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May 22, 2013

Claiborne says getting bigger and stronger has made for a 'tremendous' offseason

Morris Claiborne had to do a couple of things this spring.

One, get bigger.

Two, get stronger.

So far, so good.

“I feel like I’ve had a tremendous offseason with getting in the weight room and trying to get stronger,” the second-year cornerback said Tuesday after the Cowboys’ first OTA practice at Valley Ranch. “Actually, I put on a couple of pounds. Last year, I was at 187. Now I’m at 193. So I’m just trying to learn how to move with that weight and just get comfortable.”

Claiborne and the Cowboys figure he can use the extra weight to become a stronger tackler, a skill that will be required more from the cornerbacks under new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. Last year as a rookie, Claiborne never got up to speed with his strength because he spent the spring recovering from wrist surgery.

“There were times last year where he wasn’t strong enough to execute a certain technique,” secondary coach Jerome Henderson said. “So he had to get stronger to do that. He’s done the work to do that.”

Claiborne has known all spring about the physical style that will be required of him and fellow corner Brandon Carr. But he believes he is ready for it and feels confident as he enters his second pro season.

“I told someone the other day, I feel a difference when I pull up in the facility than I did a year ago,” Claiborne said. “I feel like nothing’s too much new to me. I expect everything how it was last year. We’ve got a couple of coaching changes, but nothing stopping. I’m just trying to continue to get more comfortable, continue to get more established in this system, so I can go out and play and have fun.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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