Carr getting more comfortable with Cowboys
IRVING, Texas -- Rob Ryan's defense will never win an award for easiest to understand. Between the unusual blitz packages and terminology, it's understandable that players would need an adequate amount of time to learn the system.
Without organized team activities and minicamp last year because of the league lockout, Ryan wasn't given an ample amount of time to implement his defensive philosophy. And according to Ryan, the players suffered.
"I think I started a little too fast and put in the accelerated program without the English 101, which I always struggled with," Ryan said last month.
Brandon Carr is a newcomer attempting to use the extra practice time to get adjusted to his new coordinator. Nothing will be similar to Carr's four years in Kansas City. On top of being with almost all new teammates, Carr has moved from right cornerback to left cornerback.
"When you change teams and the terminology changes, you try your best," Carr said Thursday. "That's when it's like you have to go back to school and go through your notes every night when you come home."
In an attempt to make the leaning process bearable, Carr has concentrated on understanding his responsibilities first.
"Master what you have to do first, and then you can worry about where everyone else is on the field," he said. "My thing, as a corner, you got a couple players you're going to play and at the end of the day that's what it is. Now you have to take your game to the next level and know where your help is and where certain people are supposed to be so you can play to that.
"And that's where I'm getting to right now. Things are kind of slowing down for me. I'm getting comfortable out there."
It also helps having a teacher like Ryan around to make class enjoyable.
"The meeting rooms are very interesting," Carr said with a smile. "The way they install things, he just keeps it fun. He keeps it up beat and that just translates to how we play on the field."
His lab assignment usually consists of defending one of the most physically talented wide receivers in the game. With Carr lining up on the left side, his job in practice often involves matching up with Dez Bryant.
"We have our battles out there," Carr admitted. "Going against Dez I think is going to help me elevate my game. He's quick off the ball, has a lot of upper-body strength and he can stretch the field and go get the ball, so every time I line up against him I got to be on my A-game."
Bryant, whose locker is next to Carr's at the team's Valley Ranch practice facility, had similar comments about the 26-year-old corner on Wednesday. The third-year wide receiver noted that Carr's press-coverage skills help the receivers get ready for similar corners like Philadelphia's Nnamdi Asomugha, a player Bryant will likely line up against on two separate occasions during the regular season.
"He's a physical, great corner," Bryant said of Carr. "We got the right guy. He's making us better physically, mentally. He's making us think.
"If it was up to me I'd rather go up against him every day because he's making us better."
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