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Sunday, December 30, 2012
Morris Claiborne knows RG III is tough matchup

By Calvin Watkins

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In the first meeting between the Cowboys and Redskins, rookie cornerback Morris Claiborne was targeted just three times and allowed one completion.

Several of the big pass plays from quarterback Robert Griffin III were over the middle of the field in the Cowboys' zone defense.

"Coming into that game we knew everything that he was capable of doing," Claiborne said of Griffin. "He can throw the ball and he can get out of the pocket and extend the plays; nothing really jumped out at us, we just have to go out and stop him."

Claiborne feels that it wasn't so much that Griffin's performance -- 311 yards, four touchdowns and one interception -- that hurt the Cowboys in a 38-31 loss, but rather the Cowboys' lack of execution.

"I don’t know if it's not possible, he made some big throws that game," Claiborne said. "And I think it was, not taking away from him, it was the players, us getting caught in the wrong position. We was here instead of there, and just trying to do a better job with that this time."

On the season, Claiborne has been targeted 60 times, according to Stats Inc., and has beaten 39 times for 478 yards and four touchdowns. Claiborne has seven pass breakups on the season. Sunday night he gets another chance at Griffin, who is known to attempt throws in tight spaces and likes to take chances with deep passes.

Claiborne is also good at the play-action pass, which freezes linebackers and defensive backs. If a defender is caught looking in the backfield, it allows Griffin to get one-on-one coverage.

"We just got to take care of our jobs and let the guys up front take care of what they do," Claiborne said. "We just have to stay true on the back end."

Claiborne said it's hard to defend Griffin when he throws into tight windows because he throws such a tight spiral.

"He takes a lot of chances putting it in there," he said. "We just have to capitalize on (those throws) and make plays when they present themselves. It makes it kind of complicated knowing that you're on top of everything and you got good defense, but the ball is still coming so you can’t rule anything, can't count it out, just got to go finish the play."