2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Cowboys lagging on INTs despite new cornerbacks

    2012-12-06 05:01

(Eds: Updates. With AP Photos.)
By SCHUYLER DIXON
AP Sports Writer

IRVING, Texas (AP) - Dallas cornerback Morris Claiborne probably figured his first NFL touchdown would come on an interception. The rookie had to settle for a fumble return because the picks have been hard to come by for the Cowboys.

After trading up eight spots to take Claiborne at No. 6 in this year's draft and committing at least $26 million to free agent Brandon Carr, Dallas is last in the league with five interceptions and the only team without a player who has at least two heading into Sunday's game at Cincinnati.

``We certainly want to create more takeaways,'' coach Jason Garrett said. ``There's no question about that.''

Dallas scored three defensive touchdowns in two games against the Eagles, including Claiborne's 50-yard fumble return in Sunday's 38-33 win. In the first meeting, Carr had a 47-yard interception return and Jason Hatcher recovered a fumble at the goal line after a sack in a 38-23 Dallas win.

``We believe that turnovers and takeaways are a team thing,'' Garrett said. ``So everybody's involved, pressuring the quarterback, tipping the ball, all of those things come into play. And certainly when you have a chance to make them, you've got to make them.''

Dallas had to make them, actually. The Cowboys had allowed four straight scoring drives by Philadelphia before Morris' fumble return. The previous game against Washington, the Cowboys watched the Redskins score four touchdowns in a quarter for the first time in 13 years.

Four starters are out for the year, and Dallas' defense slipped out of the top 10 after the Eagles gained 423 yards with rookies at quarterback and running back. Improving the minus-10 turnover ratio might be the only way for the Cowboys (6-6) to stay in the playoff race - or more games where the Dallas offense matches all the scoring drives, like it did against Philadelphia.

``We can't use (injuries) as an excuse, but I feel like that plays a big part in it,'' Claiborne said. ``We just have to count on those guys to come in and get the job done. And ... we've been compensating for each other all year, from the offense to the defense. Every time we gave up a touchdown, they came back and scored a touchdown to keep us in the game.''

The Cowboys aren't anywhere close to the bottom of the league in turnover ratio - that would be Kansas City at minus-21 - but only three players expected to suit up against the Bengals have an interception.

Danny McCray, who was supposed to be a backup safety while focusing on special teams, has one along with Carr and Claiborne. The others belong to linebacker Sean Lee - out for the year with a toe injury - and safety Charlie Peprah, a midseason injury replacement who might not make it back this season because of a foot injury.

The turnover ratio for Dallas might be worse if not for eight fumbles, about in the middle of the NFL pack.

``We just have to stop them from scoring,'' linebacker Anthony Spencer said. ``Any way we can do it - interceptions, fumbles, three-and-outs, six plays and out. Any way we can get off the field, that's how we've got to get it done.''

In the first game against the Eagles, Claiborne was beaten on a highlight-reel touchdown catch by Riley Cooper and penalized five times, including twice for offsides, rare for a defensive back.

``I've been a cornerback for quite a while and I learned in college that things are going to happen and you have to move on from it,'' Claiborne said. ``But that game was a big teaching game for me. I felt like it was just growing pains for me, just growing up and learning everything in the NFL.''

The two Philadelphia games were the opposite for Carr. His biggest moment in Dallas was the interception return for a score last month, whereas he hardly wanted to be on the field Sunday night against the Eagles because of the murder-suicide in Kansas City involving Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, his teammate just a year ago. Carr knew Belcher and his girlfriend well.

Carr, who signed a $50 million deal over five years, was beaten by Cooper for a touchdown early, just as Claiborne was three weeks earlier. He finished with just one tackle.

``I can handle the scrutiny,'' Carr said. ``I'm in a position where I'm fair game to everybody. I can handle whatever they have to say. All I can do is come every day, keep getting better and keep working.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

Follow Schuyler Dixon on Twitter at https://twitter.com/lschuylerd

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Pierre ThomasOct 30 07:22p

New Orleans Saints RBs Khiry Robinson (forearm) and Pierre Thomas (shoulder) are both inactive in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers Thursday, Oct. 30.

David HawthorneOct 30 07:12p

The New Orleans Saints have declared LB Austin Johnson, LB David Hawthorne, C Jonathan Goodwin, RB Khiry Robinson, WR Nick Toon, RB Pierre Thomas, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste inactive for Week 9.

