Brandon Carr has shown he can come up big late in games. He had a fourth-quarter interception return for a touchdown last year in Philadelphia, an overtime interception against Pittsburgh also last year, and last week, he had a fourth-quarter pick-six against the New York Giants.
But secondary coach Jerome Henderson can’t help imagining what could happen if the Cowboys can get Carr making a bigger impact earlier in games.
“Let’s go do it all the time,” Henderson said. “I think he’s got that ability, that he can be a difference-maker for our team, and we keep talking about it and pushing him that direction, to be a difference-maker.”
With four interceptions, Carr has already made a difference 17 games into a Cowboys career that began with a $50.1 million contract over five years.
But what Henderson is talking about is influencing the game from the start. He believes Carr has the level of talent that he doesn’t need to always let the game come to him.
“You impose your will on the game, but you do it in a sound way,” Henderson said. “You don’t do that being unsound and taking chances and doing things that will get you beat. Just with the force of your play, your attention to detail, you impose your will on the game. And there are players that do that, and again, we’re always pushing him to become that.”
Carr already has a knack for one thing Henderson and the new defensive coaches preach – scoring with a turnover. Carr has returned two interceptions for a touchdown with the Cowboys, and another return reached the 1.
“We really beat it into their heads this year: score,” Henderson said. “Because it’s hard for defensive players to tackle good runners. It’s hard. We miss tackles, and we practice that skill all the time. Offensive players don’t practice it. So when you get the ball, make them tackle you. Don’t go out of bounds. Make somebody tackle you because they don’t do it very often. We get it, we want to score.”
-- Carlos Mendez