Rookie B.W. Webb at key spot for Dallas

September, 1, 2013
9/01/13
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When the final roster moves were made on Saturday afternoon, the Cowboys elected to keep four cornerbacks.

Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne are the starters with Orlando Scandrick being the slot corner in the nickle package. B.W. Webb is the fourth corner who comes in on certain passing plays and will contribute on special teams if needed.

[+] EnlargeB.W. Webb
AP Photo/Paul SpinelliThe playmaking ability of cornerback B.W. Webb helped him earn a spot on Dallas' roster.
The Cowboys are staying with basically three veterans and a rookie at a position that coach Jason Garrett calls a "premium" spot for players. The team moved up in the draft to select Claiborne sixth overall in 2012 and in the same year, signed Carr to a five-year $50.1 million deal in free agency.

In 2011, Scandrick signed a six-year $28.2 million contract extension.

So the Cowboys put their money into a position they believe is important in today's pass-happy NFL.

This spring, the Cowboys selected Webb in the fourth round from William & Mary. There is a thought he would have a learning curve to the NFL game and there were some concerns about his ability to make plays on the ball. In his last two seasons in college, Webb had just two interceptions and 11 pass breakups, including eight in 2012.

Webb was behind veteran corners Brandon Underwood and Sterling Moore this summer but as the preseason progressed, the vets didn't make enough plays and were eventually released. There is more upside by using Webb because he's young and has displayed an ability to make some plays in the preseason.

"It's about making adjustments on the fly and staying in it the whole time," Webb said. "[You] come in with that mindset every day that you're going to work."

With Moore and Underwood gone, Webb is No. 4 on the depth chart and will play in the slot and outside in the 4-3 scheme.

Scandrick, who made his chops playing in the slot, has become a mentor to Webb this summer.

"It's wherever, whatever, where they need me," Webb said of playing the slot or outside corner. "Right now, I've been working a lot in the nickel. I feel good in the nickel. If I play outside, I play outside. [Scandrick] a cool dude. He tells me if I messed up on something, he’s there and says you should do this better. So he's definitely been a good role model."

There were times during the preseason where Webb looked lost on the field. In the Oakland game, he allowed a receiver to get behind him because he was caught looking in the backfield. Then in the final preseason game he gave up two touchdown passes. He almost had an interception, but couldn't hold onto the pass.

The ups and downs of Webb's preseason must subside in order for the Cowboys' coaches to trust him more in the regular season.

"My [secondary] coach told me you can't play every route," Webb said of Jerome Henderson. "... It's a lesson learned in this league."
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.
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