Cowboys Notes: Claiborne, Lawrence, Orton

When the Cowboys traded up for LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne in the 2012 NFL Draft, high expectations landed squarely on his 5-foot-11 frame. When you go No. 6 overall — to America’s Team, no less — coaches want instant impact.

But, it’s hard to make an impact when you can’t stay on the field, as Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News notes. Claiborne has missed seven games with a variety of knee, hamstring and shoulder injuries, and he lost his starting job last season to veteran nickel cornerback Orlando Scandrick.

“He’s played well for stretches and then he gets dinged up and then he misses a stretch and then he has to get back,” secondary coach Jerome Henderson said. “You want him to just be able to ascend from preseason and keep getting better and better and better throughout a season. He just hasn’t been able to do that thus far.” 

Dallas’ defense allowed 4,589 yards through the air and 33 passing touchdowns in 2013, so improved play from the defensive backfield is a must if the team hopes to contend for the NFC East title.

More news and notes from Big D below…

  • Second-round pick DeMarcus Lawrence has had a busy seven days, Rainer Sabin of The Dallas Morning News writes. The Boise State defensive end witnessed his son’s birth on an iPhone while in Texas on Thursday. He flew home to Boise that day to see his son, Damari, in person, then flew back to Texas on Saturday. “It motivates me a lot knowing I got a mouth to feed,” Lawrence said. “It’s not just about me anymore. I got a little son now so really it all about him, how I raise him and how I put food on the table for him.” 
  • With veteran Kyle Orton still weighing his options, quarterback coach Wade Wilson showed frustration with the indecision, telling’s Nick Eatman he wished the backup quarterback would be at voluntary workouts. Orton has a financial decision to make — he would owe about $3MM to the Cowboys if he decides to call it a career.
  •’s Paola Boivin says goodbye to former Cardinals running back Ryan Williams, signed earlier today by the Cowboys.
  • Scott Linehan, Dallas’ new offensive play-caller, said the language will pretty much stay the same way it’s been, writes Brandon George of The Dallas Morning News.
  • Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli wants linebacker Bruce Carter to play the game the right way, said The DMN’s Jon Machota.
  • Deion Sanders was in attendance at Valley Ranch for the second day of Cowboys minicamp, George reports.
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