Dallas Cowboys’ cornerback Morris Claiborne heads into Sunday’s seventh game of his rookie season as the only active player on the roster who has intercepted a pass this season. As a team, the Cowboys (3-3) have two interceptions. But the other came from linebacker Sean Lee, who was placed on the injured reserve list earlier this week because of a season-ending toe injury.
Although Claiborne, the first defender selected in the 2012 NFL Draft, said he is glad he “finally got that (first) pick under my belt,” he acknowledged he has not adapted to the NFL game as quickly as he expected because of knee and wrist injuries that have cost him practice time since he was selected in April.
“Not really,” Claiborne said when asked about being satisfied with his progress as an NFL rookie. “I feel like I would be more ahead as of now. But I can’t dwell on that. I missed a lot of time. I didn’t have a lot of time to actually get ready to prepare myself. But so far, I can’t complain. I feel like I’m playing well.”
Where does he feel behind the learning curve?
“All around. Just being an all-around football player and an all-around corner,” Claiborne said. “I feel like I’m a little bit behind but … I missed some time, so I can’t dwell on that. I just got to make the best of now.”
Claiborne, who has been credited with three passes defended and 16 tackles, will get his second opportunity to face the New York Giants’ explosive passing game in Sunday’s game at Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys limited the Giants to 269 total yards, including 187 passing yards by quarterback Eli Manning, in the teams’ first meeting, a 24-17 Cowboys’ victory on Sept. 5.
_ Jimmy Burch