Over the years, the blame for Cowboys losses has been passed around pretty equally. Everyone has their own theory for why the Cowboys haven’t been able to return to the Super Bowl since January of 1996, but almost all criticisms of the team go right back to their defense. And, in particular, their (in)ability to play effective pass defense.
The poster-children for this hate have been Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne. Both added after the debacle at the Meadowlands in 2011, Carr and Mo’ were supposed to help solidify a defense which had failed quarterback Tony Romo one too many times.
Claiborne was drafted high, and cost the Cowboys both their first and second round pick, and Carr signed a massive contract worthy of a shut-down number one cornerback. Despite my affection for both these players as people, the facts are that neither player performed up to their costs during the early parts of their time in Dallas.
These last two years, however, both players have improved drastically. While Claiborne has received a ton of love this season for his performance, many fans still refuse to appreciate what Brandon Carr is doing for the Cowboys.
Well, it’s time to open your eyes.
For the second consecutive week, Carr was assigned to follow the opposing team’s number one receiver all over the field on Sunday. And for the second consecutive week, he did a fantastic job against one of the league’s best.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ stud wide-out Mike Evans has been having a breakout year of sorts, rising to number one on Pro Football Focus’ position player rankings (for whatever that’s worth). Evans torched Seattle Seahawks’ star Richard Sherman and the Legion of Boom at times during their match up, finishing the game with 8 catches on 11 targets for 104 yards and 2 touchdowns. Against Kansas City’s vaunted defense, Evans went for 6 catches and 105 yards in another Tampa Bay win.
But, against Brandon Carr and the “Legion of Whom?” Evans was held relatively quiet, finishing with just 4 catches on 8 targets for 59 yards. This comes after Carr held Odell Beckham Jr. under 100 yards the week before, though Odell did break off one long reception for a touchdown.
It seems @BCarr39 catches lot of criticism by those claiming he doesn’t play like top CB, but he seemed every bit that vs Mike Evans
One of the best qualities Carr has is something that many of his teammates in the secondary have lacked, durability. Say what you will about his play each week, but Carr is always on the field and ready to play no matter the circumstances. In fact, Carr has not missed a game due to injury his entire career (knock on wood).
The Cowboys had hoped that Carr could be their number one corner who could follow the opposing team’s best wide receiver when they signed him to a huge deal back in the Spring of 2012. Four years in, he is finally turning out to be that very player. And when Carr and Claiborne are back to playing together, this secondary becomes even more formidable.