Nov 24, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (80) is unable to catch a pass while defended by Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne (24) in the first half during the game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys: Morris Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick in 2014

Dec 22, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (12) drops back to pass as Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick (32) defends during the first half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys Mailbag: Thoughts on Mo Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick

A couple weeks ago I discussed Dallas CBs Morris Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick. I accused Mo of being dangerously close to a “Bust”. And I said Scandrick offered close coverage but never made plays. Sport DFW regular, Maurice Tittle offered his take late last week,

Mo Claiborne

It’s too early for me to call him a bust but he to need to bounce back next season. As I mention before, Claiborne was drafted to play man to man coverage for Rob Ryan 3-4 blitz happy scheme and now he being ask to play more zone coverage. From my understanding, LSU did not run many zone coverage while he attended and zone coverage is a little difficult to master as a technique. Mo has the ability to be a feared CB in this league but need a strong offseason and maybe a new scheme. What do you think?

Orlando Scandrick

The cornerback position, to me, is the Gambler position. The corner need to know when he can be aggressive, read the QB and calling his bluff, and giving the QB false hope as he tries to find a passing lane. Now Orlando is aggressive but not a gambler. QBs respect him but don’t fear him. He needs to somehow improve his ball skill. This Cover 2 scheme is a good fit for him but he needs the pass rush to generate more of a rush for him to have more interceptions. What do you think?

Let’s first address Morris Claiborne. I think you’re right on the nose with him. He has excellent ball skills (Which are what brought on the pre-draft Deion Sanders comparisons) and is well-versed in man coverage. Much like Brandon Carr, he struggled with zone coverage and overall confidence. He has been nothing short of disappointing in his first two years in the NFL.

Perhaps I’m being foolishly optimistic but I still see potential with Mo. Not only do I think he can be a good player on this team but I think he could still one day be a Pro-Bowler. He played well in week 17 against the Eagles so hopefully that momentum will carry over into the offseason. He has return skills so I would love for him to see some time behind Dwayne Harris as a return man. I think the involvement would do his psyche well. Also, I would like to see both him and Brandon Carr in man-press coverage as much as possible. They both will still need safety help in order to take advantage of their ball skills and gambling nature (that have recently disappeared).

Orlando Scandrick will always frustrate me. Like you said, CB is a gambler position. True success is found in knowing when to gamble and when to play it safe. Scandrick always plays it safe and it KILLS ME. I also agree with you that he is best in a zone scheme. Sadly that doesn’t match with the other top 2 CBs on the roster.

Regardless, I am a strong believer in mixing coverage. I think any halfway decent QB can beat a corner if he knows the coverage. Mixing coverage is the best way to improve coverage success. If the QB doesn’t know what the coverage is before the snap, the defense is at the advantage.

I want to see the Cowboys mix coverages in 2014 with variations of man coverage used 75% of the time and zone the remaining 25% to keep opponents honest. Scandrick can help with the varying coverages.

Pass Rush

You mentioned the pass rush and that it would help both of them. Besides QB play, the Pass Rush is the single biggest part of a successful team. I repeat, besides QB play, the Pass Rush is the single biggest part of a successful team. I plan to focus on this fact the entire offseason. The worst CB in the league can look good with a strong enough pass rush. The Cowboys must make the D-line the main focus of the 2014 draft.

That’s all I have time for today. Thank you Maurice! Keep sharing your thoughts all offseason, I always appreciate insights from our readers. I encourage everyone to reach out to me if they have questions or comments they’d like to share. Happy New Year Cowboys Nation!

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

Tags: Brandon Carr Dallas Cowboys Morris Claiborne Orlando Scandrick

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