Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has been yearning for players with attitude since he arrived at Valley Ranch over a year ago. He tried to force a label onto defensive ends Marcus Spears and Kenyon Coleman by calling them “bullies” while boasting to the media before last season, but they were far from that during the year. New Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr has already made him mark on America’s Team by taking a shot at the defending Super Bowl champs.
When asked on Friday about the Cowboys getting roasted by New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz last season, Carr was quick to make his intentions known. After watching film of Cruz beating then-Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman off the line for a 74-yard touchdown in the first quarter that doomed Dallas in essentially the NFC East title game, Carr made it clear he doesn’t plan on getting beat like Newman.
“I want to use all my body,” Carr said. “I’m six-foot, 200 pounds. I know he’s got to run through me to get wherever he’s running, so I’m going to be patient at the line. All that salsa dancing, that’s fine, but you’ve got to come through me.”
Coming out of Kansas State in 2003, Newman was touted as a speedster who wouldn’t get beat deep. After a groin injury in 2008, he lost that speed and frequently got grilled by speedy receivers like Cruz.
Carr isn’t slow; he ran a 4.44 in the 40-yard dash coming out of Grand Valley State in 2007. However, Carr has size and physicality to add to that speed, unlike Newman. He’s great in bump-and-run and zone coverage, which is exactly what Ryan utilizes in his secondary.
Carr has the speed to keep up with Cruz, but as he mentioned, he plans on using his body at the line of scrimmage to stop the Giants’ top receiver before he gets going. As for Cruz’s famous salsa touchdown dance, Carr has a plan for that, too.
“I don’t plan on seeing no dancing.”
This kind of attitude is exactly what Ryan has been craving in his players since he began coaching at Western Kentucky in 1987. He’s especially been desirous of such payers since he came to Dallas and now Carr at least appears to be assuming that mold.
Ryan tried to impose his trash-talking attitude upon his players last year by taking a shot at the Philadelphia Eagles before the season. Ryan called Philadelphia the “all-hype” team after the Eagles signed several big-name free agents and self-proclaimed themselves the “dream team.”
However, that remark backfired as the Cowboys’ players didn’t come through for Ryan when Dallas played Philadelphia in 2011. This proves that Ryan can’t be tough and tenacious for his players; they’ll have to become that on their own.
That’s not to say Ryan can’t encourage and nourish that mindset. Comments like the ones above by Carr are a great start, but the Cowboys absolutely have to back that up on the field for it to stick with the team. Dallas has long needed someone to get all the players fired up on the field and Carr is at least trying to become that guy.
Whether he actually stops Cruz remains to be seen, but Carr’s attempt to rile up his teammates is the best thing that could happen to the Cowboys this off-season besides the signing of Carr, of course.