Dallas Cowboys coaches wasted no time in showing their intentions for cornerback Morris Claiborne, the team’s first-round pick from LSU. He went through today’s initial walkthrough of training camp with the starting defense.
“It felt good. I was kind of expecting that,” Claiborne said. “I know they didn’t get me for nothing, just to have me sitting over there (on the sideline). I knew they would throw me out there. I’ve just got to do my part and handle my business.”
Coach Jason Garrett said the team expects a lot from Claiborne, who had wrist surgery in the off-season and will play with a protective brace on his left wrist. Although Claiborne could not take part in physical drills until last week’s rookie workouts in advance of training camp, Garrett said Claiborne has been “very engaged” with the team since he was drafted and needs as many reps as possible to regain his physical edge.
“He’s certainly rusty. But he has the capability physically to (start),” Garrett said. “We’re going to give him as many opportunities to go against the best competition as early as we can to get himself ready to play this season ... He’s a smart football guy who picks things up. He’s very natural and very instinctive out there. You can tell he has a good feel for playing the game.”
Claiborne said his comfort level is growing with each practice.
“Football is one of those things that comes easy. When you’ve got the playbook down, you can just go out and play,” he said. “I feel like I’m getting to that point.”
Is he ready to start?
“I don’t have a choice. When they put me in, I’ve got to go out and play,” Claiborne said. “If I’m jumping in front of someone, I can’t worry about that. I’ve just got to go out and handle my business.”
That includes making interceptions despite wearing a wrist brace. Claiborne stressed the apparatus will not hinder his catching abilities.
“No, sir. Not at all,” Claiborne said.
_ Jimmy Burch