Brandon Carr is the prized free agent cornerback that the Dallas Cowboys signed last spring to help shore up their famously-inconsistent secondary. Drafted in 2003 at the age of 25, Newman was always going to age very fast. Couple Newman with the likes of the oft-injured Mike Jenkins and what you had in Dallas was a straw man secondary.
Rob Ryan was brought on by Jerry Jones (not head coach Jason Garrett, which is how it normally works) to fix the worst part of the team: the secondary. Jerry Jones played running back for his alma mater Arkansas Razorbacks, and has never been one to meddle with his defenses. So, he handed the job of defensive coordinator to a guy with a proven record of righting ships. Rob Ryan won two super rings as linebackers coach for the 2001 and 2003 New England Patriots and then went on to fix problems in Oakland; grooming Nnamdi Asomugha for five of his first six seasons in the NFL. Ryan then went on to suck every ounce of talent out of Eric Mangini's Cleveland Browns before Jerry Jones made the correct decision to hire him in Dallas. He has this year something he didn't have last year.
Much praise was given to Philadelphia's late push last year to sign Nnamdi Asomugha. Reports had positioned the Cowboys and Jets to fight each other over him, but somehow the Eagles landed him. Jones has a tendency to try and make up for lost opportunities (drafting Dez Bryant to make up for not drafting Randy Moss would be an example of this). He even drafted Felix Jones, from Arkansas, because the Raiders picked 4th that year and selected the guy that Jones really wanted - the guy that Felix Jones backed up at Arkansas, Darren McFadden. It seems as if the smartest free agent acquisition Dallas has pulled off in some time now was one that attempted to rectify not being able to Make Nnamdi Asomugha a Dallas Cowboy.
In comes free agent Brandon Carr from Kansas City, and to drive it even further home, Jones trades up in the draft to pick Morris Claiborne out of LSU. Sure, the weaknesses at the safety positions still exist, but that has never been as much of an issue as the weak corners. Bill Parcells built his Dallas Cowboys defense on the line, and Wade Phillips never changed that. The Dallas Cowboys have had one of the strongest defensive lines for the last five seasons. That kind of pressure up front discourages deep passing. Consequently, the biggest hole has always been the corners, and 2012 will see those corners being covered better than any Cowboys team since the 1990's. With rookie Claiborne in-tow, it appears that Rob Ryan might finally have the pieces in place to make this defense soar.
In theory, if the defense does well then that relieves pressure on the quarterback; and we all know how Tony Romo performs under pressure. When not under pressure Romo's game-by-game numbers can echo Brett Favre in his heyday... but put any kind of a microscope on Tony Romo and he'll throw an interception. It may take the likes of Champ Bailey leaping what seems to be 10 yards to intercept it, but Tony Romo will throw an interception
During Saturday's preseason loss to San Diego, Carr tore up his time on the field, intercepting Phillip Rivers twice in the first half. So far, everybody has worked together to much success. Rob Ryan's first-string defense is running a shutout streak currently at 29 plays.
In addition to being Jerry Jones' $50 million man, Carr is also a competitor; noting that he played against Rivers for four years as a member of the Chiefs. "This whole day I was like, it would be good to finish out my AFC West opponents and finally get an interception against the Chargers," Carr boasted.
"And it came true."