A notable exception could be Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne, a rookie taken with the sixth overall pick in April’s NFL Draft. Claiborne has played in only two pre-season games after missing significant practice time in the off-season and during training camp with wrist and knee injuries.
Claiborne had a fourth-down pass breakup in the Cowboys’ end zone during Saturday’s 20-19 victory over the St. Louis Rams, his first notable play of the pre-season. But coach Jason Garrett indicated after the game that he would like to see more from Claiborne in a game situation before the team opens the season Sept. 5 at the New York Giants.
“He needs snaps. He needs snaps at this level covering NFL receivers in game time situations,” Garrett said after the Rams’ game. “He seems comfortable out there. He seems like he’s getting more confident.”
Garrett’s assessment suggests Claiborne will take the field Wednesday against Miami while many veteran defenders rest to avoid injuries. Claiborne said he is willing to go with that plan if coaches implement it.
“I wouldn’t mind getting reps in that game,” Claiborne said of Wednesday’s pre-season finale. “But I know there’s a lot of guys here who probably need that game a lot more than I do. Whatever the coaches say, I’m going with that.”
Either way, Claiborne he believes the starting defense _ which has yet to allow a touchdown in the pre-season _ is ready to open the regular season.
“I believe we are,” Claiborne said. “We’ve been playing good so far. Are we great? No. We’ve got a long way to go. But I know the guys in this locker room are committed to putting the time into it and getting better.”
_ Jimmy Burch