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October 23, 2013

Brandon Carr is up to the challenge that awaits him in Detroit with Megatron

Brandon Carr has slowed DeMaryius Thomas, Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson the past three weeks. But the Cowboys cornerback faces his biggest challenge this week in Calvin Johnson.

The Lions receiver set the NFL record with 1,964 yards last season. He has 33 catches for 492 yards and six touchdowns this season.

“This one is more special,” Carr said. “He is the best receiver in the league. For my coaches to have confidence to allow me to go out there and challenge him for 60 minutes, it gives me confidence. Now, it’s time to go play and time to have fun.”

The past three games, the Cowboys lined up Carr outside on the other team’s best receiver. Thomas had five catches for 57 yards; Garcon had six catches for 69 yards; and Jackson had three catches for 21 yards.

“He’s having a heck of a year,” Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said. “He’s doing a great job. He really is. He works extremely hard in practice. It just doesn’t come easy. You have to work at what you do and he’s worked from Day 1 when we got here way back. He played a lot of this technique that he’s really good at.”

Carr has 29 tackles, two interceptions and nine pass breakups. Quarterbacks have targeted him 45 times, giving up 20 receptions for 282 yards and a touchdown.

“You need all the confidence you can get,” Carr said. “You need all the tools you have learned against a receiver like [Johnson], but my confidence and the confidence of my unit is pretty high right now. We have been playing some solid football the last few weeks. Guys are getting comfortable with the play calling and comfortable with the scheme in the framework of the defense.”

Carr might have his hands full with Johnson, but Cowboys defensive tackle Jason Hatcher expects Johnson to have his hands full with Carr.

“It should be the other way around in my book: How difficult Megatron’s job is going to be,” Hatcher said. “That’s what I think, because Brandon is playing lights out. It’s going to be a battle, and I’m looking forward to it. I really appreciate what those guys do, but I’m pretty sure Megatron’s on tape right now thinking about Brandon Carr, because he is playing unbelievable. There’s not a corner playing like him right now.”

The Lions had their way with Carr's Chiefs in 2011, beating Kansas City 48-3. While Johnson had only three catches for 29 yards, two were for touchdowns. Carr said he may look at some of that film.

"I didn't have him the whole game," Carr said. "i had him a few times throughout the game when me matched up. I got a feel for how he releases and how he gets out of his routes and things like that."

-- Charean Williams 

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