IRVING, Texas – There's no clear indication about the status of Morris Claiborne's hamstring, but it sounds like it'll be a wait-and-see scenario for the Dallas defense.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett addressed several injury concerns on Monday afternoon following his team's 10-6 loss to Tampa Bay. Asked if Claiborne can expect to miss significant time, he didn't have a definitive answer.
"We'll see. We'll take it day-by-day," he said. "It is a hamstring injury, though."
Claiborne left the loss to the Buccaneers in the first half and did not return to the action. It's his first injury issue of the season, after a three-year career that has seen plenty of them. The fourth-year corner has been enjoying his most productive season to date after recovering from a torn patellar tendon in 2014.
No Cowboys cornerback has logged an interception this season, but Claiborne has 29 tackles and six passes defended. He struggled in coverage against Tampa's Mike Evans on Sunday, though he had largely been the Cowboys' most reliable corner up to that point in the season.
In Claiborne's absence, the coaching staff called on Byron Jones to man one of the outside cornerback positions – a job he has not practiced for since training camp. The rookie finished his afternoon with three tackles and didn't allow any long gains.
"He's a good football player. He's smart. I think he's got a great competitive spirit about him," Garrett said. "He never shies away from an opportunity like that. He always embraces it. He's got a real poise and composure about him. He's got a lot of fight and grit to him."
Jones has primarily played at safety and either nickel or dime back to this point in his debut season, but Garrett said it's possible he could remain on the outside if Claiborne is unavailable. If that were to happen, the Cowboys would likely use Jones and Brandon Carr on the outside, while either Tyler Patmon or Corey White handles nickel back duties.
"Byron's done such a good job for us, being so versatile back there," Garrett said. "I think he's done a good job playing the deep safety, done a good job as the nickel. Just shows his versatility to be able to go play the outside corner. And I thought he handled himself well."