Dallas Cowboys second-year cornerback Morris Claiborne is again out of practice today because of knee soreness. Claiborne has missed the first two preseason games with the injury and it is still in doubt whether he will play this week against the Arizona Cardinals.
While it’s the preseason, the Cowboys need him healthy for the regular year for a variety of reasons.
The most obvious would be that the defense is running a new system this year, and that defensive reps are paramount during the preseason to get used to the system and go up against live competition. Claiborne will not only miss out on that, but he is also missing out on getting in game shape and being primed and ready for the season.
The Cowboys also need Claiborne on the field simply because of the talent he brings. Claiborne has been praised for his excellent ball skills and play making ability at cornerback, and the team just needs him on the field. Their secondary has been a weakness in recent years – really prior to last season – and it is vital that Claiborne be healthy.
Not only for that reason, but also that the team does not have a lot of depth at cornerback. Behind Brandon Carr is Sterling Moore, a 23 year-old who is better suited as a No. 3 or No. 4 cornerback. And behind Claiborne are Orlando Scandrick and B.W. Webb, a rookie. Webb would be a question mark as a starter for obvious reasons – youth, not a lot of experience – and Scandrick, though a veteran, has been inconsistent throughout his career and doesn’t have the cover skills of Claiborne.
Playing in a division that boasts some of the NFL‘s premier receivers like DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles and Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks both of the New York Giants – whom the Cowboys play in their season opener September 8 – the team needs all hands on deck.
Claiborne is an important piece to the puzzle, and he needs to be healthy.
Jake Carapella is a Dallas Cowboys writer for RantSports. Follow him on twitter @JKCSports1 or add him on Google.