IRVING, Texas –On Sunday, with Gerald Sensabaugh and Barry Church gone by the end of the second half (and Church done for the year), the Cowboys' best safety was Brandon Carr, the result of a savvy move to make up for the absence of Sensabaugh.
The only downside, of course, is that to make the move, the team had to give up its best cornerback … Brandon Carr. Though the depth of the corner position is greater right now than that of safety, the Cowboys are going to be uncomfortable robbing Peter to pay Paul in the secondary.
"We obviously want him to play corner," head coach Jason Garrett said. "That's where we feel he's best at. But to be able to do that with a guy to absorb an injury, I think that's a good thing to have in your hip pocket going forward."
Garrett said the status of Sensabaugh, who missed Sunday do to a calf injury, could determine how much Carr plays safety moving forward. One thing the team liked about the 26-year-old in free agency was his size and strength, which fits at safety, but allows him to excel in press man coverage.
Thankfully for the Cowboys, Carr is willing to play wherever he is needed.
"We figured they were going to counter it once they got wind of what we were trying to do," Carr said of the Buccaneers' approach to his position chance on nickel downs. "But they didn't really try to attack us deep or try to attack that situation at all. I know teams in the future will probably game plan for that, but at the same time we'll game plan for them, too. It's kind of a chess game, a cat and mouse game, something that we're going to hopefully do this whole season … We haven't really talked about any of those things yet."
Garrett called the unexpected package a great idea by defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and secondary coach Jerome Henderson, allowing cornerback Mike Jenkins to play a key role. When the Cowboys went into their base defense, Carr slid down over the big, physical receiver Vincent Jackson.
"I feel like we have four corners that are capable of starting at pretty much any team in the NFL right now," Carr said. "Just for us all to be on the field at the same time and be able to match up or play games, do the things that we do, give teams different looks, it could be a handful for teams this year." Carr will line up across from another familiar face at wide receiver in Week 4, Brandon Marshall of the Bears.