Random Thoughts: Morris Claiborne isn't only one

November, 13, 2012
11/13/12
1:00
PM ET
After a review of the Cowboys victory over the Philadelphia Eagles we review with our Random Thoughts.

1. Morris Claiborne was penalized for two defensive offsides, which everyone thought was inexcusable for a cornerback. Well the Cowboys do lead the NFL with 12 defensive offsides, which is bad in itself, Green Bay is second with 11, but Claiborne isn't the only cornerback with an defensive offsides this season. Patrick Peterson, Danieal Manning, Antonio Cromartie and Tarell Brown are just some of the cornerbacks who have been flagged for the same thing. Now when you see the names you think these men are pressing the receivers at the line of scrimmage. Claiborne was doing that on Sunday against the Eagles receivers. He needed to be aware of his placement on the field and he'll improve on that this week against Cleveland.

2. We're starting to wonder if DeMarco Murray will comeback, if at all this month. Jerry Jones said on his radio show today he's not sure when the starting running back will return. Murray could play Sunday against Cleveland but the team might hold him out and let him go Thanksgiving Day against Washington. Here's the but, why would they? The Cowboys will play two games in five days and saving Murray for the Dec. 2 contest against Philadelphia might serve the team better. Todd Archer and I have this debate regarding Murray's playing status every week. I think whenever he's healthy to play, let him play. Archer feels bring him back in December. I'm starting to agree.

3. The Cowboys playoff picture is getting settled more and more thanks to some injured quarterbacks. Alex Smith (San Francisco) and Jay Cutler (Chicago) might not play this week with concussions and there's no telling when they will return. It puts both these teams at risk for losses and the Cowboys, with their easy schedule, might take advantage with some losses to the top teams in the division.

4. One thing we liked from the Eagles game was how the Cowboys knocked Michael Vick around. But it was safety Charlie Peprah, who started in the nickle defense for the first time this season, who popped a leaping Jeremy Maclin early in the game that set the tone. It continued when Jay Ratliff slammed Vick's head into the ground on a knockdown and ended when Ernie Sims pushed the quarterback down after he let the ball go. Vick's head hit the grass hard after the push from Sims. It wasn't a dirty hit by any means and Sims helped Vick up to his feet. But it was the end of Vick's day. The Cowboys need more hits like this going forward.

5. Jerry Jones didn't want to rule out a return of Dez Bryant to punt returns, but he's just being nice. Dwayne Harris deserves the gig full-time. Harris is good at securing the ball and making the correct reads on his returns. On his 78-yard punt return for a touchdown, it was perfectly block and he wasn't even touched. Sometimes Bryant tries to make something happen when there's nothing there. Harris just catches the ball and runs to where he's supposed to go. Harris is averaging 18.9 yards per return and we expect that number to increase as the season goes along.
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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