Rob Ryan: Brandon Carr is 'special,' Morris Claiborne 'outstanding'

Rob Ryan's pumped up about the additions to his secondary. (US Presswire)

If you're giving the Cowboys love for their 2012 offseason, it's probably because you think they straight up did work in upgrading their secondary. And they did -- Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne are impact cornerbacks who should turn a 2011 weakness into a 2012 strength.

And Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan agrees, showering his new defensive backs with praise during the Cowboys offseason training activities.

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"In my opinion, everybody earns however many reps they get or their starting spot," Ryan said when asked about Claiborne, per Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Obviously, this guy’s a unique talent. We didn’t move up in the draft to get a guy that’s not going to play. We’ve got an outstanding guy here."

Claiborne, as noted by our Cowboys Rapid Reporter Nick Eatman, is still dealing with a wrist injury. But Carr isn't, and Ryan says that he's been better than anyone expected thus far.

“He’s actually better [than Ryan expected],” the defensive coordinator said of Carr, per Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram. “He’s outstanding. I knew he was great, but the guy is special."

So, not breaking news, but Ryan really likes his cornerbacks. (He likes most of his players, by the by.) The question is how he'll end up using them? Carr, Ryan said, could very well end up shadowing the top corner on the opposing team.

And it's possible that the Cowboys will roll with secondary-heavy packages on the field, potentially utilizing four cornerbacks at once.

“You have to be able to cover people in the NFL," Garrett said, per Eatman. "It’s a little early to determine how we’re going to play all of them. We had some injuries last year at the cornerback position. We made a lot of moves to help us in that area, but the specifics aren’t there just yet."

It's going to be fascinating to see what kind of defenses Ryan and Garrett trot out in 2012. They went all-in on cornerbacks this offseason, both in free agency and the draft, and their ability to cover the slew of talented receivers in their division could very well end up deciding who wins the NFC East this season.

If you buy what Ryan's preaching, then Dallas has a pretty good shot to emerge at the top of the heap.

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CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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