I think it had a lot to do with the amount of injuries that the Cowboys defense had to absorb, but I think it was more because Rob Ryan didn’t know how to use him. If you recall, Ryan told head coach Jason Garrett, owner/general manager Jerry Jones and anyone who would listen that he needed press-coverage cornerbacks for his system to work.
So, Jones and Garrett went out and got him Brandon Carr and traded up to take Claiborne No. 6 overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. However, Ryan wasn’t using his new cornerbacks in a manner, which would maximize their potential. In fact, he was doing some stuff that left fans, the media and even some league analysts scratching their head; might be why the Cowboys no longer employ him.
This season, the Cowboys are making the switch from the 3-4 to the 4-3 defense under the guidance of Tampa Cover 2 mastermind Monte Kiffin. In the Tampa 2, the cornerbacks are crucial in run support. We know Carr is a big physical guy, but Claiborne, not so much.
Kiffin, however, said that Claiborne doesn’t need to be a 225-ponder to excel in his scheme and that he’d rather Claiborne use his speed and conditioning to his advantage. At the end of the day, sure you want Claiborne to be able to shed his blocker and at the very least re-route the ball carrier toward the inside, but that’s not why the Cowboys traded up to take Claiborne No. 6 overall; forcing turnovers was.
The Tampa 2 will definitely help Claiborne shine in that department.