DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer
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Fri., Dec. 19, 2014 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM CST
Patmon’s Preseason Draws Praise From Fellow Corner
IRVING, Texas – One of Tyler Patmon’s biggest fans can’t be found in the stands.
Patmon’s got everyone’s attention after picking off two passes, including one for a touchdown, and forcing a fumble Saturday. But he already had the attention of fellow cornerback Morris Claiborne.
“As soon as he came in, he’s one of those guys that’s got that type of mentality, swagger about himself where when he walks in, he kind of (commands) that attention,” Claiborne said. “He goes out and he plays lights out. It goes from the practice field, from seeing him work and taking it on to practice and from practice to the games, it’s amazing.”
Claiborne didn’t seem particularly surprised by the stellar effort from the corner, who needed to tryout with the team just to get on the 90-man roster.
Patmon’s phone continues to get inundated with calls and texts after Saturday’s breakout performance.
It’s not a football reference, but he nearly hit for the cycle. Patmon’s highlight of the night came when he followed a receiver in motion across the formation and sprinted into the backfield, reading the receiver and the quarterback on a quick pass to the flat that he snagged and returned for a touchdown.
The throw was backward, and had that play been ruled a fumble instead, Patmon would have finished the night with an interception, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a touchdown. If that wasn’t enough, he also led the team with five tackles.
On a defense that could use a jolt, Patmon provided it.
“I knew when I came in, I was going to be at the bottom of the depth chart and I was going to have to work my way up,” Patmon said. “My plan was just take advantage of every rep and prove to them I deserve to be higher on the depth chart.”
He’s moved his way up that chart, getting significant playing time Saturday after a few injuries to other defensive backs, but it didn’t take long for Patmon to make his mark with the coaches. At one point after arriving in Dallas, he even drew a comparison to Ronde Barber from Monte Kiffin.
Patmon said he’s improved his technique and has a better knowledge of the scheme now that he’s been with the Cowboys for a few months. A lot of that came from watching the veterans.
“These guys, when you’re sitting on the sideline, you’re watching these guys, you see how they play, you see where their eyes are and you see how they react to certain things,” Patmon said.
Claiborne was one of the first players to congratulate Patmon after the interception for touchdown. He said he tries to stay on the rookie with the mental part of the game, but he thinks Patmon already has most of the physical aspects down.
“It’s a hard league to come into and try to make this team,” Claiborne said. “Being on this team, it’s a big spotlight. Just trying to keep his mind right. When coaches get to get on him, if they’re getting on you, it’s for a good reason. That’s a good sign when they are getting on you, and they want the job to be done right. He’s done good since he’s been here.”
Head coach Jason Garrett said Patmon demonstrated his instincts right from the start of rookie minicamp. Those instincts were on full display on his game-changing interception for touchdown.
“He just kind of has that way about him,” Garrett said. “Some guys do. If you watch his Pop Warner tape, he was probably making those kinds of plays. That’s just a part of him being able to play, and that’s a good thing.”
Patmon said things can feel a little tight in the locker room around this time, with the roster trimming down to 75 players by Tuesday. But Patmon’s big night should spare him from those first cuts and may have even bought him a spot on the 53-man roster, although he’s not trying to let that distract him.
“Being a corner, you’ve always got to be confident,” Patmon said. “You can’t let the outside things affect you.”