Name: Brandon Carr
Height/Weight: 6’0”/206 lbs
Drafted: 5th Round, 2008
Just like fellow Dallas Cowboy, Orlando Scandrick, Brandon Carr was drafted in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Teaming up with Brandon Flowers in Kansas City, the duo formed one of the better CB tandems in the NFL.
In March of 2012 Carr signed a 5yr/$50.1M contract with the Dallas Cowboys becoming one of the highest paid CBs in the league. After ranking #30 in the league in 2011 for KC, Brandon Carr finished 2012 ranked #52 in Rob Ryan’s Cowboys defense. While he ranked above teammates Orlando Scandrick and rookie Morris Claiborne, Carr failed to live up to expectations in his first year with the Cowboys.
In the offseason Dallas fired coordinator Rob Ryan and brought in legendary guru Monte Kiffin. Kiffin converted the Cowboys to a 4-3 defense often calling for various forms of zone coverage. Once again Carr stumbled and fell in the CB rankings. In 2013 Brandon Carr ranked #58 in the league (20 spots lower than teammate Orlando Scandrick).
According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Carr slipped in overall coverage allowing over 60% competition percentage and nearly 1000 yards (4th worst in the league). Hardly the kind of output expected of a top-10 paid CB.
Carr, a better man-coverage CB than a zone-coverage CB, lost confidence and looked lost most of the 2013 season. Despite the increasing man coverage later in the season, Carr struggled with technique and positioning and was abysmal in off-man coverage. Man press coverage was the only adequate portion of his game in 2013.
In the offseason the Cowboys refused the temptation to restructure Carr’s contract to free more money. They are treating this season as a make-or-break season for Carr and will no longer push back his money. If he fails to perform in 2014, the Cowboys are prepared to cut him loose and admit their mistake.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, Brandon Carr has the ability to be a good CB. He has natural ball-skills, tackling ability, and instincts. If new defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli can instill confidence in Carr, he has the ability to make a difference in 2014.
He will be given more man coverage opportunities but he will have improve off-man and zone coverage in order to make the defense work. Marinelli seems determined to put his players in positions to succeed and for the sake of the season, Carr needs to succeed.
Carr is a guaranteed starting CB and will play roughly 60-70% man coverage if things go as planned (and Marinelli sticks to his model in Chicago). With a newly built defensive line, don’t expect the pass-rush to do him any favors. The last ranked Dallas secondary needs major improvement in 2014 and it all starts with Brandon Carr.
Do you have questions or comments regarding Dallas area sports? Email SportDFW at [email protected] and you may be included in the next weekly mailbag. Don’t forget to include your first name.