OXNARD, Calif. – Brandon Carr has a clearly defined list of his goals for the coming season, but he's not planning on sharing them just yet.
"I write them down each year, and each year I try to get to those goals," he said Monday morning. "Hopefully this year will be a year I can get to that goal, and maybe I'll tell you at the end."
It's been a year since Carr reported to his first Cowboys training camp in Oxnard – his inaugural year of a $50 million contract. The 2012 season might not have been a bust, but it's fair to say plenty of people will be expecting more from the former Kansas City Chief after five years in the NFL.
"We talk about turnovers, but I'm not going to put any added pressure on myself – I'm still going to do what's in the framework of our defense," Carr said. "At the same time I do have some personal goals – I want to go out there and be that lockdown, shutdown corner and make some turnovers and create some excitement for the fans and my teammates."
The Cowboys managed just 16 takeaways in 2012, with just seven total interceptions, as is well known by now. The hirings made by Cowboys coach Jason Garrett seem obvious in light of that: the Cowboys brought on Rod Marinelli from the Bears, who led the league in takeaways. They also hired Monte Kiffin, who runs the same defense as Chicago, to coach the scheme.
"Chicago created all those turnovers last year compared to our what, 16? We see it now. Last year we talked about it, but at the same time we didn't really go about it the way we go about it now as far as the way we practice, the tempo and our mindset as far as guys getting to the ball," Carr said.
Garrett mentioned the Bears' prolific 2012 on Monday, as if Carr's wasn't emphasis enough. He went as far as to do the math, comparing Chicago's 44 turnovers to the Cowboys' 16.
"That's 28 more scoring opportunities -- close to two more per game. That's really, really significant," Garrett said. "And oftentimes, if you think about it from a common sense standpoint, those turnovers are going to happen in the plus territory, in the middle of the field or back there."
Carr, who has referenced the Bears and the similar scheme run by the Lions as far back as the spring, has done enough homework to recognize that difference. As training camp begins to ramp up, he said the rest of the defense is buying into the gameplan to get men around the ball.
"The proof is in the pudding and we see it on film," Carr said. "They show us all types of clips of the defense they've coached and been involved in, where guys are just creating turnovers on simple plays that we may not think something happened … Guys are seeing it now, and they're buying into it." [embedded_ad]
He kept his goals for the 2013 to himself, but it's fair to guess Carr would love to improve on his career-best interception total of four. Carr set that mark in 2011 with the Chiefs and followed it up with three picks in his first season as a Cowboy. In a new defense with a new scheme, he said he hopes year six can be the best.
"I'm always optimistic about it, and I've been working hard this offseason just trying to perfect the craft of our new defense and just learn where everybody should be on the field and how I should play," he said. "I mean, it's year six – you don't get no younger, you don't get these years back. Hopefully this will be the year I can turn the corner as a player."