IRVING, Texas – Brandon Carr is ready to get aggressive.
Although he hasn't been able to implement it on the field yet, the Cowboys' veteran cornerback has been studying his new 4-3 scheme this offseason. Based on the looks shown by other teams, Carr said he likes what he sees on film.
"It's been a couple of good months down here. We have a ton of film to watch of other teams that run the same type of defense, so it's just an ongoing process of learning it," said Carr at Wednesday's Reliant Home Run Derby. "Now we have to go out on the field and put our own touch on it."
Carr, who has yet to miss a start in his five year NFL career, said that touch will be aggressive play. One of the hallmarks of defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin is physical, tight coverage on the part of his cornerbacks. Regardless of how the Cowboys line up, Carr said the strength of the scheme is its aggressive coverage – which has been one of his strengths going back to his time in Kansas City.
"It allows us as corners to be aggressive at the line of scrimmage every play, challenging receivers – whether we're in a zone or a Cover 2 or a man-to-man," he said. "You never know with this defense, you can mix it up. But it allows us to go out there and dictate the flow of the game."
Injuries prevented the Cowboys from doing that during much of the 2012 season. Carr was the only member of the starting secondary, and one of the only members of the starting defense, who didn't miss any playing time last year. As a result, he spent a large chunk of games backed off the point of attack – away from where he wanted to be.
"Last year due to injuries and things always changing, our philosophy and gameplan changed, and we had to get off and play zone, and do some different things," Carr said. "But that's the name of the game – how well can you adapt to adversity."
If the Cowboys can avoid the injury bug this time around, that passive play style shouldn't be something Carr has to worry about. The same goes for second-year starter Morris Claiborne, who gives Carr an imposing partner on the opposite side of the field. If everything goes according to the scheme, opposing receivers will be getting an up-close look at the new defense.
"This allows me to be the corner that I want to be, to go up there and challenge the receiver," Carr said. "That's what I came into the league doing, that's what I've been doing for some time in the league, and that's how I made my name. So it allows me to go up to the line of scrimmage, and it allows Claiborne to do the same thing."