Grading Morris Claiborne’s Week 1 Performance
I just re-watched all of the Cowboys’ defensive snaps from Wednesday night, focusing in on Morris Claiborne. I posted my findings at Dallas Morning News, including screen shots and a grade for Claiborne.
The First Play
On the very first play of the game, the Giants tested the rookie cornerback. They motioned Martellus Bennett to the left side of their ‘Ace’ formation. Claiborne, at the top of the coaches’ tape, was matched up on Hakeem Nicks.
Following the snap, the Giants sent Nicks on a ‘go’ route: a good Cover 2 beater. Below, you can see Claiborne trailing Nicks up the field.
While it appears Claiborne was beat on the play, he was really in perfect position. With safety Barry Church maintaining deep half responsibility, Claiborne was really responsible for underneath routes to his side of the field. With no one threatening him in the flat, Claiborne adeptly trailed Nicks up the field, making Eli Manning’s throw a difficult one.
That subtle play by Claiborne—to trail Nicks up the field because no one was threatening his “curl-to-flat” responsibility—is something that doesn’t show up in the box score but will help the Cowboys win games.