Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne returned to the team’s facility on Wednesday morning after he angrily stormed out of practice the day before. Claiborne abruptly left the Cowboys’ Valley Ranch training facility on Tuesday after he was informed that he is losing his starting job.
Claiborne, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2012 draft, has been exposed by opposing offenses through the first three weeks of the season. Pro Football Focus ranks him 91st in coverage out of 93 cornerbacks who have played at least 25% of their team’s snaps. The former LSU star is one of only three corners to allow three or more touchdowns.
Claiborne had been filling in as a starter for Orlando Scandrick, who was suspended for the first two games of the season for violating the league’s drug policy. He allowed five receptions for 108 yards and a 51-yard touchdown against the St. Louis Rams, prompting owner Jerry Jones to express disappointment in a player he moved up the board to draft.
“Is he what we had hoped for at this point when we drafted him with the sixth overall pick, giving up the [second-round] pick to go up to the sixth pick to get him? No,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan Tuesday, via Jean-Jacques Taylor of ESPNDallas.com. “But he’s going to be a good player.”
After the Cowboys erased a 21-0 deficit on Sunday, Claiborne stepped up in a big way. He pressured Rams quarterback Austin Davis into an incompletion with a corner blitz on the Rams’ final drive and made a game-clinching interception two plays later. Despite that, Claiborne was critical of himself after the game and admitted he “stunk it up.”
Scandrick took Claiborne’s job last season and likely would have been the starter if he wasn’t suspended. Had Claiborne played well, he would have been able to keep the job. He’s still going to see plenty of action, but throwing a fit and storming away from the team isn’t the way to make a statement.