IRVING, Texas – Colin Kaepernick, Jake Locker and Austin Davis.
All good, young quarterbacks on the rise. Kaepernick is obviously one of the NFL's superstars, but I don't think you'd call him one of the best passers in the league.
Those three all have their moments but none of them scare you with their arm.
Drew Brees, on the other hand, scares you with his arm as well as with the tight end he has the luxury of throwing to. Needless to say, the Cowboys will be tested in their secondary more than they have so far in the first three games.
All that being said, I'm not benching cornerback Morris Claiborne. Now, I don't know if the Cowboys agree with that notion. Jason Garrett didn't exactly come to Claiborne's defense when asked directly if he would be replaced. All Garrett would say is the team is evaluating that position and all positions.
But for this game, I'm not taking him off the field. To me, that wouldn't make sense because you left him out there Sunday against the Rams. That's the game he struggled in and you had the opportunity to bench him then in favor of Sterling Moore. But by not doing that, the door was left open for Claiborne to redeem himself, which he did in a major way with that game-clinching interception.
His confidence was already down, yet he found a way to come through when the defense and team needed him the most.
Now you bench him? I don't know what message that sends. What would be the reason of leaving him out there if you didn't think he could eventually get it together?
Now, all that being said, I might have a quick hook here. My patience would be very thin on this subject, and if you think there's a better option in the middle of the game, then I wouldn't be afraid to make a move.
This is a tricky dilemma for all coaches. At what point do you try and give a player confidence, but then when it's hurting the team too much you have to change it up. [embedded_ad]
The Cowboys are right here on the edge of that, and yes, if Claiborne doesn't pick off that pass late in Sunday's game, then I'm making a switch – starting Brandon Carr and Orlando Scandrick on the outside and then playing Sterling Moore as my third corner. Who knows, that might end up happening by the end of Sunday night's game.
But I'm a believer in a player buying himself some time and that's what Claiborne did. No position on the field needs a confident player more than at cornerback. Maybe, just maybe, we saw some of that on Sunday.
For that reason alone I'm letting Claiborne remain in the three-corner set on the nickel. But I'd give Moore a few more reps this week in preparation of a possible change.
And with this specific matchup, the Cowboys will likely need all of them. With Jimmy Graham coming to town with his unique skill set, this defense might use all four of its cornerbacks to cover them.
Yes, this will be the toughest challenge the secondary has faced all year. And yes, it'll get much better than Austin Davis to Brian Quick.
But Claiborne rose to the challenge when his back was against the wall then. Even with the pick, his back will remain there again with the Saints marching into town.