One veteran did remain, however, and is penciled in as the starting slot cornerback for week one. Even though many had hoped rookie Chidobe Awuzie may be able to pry the job away for him, Orlando Scandrick proved Saturday night why he deserves the spot.
Everyone can recognize great plays when they happen, especially when they contain freakish athleticism. The great plays Scandrick made against the Indianapolis Colts were a bit more subtle, however.
On the Colts second offensive possession here, Scandrick is line up in the near slot. He initially shows man coverage with the Colts' slot receiver, but begins inching towards the line of scrimmage in anticipation of the snap.
Noticing that Scandrick is readying to blitz, Scott Tolzien audibles and checks the protection. Scandrick stays one step ahead, however, and adjusts his own blitz at the snap of the ball. Instead of simply rushing towards the quarterback, Scandrick recognizes that the quick screen pass is coming, and is able to move vertically to break it up.
Later in the game, Orlando Scandrick is lined up as the boundary corner at the top of the screen. As his initial key runs by him, Scandrick splits the difference between the deep and underneath routes, making the quarterback's decision a bit more unclear.
Once he reads that the quarterback is going to the flats, he immediately breaks on the ball and makes a sure-tackle for a loss.
These are both examples of executing smart football plays by Scandrick, something you hope to see out of your veterans on the back end.
This play, however, is simply great coverage. Lined up in the far slot Scandrick is one-on-one with the receiver. As the wide out breaks to the inside on a slant, Scandrick stays sticky to his back hip, keeping himself in position to make a play.
While he wasn't credited with a pass breakup here, he certainly disrupted the receiver at his catch point and contributed to the result of an incompletion.
There is no telling how consistent Orlando Scandrick will be this season, or if he will be able to stay healthy for a full slate of 16 games. But, there is also no doubt that when healthy and available, he is a viable option as a slot cornerback for the Dallas Cowboys.
Against the Colts last Saturday, he proved this once again.