Oct 6, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne (24) intercepts a pass by Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) in the third quarter of the game at AT

Dallas Cowboys: How the Pass Coverage Improved

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

Dallas Cowboys Mailbag:

I knew Kiffin’s defense wasn’t going to work in Dallas. The corners are now finally playing man defense and they look so much better. Why didn’t Kiffin scrap his defense earlier?


First of all let me clarify a couple important parts about Kiffin’s defense:

  1. Kiffin runs Cover 1, Cover 2, Cover 3, and Tampa 2 defenses.
  2. In each of these defenses he offers a variety of coverage assignments
  3. In each of these defenses he alternates man and zone coverage
  4. Man coverage can sit back or play press coverage.
  5. Just because the LB’s are playing zone on a play doesn’t mean the CB’s are also playing zone. He will mix it up.


So with those points made let’s continue. As most people know Kiffin is not just the Tampa 2 defense. Yes, that was what made him famous and remains his bread and butter but he is much more than that. So, just because you see the Dallas CBs playing man press, doesn’t mean he has junked his defense. He’s just using different parts of his defense.

What you and I recently saw last week was considerably more man press coverage than we have all season. This type of coverage plays to the strengths of Mo Claiborne and Brandon Carr – and it really showed on Sunday.

Keep in mind that RGIII was terribly inaccurate too, so that also contributed to the success of the coverage. But even without RGIII’s inaccuracy, you could see these CB’s are much more comfortable playing in a WR’s face, than sitting back and reading the QB.

That’s how it goes sometimes and it seems Kiffin can finally see that. What makes this work for him, is the fact that Claiborne and Carr are natural playmakers. They will play man but instead of faceguarding the WR (like many CB’s do), they naturally look back for the ball. Their instincts for the ball are what makes them so dangerous.

On Sunday when the Cowboys face the Eagles, they will have to respect the deep routes and will most likely rely on a Cover 2 with man coverage and deep safety support.

Monte Kiffin needs to start playing to his players strengths rather than try to turn them into something they’re not.

With that said, Carr and Claiborne must still work on the zone coverage they struggled with the first 5 games of the season. Their ability to mix the coverage will increase their opportunities for turnovers and make this defense a force rather than a liability.

Do you have questions or comments regarding Dallas area sports? Email Reid at [email protected]. You may be included in the next mailbag. Follow Reid on twitter @ReidDHanson

Tags: Brandon Carr Dallas Cowboys Monte Kiffin Morris Claiborne

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