Amini SilatoluOct 30 07:12p

The Carolina Panthers have declared OG Amini Silatolu, CB Bene Benwikere, OT Byron Bell, RB Fozzy Whittaker, WR Philly Brown, FS Thomas DeCoud, OG Trai Turner inactive for Week 9.

Brandon BrownerOct 30 04:32p

New England Patriots DT Alan Branch (non-injury related) and DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Nate Ebner (finger), DL Dominique Easley (knee), OL Cameron [ More ]

Brandon ThompsonOct 30 04:22p

Cincinnati Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard (hamstring), LB Rey Maualuga (hamstring) and OG Kevin Zeitler (calf) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DT Domata Peko (toe) and OT Andre Smith [ More ]

Dwight FreeneyOct 30 04:22p

San Diego Chargers LB Manti Te'o (foot), CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) and S Jahleel Addae (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Jeremiah Attaochu (hamstring) was limited. CB [ More ]

Donald BrownOct 30 04:12p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) practiced fully Thursday, Oct. 30.

Terrell SuggsOct 30 04:02p

Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Campanaro (thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (foot) and LB Terrell Suggs (neck) all did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OG Marshal Yanda (knee) [ More ]

Brett KeiselOct 30 03:52p

Pittsburgh Steelers DE Brett Keisel (non-injury), SS Troy Polamalu (non-injury) and SS Ross Ventrone (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Ike Taylor (forearm) and FS [ More ]

Bruce CarterOct 30 03:22p

Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter (finger) suffered a broken ring finger during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, but expects to play in Week 9. He will wear a splint on his finger for protection.

Cullen JenkinsOct 30 03:12p

New York Giants DT Cullen Jenkins (calf) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back, hamstring) and P Steve Weatherford (ankle) were both limited in practice.

Brandon BoykinOct 30 03:12p

Philadelphia Eagles FS Nate Allen (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. TE Brent Celek (back) and WR Brad Smith (groin) were both limited in practice. CB [ More ]

D'Qwell JacksonOct 30 03:12p

Indianapolis Colts LB D'Qwell Jackson (toe), DT Arthur Jones (ankle), LB Erik Walden (quadriceps) and LB Josh McNary (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Vontae [ More ]

Rashad JenningsOct 30 02:42p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) said he is on track in terms of his rehab, but there is no timetable for his return. Jennings said he has [ More ]

Jordan CameronOct 30 02:32p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Anthony CollinsOct 30 02:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Oniel Cousins is working at left tackle with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, because OT Anthony Collins (foot) is sitting out practice.

Doug MartinOct 30 02:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (ankle) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Jason VerrettOct 30 01:52p

San Diego Chargers CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) is expected to miss two to three weeks with a torn labrum, according to two sources.

DeAngelo WilliamsOct 30 01:52p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (ankle) will start the team's Week 9 game against the New Orleans Saints Thursday, Oct. 30, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 01:42p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) received most of the work with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, and will start in Week 9 if he [ More ]

Jaylen WatkinsOct 30 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles SS Earl Wolff, FS Chris Maragos and CB Jaylen Watkins could be options to start at safety if FS Nate Allen (hamstring) is not able to play in Week 9.

Giovani BernardOct 30 01:22p

Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (hip, shoulder) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Tony RomoOct 30 01:02p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) didn't take part in the walk-through Thursday, Oct. 30, and will not practice with the team. However, head coach Jason Garrett remains hopeful [ More ]

Trent RichardsonOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) is participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Reggie WayneOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (elbow) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Tony RomoOct 30 12:22p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo's (back) status is making head coach Jason Garrett feel optimistic about his availability for Week 9.

Dallas ThomasOct 30 11:43a

Miami Dolphins OG Dallas Thomas would be the most likely candidate to start at left guard if OG Daryn Colledge (illness) is not able to play in Week 9.

Rashad JenningsOct 30 11:12a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) has been ruled out for Week 9.

Phil BatesOct 30 10:52a

The Cleveland Browns signed free-agent WR Phil Bates (Seahawks) to the practice squad and released CB Marcus Cromartie Thursday, Oct. 30.

Charles SimsOct 30 10:13a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Charles Sims could have 10 or more touches in Week 9, in the opinion of beat writer Greg Auman.

Ryan MathewsOct 30 09:52a

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) is likely to sit out of the Week 9 game and return after the Week 10 bye.

Dennis PittaOct 30 09:52a

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) may never be able to play football again after two surgeries on a fractured and dislocated hip in as many seasons.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group