Shutdown corner Carr stands out in Cowboys' loss

Posted Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
A

17Days until season opener,

at Giants, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 5, KXAS/5

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

SAN DIEGO -- The Dallas Cowboys targeted one player at the outset of free agency in hopes of improving last year's 8-8 team.

They flew a private jet to Kansas City to court cornerback Brandon Carr, threw a feast for him at Cowboys Stadium and then gave him a five-year, $50.1 million contract.

Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan called Carr the best player in free agency. What he does is give Ryan a physical, tough, man-to-man cornerback.

Much of the preseason talk has gone to top pick Morris Claiborne, the former LSU standout picked sixth overall who missed last week's preseason opener because of a sprained knee.

Carr is considered the team's shutdown cornerback, and the first true one in Dallas since the days of Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, no matter what owner Jerry Jones said about Claiborne during the draft.

And if you didn't know before, you do now -- after Carr's lockdown, game-changing performance in Saturday's 28-20 preseason loss to the San Diego Chargers.

Carr had two interceptions to spark the Cowboys to a 10-0 lead when the starters were on the field in the first half. His play overshadowed Claiborne's debut and the offense's improvement from the previous week.

Carr's first interception was a brilliant bait job out of Sanders' Hall of Fame playbook. He let receiver Robert Meachem seemingly run free on a post route, prompting Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers to throw deep. Carr then caught up with the ball in the air and ran under Meachem to pick it off at the 17-yard line.

Carr intercepted another Rivers pass the next time the Chargers had the ball. It was another ball across the middle, and Carr again undercut the receiver, this time it was Vincent Brown, for a juggling interception.

Because the focus is mainly on individuals and there is little game-planning in the preseason, especially the first two games, it's hard to make a judgment about a team.

But thanks to Carr, there is no doubting the secondary will be much improved compared to the past two years, when Cowboys gave up more passing yards than any time in team history.

That he was able to do it despite the team's top five pass rushers, linebackers DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer, nose tackle Jay Ratliff and defensive end Jason Hatcher, among eight starters and 19 players sidelined with injuries, makes it even more impressive.

One of the big excuses in the past for the poor play in the secondary was the lack of a consistent pass rush. Well, it didn't affect Carr, which didn't go unnoticed in the owners box by either Jones or injured tight end Jason Witten.

"Witten punched me in the side and said a couple of those [interceptions] might have made a difference [last year] and I think he's right," Jones said at halftime.

Certainly, more work needs to be done by the Cowboys' offense before its is ready for the regular season. It will help when some of their starters return, especially center Phil Costa, guard Nate Livings, receiver Miles Austin and Witten.

Tony Romo completed nine of 13 passes for 75 yards as the top offense gained 102 net yards. They had 14 net yards against the Raiders.

Romo drove the Cowboys as close as the 12-yard line, but the drive was stalled by a holding penalty, setting up a 40-yard field goal by Dan Bailey.

The offensive line had two holding calls and an illegal man downfield penalty. But it performed solidly overall, providing good pass protection and open running lanes for backs DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones.

"Yeah, we moved it good. But we hurt ourselves with penalties and as a football team, we need to correct that," Romo said.

Kyle Orton directed a seven-play, 66-yard drive that included passes for 13 yards to tight end James Hanna, 10 yards to receiver Dwayne Harris, and 35 yards to Kevin Ogletree.

Running back Jamize Olawale powered the ball in for a 2-yard touchdown.

The Cowboys led 10-0 at halftime and 13-7 after three quarters. The Chargers did the bulk of their damage in the fourth quarter against the Cowboys' third-team players on offense and defense.

Clarence E. Hill Jr.

817-390-7760

Twitter: @clarencehilljr

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?





Saturday, October 25Full Scoreboard
Kansas City4Final | Box
San Francisco «11
110th World Series, Game Four. Series tied, 2-2.
Full Scoreboard
Saturday, October 25Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Week 8Full Scoreboard
Thursday
San Diego21Final | Box
Denver «35Gridiron Replay
Sunday
Detroit 9:30 AM ET
Atlanta TV: FOX
Seattle 1:00 PM ET
Carolina TV: CBS
Baltimore 1:00 PM ET
Cincinnati TV: CBS
Miami 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: CBS
St. Louis 1:00 PM ET
Kansas City TV: FOX
Chicago 1:00 PM ET
New England TV: FOX
Buffalo 1:00 PM ET
NY Jets TV: CBS
Minnesota 1:00 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: FOX
Houston 1:00 PM ET
Tennessee TV: CBS
Philadelphia 4:05 PM ET
Arizona TV: FOX
Oakland 4:25 PM ET
Cleveland TV: CBS
Indianapolis 4:25 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: CBS
Green Bay 8:30 PM ET
New Orleans TV: NBC
Monday
Washington 8:30 PM ET
Dallas TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Saturday, October 25Full Scoreboard
Buffalo «2Final | Box
San Jose1
Boston «4Final | Box
Toronto1
NY Rangers1Final | Box
Montreal «3
New Jersey «3Final(OT) | Box
Ottawa2
Dallas5Final | Box
NY Islanders «7
Detroit2Final | Box
Philadelphia «4
Chicago2Final | Box
St. Louis «3
Pittsburgh «3Final | Box
Nashville0
Tampa Bay2Final | Box
Minnesota «7
Florida1Final(OT) | Box
Arizona «2
Washington «3Final | Box
Calgary1
Full Scoreboard