Training camp is less than two weeks away now and there are only two starting positions up for grabs. However only one of those is really in question and it is sure to be an extremely heated battle.
Mike Jenkins, last years first round pick and the hard nosed 5th round pick from a year ago, Orlando Scandrick, will be involved in a Heavy Weight Fight for the starting Right Cornerback spot.
There are so many different angles to look at this battle from that there is no way I could cover them all in less 5,000 words, so I will do my best to keep this short and sweet and touch on as many as I can before I put you into a state of boredom!
Heading into Training camp it would be safe to say that Jenkins is the leading candidate. Not that he has superior talent over Scandrick, but more so that he was a first round selection.
Mike Jenkins is a completely different player than Orlando Scandrick and that is what makes this battle so intriguing.
While Jenkins is more in the “Primetime” mold (and I am not saying he is as good as he was) with his great speed, agility, and oh yes, the less than desirable tackling attributes. Orlando Scandrick is more in the mold of a Champ Bailey. Scandrick, like Bailey, is an in your face type of defender, he loves being engaged in “hand to hand combat”, he has the ability to recover, and does not miss a tackle – he is not as fast as Jenkins so the deep ball could be his only weakness.
To me this should not be looked at as a battle to see who will start along side Terrence Newman but who is best suited to cover the slot! The key to the Cowboys defense is covering the slot receiver.
Teams have taken advantage of the Cowboys over the years by working the middle of the field and many times it is the slot that imposes the biggest threat.
So what kind of defender is needed to play the Nickel? Well you must have a very versatile player, one who can move fluidly from sideline to sideline. This person must also be able to disrupt the timing of the receiver coming off the line, and above all else he must absolutely be extremely physical!
Now that we know what is needed to play the Nickel position what kind of player do we need at that RCB spot?
Well an outside corner needs some of the same tools as the inside guy! In the style defense that Dallas plays your outside defenders must be able to get physical with their opponent at the line of scrimmage and disrupt things at the onset, if they do not get this done then the rest does not matter! Here is where it gets tricky, sideline to sideline agility is not quite as important for these guys, what is important is the ability to stop on a dime and then get back to full speed very quickly, and then they got to have a “nose for the football”.
My initial thoughts on this competition was that I believed Mike Jenkins would win the job, not because he is so much better than Scandrick, and not because he was a first round pick, but because Orlando Scandrick is better.
Did I lose you with that statement? Let me clarify what I said. If tomorrow the Cowboys were playing the Patriots, there are three offensive players on that team that you better have your best defenders on at all times! Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker.
I feel really confident that DeMarcus Ware could supply enough pressure on Tom Brady, and I feel fairly confident that Terrence Newman could stay with Randy Moss. So the question becomes who do you want covering Wes Welker? Do you want Mike Jenkins? Or do you want Orlando Scandrick?
Orlando could cause infinitely more disruption covering Welker than Jenkins could! Not to mention I like my chances with Jenkins covering Galloway.
So you see in my eyes the better man will not be the starter. Who would you rather have covering the slot?