Updates from Wednesday, Aug. 20
Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News reported on Morris Claiborne's status from Cowboys practice:
Claiborne was not a full participant Tuesday and he was limited during the first 30 minutes of Wednesday’s session. When he’s not taking part in a drill, the third-year corner has been standing to the side, taking mental reps.
“I pretty much was involved in the practice, just out on the side,” Claiborne said Tuesday. “I made the best of every rep that I could make of it.”
Claiborne wouldn’t go as far as to say his shoulder is close to 100 percent, but he’s hoping to play Saturday in Miami.
“I can’t do anything else about it,” Claiborne said. “I don’t have any control over it. I’m just doing what I can do and doing what I can to help myself prepare and get ready for when it’s time to get let go, I’ll get on the ground running and have no doubts.”
Updates from Saturday, Aug. 9
Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported on Mo Claiborne's return to the Cowboys:
Mo Claiborne will return to practice on limited basis— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) August 9, 2014
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne will be held out of the team's first preseason game for the third time in as many years. Tendinitis in Claiborne's right knee will sideline him for Thursday's showdown with the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium.
Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com reported the news Tuesday, along with what Claiborne had to say about the injury.
"I'm in a good place right now. I'm good," said Claiborne. "I'm not stressed out over anything. I know this is like the third year that I'm missing time, but I'm in a better place than I was the last two years."
Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram observed how thin Dallas' secondary is getting:
With Claiborne injured, Phillips injured, Moore injured and Carr still absent, the Cowboys are short at cornerback.— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) August 4, 2014
Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones is expecting big things from Claiborne in 2014, per The Dallas Morning News' Jon Machota:
Stephen Jones on Morris Claiborne: "I think Mo’s stepping up and having a great camp. I think he’s ready to make the turn."— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) July 29, 2014
And America's Team ought to be banking on Claiborne to be one of the premier players at his position. Owner and general manager Jerry Jones traded up to the No. 6 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft to select Claiborne, who has not lived up to that billing.
Drew Davison of the Star-Telegram reported what Claiborne had to say about his desire to be great this last month:
I want to be great. I want to be that tackling corner. I want to be [that] cover corner. I want to be that corner who goes up and gets the ball when it’s in the air. I want to be an all-around player. [...] That’s my goal. That’s what I’ve been working for. No excuses, empty it out and I’ll worry about the consequences later. I want to leave the games with no doubts in my head.
A woeful Dallas defense ranked 30th against the pass last season, so Claiborne and his teammates in the defensive backfield must pick up the slack for the Cowboys to have a shot at the playoffs.
With his contract expiring after the 2015 season (h/t Spotrac.com), Claiborne must prove he can be a surefire starter, or else the Cowboys likely won't keep him around for the long haul. There is no denying his talent, but until he puts the promise he showed in college at LSU on an NFL field, he will be hard-pressed to live up to the hype.
Going against the likes of star receiver Dez Bryant and a dangerous Dallas passing attack in practice will have to help Claiborne in his methodical development. With a two-year grace period behind him, now is the time for him to come into his own.
Although his mind seems right for the task at hand, getting valuable reps during training camp and preseason games would offer Claiborne more confidence entering the regular season. If he can get back into action after this weekend, Claiborne could use the exhibition experience to prove he can get it done in a game situation, which is what he must do to secure a future with the Cowboys.