Yeah, Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin is 72. In the assessment of cornerback Morris Claiborne, however, those numbers are flipped.
“I hear guys saying he’s too old, and we should be wearing leather helmets and all that type of stuff,” Claiborne recently said, via thetowntalk.com. “If you go into the meetings with him and on the field with this guy, you’d think he was 27 years old. He runs around. He’s always upbeat, and we feed off of that. He’s always screaming, hollering, jumping around like he’s 27 years old.”
Claiborne is learning from Kiffin as the 2012 first-rounder prepares for a second season with six more pounds of muscle on his frame.
“You can tell by the way he talks, he knows so much about the game, so much different stuff about the game,” Claiborne said of Kiffin. “Every time he’s talking, he has my attention. I’m all in, trying to learn everything I can learn from him.”
As Kiffin installs his trademark Tampa Two defense in Dallas, he has a couple of tools that the defense typically doesn’t enjoy — a pair of quality cover corners in Claiborne and Brandon Carr. It allows Kiffin to be more creative, mixing coverages and departing on demand from the classic corners-stay-short-safeties-stay-deep approach.
At a time when so much focus remains on the Dallas offense, it’s the defense that could be the biggest difference maker in 2013.