IRVING, Texas -- Second-year cornerback Tyler Patmon faces a challenge in his young career Sunday night against the New York Giants as he hopes to replace cornerback Orlando Scandrick as slot corner on the Cowboys defense, but the coaches believe he can succeed.
"I think he recognizes where he is, but his approach has been the same," head coach Jason Garrett said. "It's been the same since he got here.
"I don't think any greater. He's always had that. He's always had that from the start, and he's always been someone that's had a feisty, fighting nature to him; very competitive guy in practice and he has been in games when he's had the opportunity."
In 2014, Patmon, an undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma State, played in 11 games, recorded 10 tackles, defended a pass, and returned his lone interception 58 yards for a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals. The trust from his coaches is significant for Patmon, especially given the task of replacing Scandrick, who tore his ACL and MCL in training camp.
"It means a lot to me for those guys to trust me enough to throw me into a situation and give me an opportunity," said Patmon. "It definitely helps knowing that they're behind me."
Patmon's position coach, Jerome Henderson, has been encouraging him and believes experience will be a good teacher for the second-year defensive back.
"He's just trying to help me with more just seeing the game," Patmon said. "Guys gain more experience they get and the more games they get. And I haven't played in as many games as Scandrick. He's trying to help me with that transition and make it as simple as possible for me and just give me tips and clues that will help me out in the game."
Just as important, Patmon's teammates believe he can be effective as the team's new slot corner. Cornerback Brandon Carr, the second-most veteran Cowboys cornerback on the roster, thinks Patmon has the tools to help sustain the pass coverage.
"As a rookie, he made some significant plays for us in the back end," Carr said. "And this year he's really taken in a roll as far as being prepared for anything. And his number is up and he's ready to get out there and show people what he's been grinding for this whole off-season and since he's been in the NFL."
One element that will help Patmon out as he makes his debut at slot corner Sunday night is the Cowboys' improved pass rush. Though Greg Hardy will miss the game due to a four-game suspension, the Cowboys will have talent on the field on passing downs.
"It's going to be great," said Patmon. "You saw in the preseason those guys are really amped up this year. We believe in them 100 percent. We know if they get back there fast enough that we'll have enough opportunities to get to take the ball away."