The Dallas Cowboys defense has received a lot of criticism, as injuries and suspensions have left it thin and lacking in talent at several positions. As Blogging The Boys pointed out, the Cowboys cornerbacks have received some praise, but the loss of Orlando Scandrick to suspension leaves them short their best player.
Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr are expected to start on Sunday, and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli was not exactly effusive in his praise of Claiborne. The Cowboys used a high first round pick on Claiborne in 2012, but he has been incredibly inconsistent. He also has dealt with numerous injuries, and apparently will need a pain-killing shot before Sunday's game. Marinelli was asked why the Cowboys have confidence in Claiborne to start on Sunday:
"Well, he's there. He's our starting corner. That's the confidence. He's gotta go do it."
I can only assume he means he would not be out there if the team did not have confidence in him. As the author of the article pointed out, that's not really a ringing endorsement. It's an endorsement, but Marinelli is simply having to play the hand he was dealt. And it is possible Claiborne and Carr could step up and impress.
The 49ers are in a position where they can challenge this defense on several levels. They can go through the air against an inconsistent secondary, and they can also go on the ground against a defensive line riddled with injuries and departures. A strong performance by the 49ers offense does not remove potential red flags, but it at least gives them some confidence moving forward. And obviously a win is a win is a win. But, it would be nice to see the 49ers do some damage against this questionable defense.