Morris Claiborne struggles, loses starting job with Cowboys

Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESS

The former LSU star is still trying to grasp how to play well in the NFL.

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne has struggled mightily in recent weeks, especially during last week's 30-21 defeat against the San Diego Chargers, according to ESPN.com.

Claiborne was matched up against Chargers rookie Keenan Allen and beaten three times by the speedster out of California. Overall, Claiborne was targeted four times while in man coverage and beaten on every occasion.

Claiborne, a former first round draft pick, has been battling a shoulder injury since Week 1 and lost his starting job to Orlando Scandrick. Now coming in mostly as a nickel corner, Claiborne is still having a hard time adjusting to the life of an NFL corner.

Over at Pro Football Focus, Claiborne's struggles are illustrated. In three of the four weeks this season, Claiborne has a negative rating including an ugly -3.5 in Week 1 and -3.3 in Week 4 (an average performance is 0).

Also, Claiborne is ranked dead last of any Cowboys defensive player with a -6.3 rating. In pass coverage, Claiborne is -6.8, more than five points worse than any other corner on Dallas.

Head coach Jason Garrett is understanding of a youngster's learning curve, but time is of the essence. Per the piece:

"Technically, you go back at each of the completions against him and you say, 'Hey, you should do this. You should do that.' But I also think confidence, playing that position, is critical. And usually those two things work hand in hand. When you’re playing technically sound and you have ability, you tend to have more and more confidence because you’re in the right place. They went to him too much in this ballgame, and they were too effective. He’s just got to play better, and he will play better."

Claiborne will face one of the biggest tests of his young career on Sunday, when he faces Peyton Manning and the high-flying Denver Broncos AT&T Stadium.

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