COMMENTARY| Dallas Cowboys' cornerback Morris Claiborne suffered a separated shoulder during the first game of the season against the New York Giants. Claiborne wore a harness against the Kansas City Chefs to protect his shoulder, and had a poor game overall.
Orlando Scandrick replaced Claiborne in the starting lineup at cornerback. Claiborne saw the field when the Cowboys went to their nickel defense. He was not credited with a tackle against the Chiefs.
The extent of Claiborne's injury became obvious in the third quarter when Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles ran over Claiborne when the cornerback lowered his shoulder and attempted to tackle him. Charles is known for his speed, not his power.
Claiborne was called for pass interference on the third down passing attempt with two minutes left in the game. The penalty resulted in a first down for the Chiefs, and allowed Kansas City to grind the clock down to 16 second before punting the ball back to the Cowboys.
A separated shoulder is the type of nagging injury that can bother a player all year. If it has a deleterious effect on Claiborne's play, then it will cause issues for the Cowboys' defense.
The Cowboys have one of the better cornerback duos in the NFL with Brandon Carr and Claiborne. If Claiborne is limited, the cornerback position goes from as team strength to a weakness.
Scandrick is a decent nickel corner but it not an effective every-down cornerback in the NFL. Opposing teams will avoid Carr and will pick on Scandrick all game long.
The Cowboys as a franchise do not draft particularly well and do not have a lot of depth on either side of the ball. If Claiborne is limited or misses games due to his shoulder injury, then it could have a huge impact on the defense.
Cornerback is not a position where the Cowboys have the luxury of losing a starter to injury. Claiborne will likely have to play in pain for the rest of the season.
Michael Taglienti lives in Dallas and has been covering all levels of football for five years. His articles have been featured on CNN and numerous other websites.
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