NIAGARA FALLS, ON
How would you say Morris Claiborne has done so far in his rookie season?
Nick: I think he's been pretty good. He hasn't been amazing or anything like that. But he's gotten better and better as the season went on. In this passing league, we're going to see him get beat a few times every year. I don't think shut-down corners exists anymore and they never really did, other than Deion. I think the best thing that happened to Claiborne is being paired up with Brandon Carr. The two will make each other better, but there isn't a guy Claiborne could learn from that will be better than Carr. Not just from a talent standpoint, but how to approach the game and prepare his mind and body to play each week.
Rowan: I thought more impact plays would be made. I know he's returned a fumble for a touchdown and he does have an interception, but after watching him extensively in college, he was always a guy who seemed like he'd come down with a pass almost as often as the player he was guarding. Obviously, the transition to professional football is no easy task, and he's playing arguably the hardest position in the league. He seems to be getting more comfortable every week and learning from his experiences. I'd say he's performed decently and should only continue to get better as he discovers the nuances of being an NFL cornerback and playing a position he only began learning when he was at college.
With so many backups playing with success, does it mean the starters were overrated? Makes sense to me.
Nick: I don't think that's accurate at all. I think this team is winning despite the backups. I don't think anyone would say Ernie Sims is better than Lee or Carter. Or that Sterling Moore has outplayed Scandrick or that Frampton is better than Church and so on. I just think it's a product of these guys getting coached well enough to fill in and keep it steady enough. The Cowboys are winning because their stars are playing like stars – Romo, Dez, Witten, Carr, Spencer, Ware and Murray.
Rowan: Not to me. There's no doubt this team would be much more dangerous with the players it started with at the beginning of the season. Give credit to the backups for filling in adequately and quickly, but the defense isn't holding teams scoreless, and when the crucial plays need to be made late in games, they're being made by players who were previously starters.