Anthony Hitchens has Sean Lee in his ear during film sessions. Lee, who is out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, sat behind Hitchens in the linebackers room at training camp. He sits diagonally from the rookie in the Valley Ranch meeting room.
“I just hear him in the back of my head talking to me,” Hitchens said Thursday. “He just gives me a little knowledge here and there. I’m sure before I even get to the team meeting, he’s going to have something to say. Like [Wednesday], I had a good swim move. As soon as I sat down, he said, ‘I saw that swim move.’ I hadn’t even watched the tape yet. He did. I guess he’s watching tape before anyone else gets in there. He’ll definitely correct you when you’re wrong, and let you know when you’re right.”
The Cowboys drafted Hitchens in the fourth round to backup Lee. Instead, with Lee out for the season, Hitchens gets a chance to start.
Hitchens took first-team reps at middle linebacker during Thursday’s practice.
“It’s a big opportunity mentally and physically to see where I stand,” Hitchens said. “It’s a lot different pace from the ones [first team] to the twos [second team] in practice. It’s a big opportunity for me. I’m just trying to make the most of it.”
Hitchens worked in the middle during the off-season but played mostly weakside linebacker in training camp. Now, he’s back in the middle.
“If you know more than one position, it helps you out a lot,” Hitchens said. “If you know where the Will’s [weakside] going to be, if you know where the Sam’s [strongside] going to be, which side the safety is rolling down, you can play faster, and you can cheat a little bit. You can slide this way more, because you know you’ve got a safety backside. Just things like that that I don’t have right now, but me and Sean Lee have been working on. Every time in a meeting, he’s telling me something new. I’m just trying to listen to him and take in as much as I can.”
Rolando McClain and Justin Durant are other candidates to start at middle linebacker. Both have taken first-team reps there.
Durant and Bruce Carter were the outside linebackers with the first-team Thursday while Hitchens was in the middle.