Carter said. "I need to focus on my keys and just play the ball and play my man at the same time."