ARLINGTON, Texas – It was clear after one play that the Rams would test rookie cornerback Morris Claiborne more than the Chargers had a week prior.
On the Rams' first play from scrimmage, Brandon Gibson caught a 14-yard pass from Sam Bradford with Claiborne defending, but they didn't get much more on the first-round pick.
Bradford marched the Rams down inside the Cowboys' 10-yard line toward the end of the first half. He was unsuccessful on a fade to Austin Pettis against Claiborne on first down, and Claiborne broke up a pass in the back of the end zone on fourth down to give the Cowboys the ball.
Claiborne said he was in tight enough coverage that he was able to turn and look for the ball right when Bradford was throwing.
"It was fourth down, so he wasn't throwing anything but in the end zone," Claiborne said. "I didn't know who he was going to. I just tried my best to cover my man as best as I could and I came away with the pass breakup."
St. Louis threw for just 52 yards in the first half, with little success on Claiborne or Brandon Carr.
Claiborne said he took a step forward by practicing against the Chargers. After two injuries in the offseason and preseason, he is finally getting his feet under him.
"When you're out there, it's live bullets," Claiborne said. "Everything goes. Those guys are trying to get a win. Those guys are trying to beat you. You've just got to go out there and suck it up, forget about the reps that you didn't have, and try to make the best of what you're doing now."
Carr said he's trying to be a veteran presence for Claiborne on and off the field to make the transition from LSU easier for the first-round pick.
"It's a lot of, not pressure on him, but just pressure with the situation he got thrown into," Carr said. "I told him, at the end of the day, it's just football, the game you've been playing for so long. You've been in the SEC, that's arguably the hardest conference there is in college football. It's going to be the same type of guys, just turn it up another notch and you'll get better."
Claiborne said he feels more relaxed at cornerback, and he's not thinking as much as he used to. His coach agrees.
"He seems comfortable out there," said head coach Jason Garrett. "He seems like he's getting more confident."