Carr (39) and Claiborne (24) Courtesy of Sports Illustrated
Last season the Cowboys went out and signed Brandon Carr to a huge free agent contract, and moved up to draft Morris Claiborne so they would be better suited to play man coverage, bolstering the corner position.
For the upcoming 2013 season, the Cowboys have brought in Cover 2 expert Monte Kiffin. Although one of the better 1-2 corner tandems in the game, Carr and Claiborne are not ideal players for the Cover 2. In cover 2, the corners are supposed to have increased run stopping responsibilities and are generally guarding against the shorter pass.
Both Carr and Claiborne are known as shutdown, cover corners. The Tampa 2 scheme doesn’t necessarily require shutdown corners as deep coverages are left to the safety position. However, expect Kiffin to get creative with the talent of the two starting corners he has for the Cowboys defense. He is also supposed to integrate some more man coverage into his play calls to better suit their skill sets.
Nickelback Orlando Scandrick will be returning from injury this season, and it’ll be one of the stories of training camp to see if he can hold off rookie fourth round pick B.W. Webb for the slot corner position. At 5’10, Webb isn’t the biggest guy on the field but Cowboys coaches have raved about his athleticism and ability to hold his own against bigger receivers. For now, I believe Scandrick holds off Webb and wins the slot corner spot. But with Scandrick’s inability to stay healthy, expect Webb to be a key contributor at corner for the Cowboys this season.
I believe the team will also carry one more corner as insurance in case of injury. The last corner on the roster will be Sterling Moore, who received ample playing time last year after those pesky injuries from the 2012 season. His experience could help the Cowboys, but the unit will be better off if fans don’t hear his name this season.
Overall, the Cowboys boast one of the best overall sets of corners in the NFL. The transition to the 4-3 will be the thing to watch here, as schematically it utilizes different skill sets from the position. Cowboys fans be aware, but this unit should be one of the strong points for the 2013 season.
Starters- Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne
Nickel Corner- Orlando Scandrick
Backups- B.W. Webb, Sterling Moore