New Dallas Cowboys Cornerbacks Mean Nothing for Defense

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Sep 8, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (39) celebrates his fourth quarter touchdown with Morris Claiborne (24) against the New York Giants at AT

It wasn’t that long ago that Dallas Cowboys fans were clamoring for new cornerbacks to emerge as the savior for a defense that was never a strength in the now-scrapped 3-4 alignment.

Remember names like Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins? Not long ago these players, now with the Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders respectively, were the top two cornerbacks in Dallas—at least most of the time as current corner Orlando Scandrick earned his share of starts due to injury issues to Newman and Jenkins.

Over the last two NFL offseasons, owner and general manager Jerry Jones has spent a ton of resources on new cornerbacks, somehow thinking that this was actually the problem with the Dallas defense.

Jones couldn’t have been farther from the truth.

Brandon Carr signed a massive free-agent contract with Dallas just over a year and a half ago. Jones committed to the then-fourth-year veteran for five years and $50 million. Just weeks later, he pulled a double-play at the cornerback position by blowing a second-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft when he traded up to the sixth-overall selection to grab LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. Both of Jones’ new cornerbacks were given signing bonuses of $10 million or just over that amount.

So, how’s that working out?

I did not like the Claiborne selection simply because he wasn’t going to provide any immediate answers for a defense that was already challenged in terms of stopping the opposing rushing attack. Since his selection in April of last year, the second-year veteran has two interceptions and has actually been demoted from the starting lineup this year. By comparison, Jenkins has the same number of interceptions this year as Claiborne—one.

Fair or not, Carr’s performance against Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson last Sunday illustrated that he’s not exactly the shut-down type of cornerback that a $50 million player suggests. Carr does have five interceptions during his season and a half in Dallas—but Newman has three picks during the same time in Cincy, just for comparison.

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  • SmartThinking

    No defensive secondary in the game of professional football can ever be successful without constant, relentless pressure on the quarterback from the defensive line. For two years now Jerry Jones has spent all his rookie draft seed corn on offensive weapons rather than focusing on building up the Cowboys on both offensive lines of the football. Romo takes his life in his hands virtually every snap. And now that the anchor, Brian Waters is gone, Bernadeau is going to be a sieve for opposing defensive tackles. Jones has asked too much from the linebackers and the secondary. And now, it’s only going to get worse as this season finishes. My prediction is that Dallas wins the division after a photo finish with New York. But really, what will they have won with this division’s competition in even sorrier shape than the Cowboys. A hollow, meaningless victory for one week at best. Then Dallas will have to face the 49ers in what will be the football equivalent of San Francisco clubbing baby seals. Dallas fans deserve better, especially from an owner who, if he could only get his monumental ego out of the way, could pay for a winner for the next decade.

  • Chuey

    The o line and d line are the things that Jerry had to address and again it wasnt important to him. You dont build a house for the top down and the same goes for the franchise! A franchise QB bring protected by not so talented players! And CB’s can only cover for so long without losing their man. Long story short its been built a** backwards!! If this is how its been built we need to get going fast and keep the pedal to the metal. Our running game Is non existing so pass and keep scoring.

  • JMonge

    Picking Claibourne in first round and giving him money they did, Has been a big disappointment! I think it was a mistake getting rid of Jenkins and doing things a little different! Although I’m not Owner or coach. It just seems every since Jimmy Johnson “disappeared” nothing good has come of any season since?

  • Buudha

    When you have a good defensive line that can apply pressure and sacks, you get pro bowl MVP corners (remember Larry Brown). Unfortunately Dallas brass simply don’t get it. Football is and always will be about offensive and defensive lines first. Pass protection, all pro QB’s and running backs. Defensive line pressure, all pro linebackers and secondary’s. Still gotta know how to coach them though. Why you think same coaches always winning!