Morris Claiborne isn't a fan of zone defense

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

The Cowboys corner cited a lack of man coverage as a significant factor in his struggles in 2013.

Dallas Cowboy's defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin has incorporated a heavy amount of zone coverage into the team's defensive scheme in 2013. That apparently isn't sitting well with cornerback Morris Claiborne, however.

The highly-touted prospect in his second year out of LSU attributed his struggles this season to being asked to primarily play zone coverage, according to ESPN's Tim MahMahon.

"We're not the type of team that we were last year," Claiborne said on an ESPN Dallas radio show on Tuesday. "We're not assigned [receivers] and you go wherever he goes, you follow him wherever he goes, and that's your man. We're not in that. We don't do that anymore... Now we're basically a zone team."

Claiborne went on to say that the scheme shift has slowed his progression and that his confidence "[is] not where it needs to be to be able to play corner."

"It's still a transition. When we were in press, just faced up man to man, they only hit one ball on me. But overall, I think all my big plays come within the zone."

According to, Claiborne has 272 yards on 15-of-23 passing when targeted this season. He is currently ranked 99th out of the 101 cornerbacks that have played at least 25 percent of their team's snaps.

Claiborne was seen as a can't-miss prospect coming out of college and the Cowboys traded up to grab him sixth overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. He's struggled so far to become the lock-down, play-making defender he was expected to be, though.

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