Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr ready to have fun again

IRVING -- Brandon Carr said after last week's game against the Baltimore Ravens that he needs to get back to being himself.

Making plays.

Getting interceptions.

Having fun.

For the last two weeks, he's been doing none of the above.

The Dallas Cowboys' prized free-agent pickup of the off-season, a $50.1 million investment over five years, has gone the last two games without a pass defensed or an interception.

Three weeks ago, Chicago's Brandon Marshall ran away from him in the middle of the field and down the sidelines en route to a 138-yard game.

Last week against Baltimore, Carr slipped on a route by Anquan Boldin that allowed the veteran receiver to pick up 31 yards as the Ravens drove for a touchdown to go up by eight points in the fourth quarter.

"I know he'd like to have that one back, and I'd like for him to have that one back," secondary coach Jerome Henderson said. "You hate to see a guy lose it like that. If you're going to beat me, beat me at my best and not when I slip."

So after the game, Carr made a decision.

He was going to stop talking about his game until he improved his game.

"I have no problem vocalizing how disappointed I am in my performance. It's just, I've got to get back to having fun, get back to playing the way I know how to play and just have fun," he said after the game. "Fun is the word. Just have fun. 'Cause if you're not having fun, any little thing that goes wrong in the game, it boils up on you. It adds up and adds up. So interviews, I think I'm done for a few weeks. I've got to get back and focus and get this thing right."

True to his word, Carr stuck to his media timeout this week.

Reporters stopped by his locker to catch up, just like every week, and he said not yet.

"I can understand if he's down," Henderson said. "But I think the thing about the young man is he puts a lot of pressure on himself to be good all the time. For him, a bad day isn't acceptable. I appreciate that about him as his coach, that 'good enough' isn't good enough for him."

Through five games, Carr has been targeted 21 times, allowing 11 completions for 228 yards and a touchdown, according to STATS Inc. On the other side, Morris Claiborne has been targeted 16 times, with 11 completions for 148 yards and two touchdowns.

Coach Jason Garrett said he doesn't see what Carr is disappointed about.

"I don't. I think he's playing very well," Garrett said. "I think he's an outstanding football player. He covers his guy. It's well-documented he's played some safety for us. He's done a lot of different things to make our team better.

"One of the reasons we really like Brandon Carr is for the attitude you just suggested. He's done a lot of really good things but at the same time, his standard for himself and for our team and our defense is really high. He's committed to get better every day. Regardless how well he's played, he wants to get better, he believes he can get better, and he's going to get better. And that's why we like him."

The Cowboys liked Carr because he has size and is physical, giving the secondary a press-coverage corner.

But in the past two weeks, he has played just about as much "off coverage" as press.

"Oh, we're playing plenty of press," Garrett said. "But he has the ability to play off as well. We play plenty of press, if you put the tape on. He's very good at it."

Henderson said he sees Carr working on his technique.

"There are always going to be times in the game where your technique slips a little bit, and we're always trying to improve it," he said. "But again, the young man really cares about what he does. He takes time to improve on his craft, and he's always asking questions: 'Coach, what did you see? What can I do better? How should I have played that?'"

Carr said last week, "I've got to get back in the garage and start working on this car again. It's just, in my opinion, there's no more need to talk. It's just go out there and show what you can do. That's what got me to this point. That's what I'm going to have to get back to."

Sounds like fun.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7790

Twitter: @calexmendez

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram