Brandon Carr aims for big 2014

IRVING, Texas -- As Brandon Carr enters his third season with the Dallas Cowboys, the cornerback's confidence has never been higher.

"Trying to take over the league," Carr said Sunday night at the Taste of the NFL event at the Gaylord Texan. "I get emotional when I say that because I'm dead serious, man. I've been playing this game for six years now. I'm just ready to make that jump and become that shutdown corner."

The Cowboys gave Carr a $50.1 million contract in 2012. He has intercepted six passes in his 32 starts, but he struggled last season -- as did the entire defense. Last October, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson caught 14 passes for 329 yards and a touchdown, mostly against Carr. It was the second-best single-game performance in league history and the biggest ever against the Cowboys.

The Cowboys' switch to the Tampa-2 scheme did not fit with Carr's style, putting him more in zone than man-to-man coverage.

"It was frustrating for a minute, which is why I had a good offseason, because I got away from everything and just kind of regrouped to get myself prepared for everything that's going to come to me this year," Carr said. "It's been kind of a roller coaster, like I said many times before, but at the same time I worked hard to get to this position. I'm going to continue to work hard and embrace everything that comes my way, the good and the bad. Now it's time to step up and take charge and get my guys ready to go on Sundays."

Carr said he's dropped 10 pounds in the offseason by training a different way. He was listed at 206 pounds last season. The hope is the lighter he is, the faster he plays.

"I'm still learning myself as a person and as an athlete to where I feel like this is the best shape and the best I've ever looked as a football player," Carr said.

The Cowboys chose not to restructure Carr's contract. They could have used the salary-cap space, but it would have inflated Carr's cap figure in 2015 and beyond. If he does not raise his level of play, he could be a cap casualty next offseason the way DeMarcus Ware and Miles Austin were this offseason.

"This is a game I love and I've been playing it for a very long time and I've invested so much into this game," Carr said. "Sometimes you get sick and tired of losing and you just get fed up with a lot of things going on, and now it's just time to take the reins and take over and take control."