FRISCO, Texas -- When the Dallas Cowboys decided last week to part ways with Nolan Carroll, one of their starting cornerbacks on opening day, it was mostly because they believed in rookie Jourdan Lewis.
"He's a really, really good athlete," coach Jason Garrett said of the Cowboys' third-round pick. "He's got excellent quickness, balance, change of direction, very good ball skills, he's got instincts for the game, he's got a competitive spirit, he keeps coming back. So just a lot to like about him. He's a young player, he's learning every week and I think he's getting better every week because he really does take the right approach."
Lewis went back to Detroit for the bye week to visit his mom. He made sure he brought his iPad with him to study last week's two practices.
"You never get away from it," Lewis said, "but it was good to relax a little bit. ... It's always a positive thing when you look at aspects you can get better in. It's always good to have that time to look in retrospect."
That Carroll's release came less than 72 hours after Lewis gave up the game-winning touchdown pass in the loss to the Green Bay Packers is more about what Lewis can be with a little more experience than what Carroll's experience allows the veteran to be right now.
In the locker room after the loss, Lewis answered any and all questions about the play. He said he did not play his technique properly. Instead of looking back at QB Aaron Rodgers, he should have turned into Adams on the back-shoulder throw, which could have given him a chance to break up the connection.
"I think all players, the best players that I've been around, are the ones that learn from their experiences both good and bad," Garrett said. "You have to understand why you win. You have to understand when things don't go right, what happened. You have to learn from them. You have to keep going forward with that same spirit. That's probably one of the things we like most about him. He gets beat, everybody gets beat, it's the National Football League, but how do you respond to that? He's responded really well."
Lewis said he moved past Adams' touchdown almost immediately.
"Great throw, great play, great catch," Lewis said. "I don't think of it. A lot of people think of it, but it's just another play in the game."
Lewis missed almost all of training camp with a hamstring strain. He was inactive for the season opener against the New York Giants and then was pressed into heavy action in Week 2 against the Denver Broncos when Carroll and Chidobe Awuzie were hurt. He was beaten for a touchdown, but he also had an interception. It's the last takeaway the Cowboys have recorded.
"At this point in the season you have to be pretty sped up," Lewis said. "You have to learn. I guess you have to adapt to what's coming your way, especially me getting more playing time as of right now. Regardless of the lack of time or not being out there, I have to do my job."