I’m sure Dallas Cowboys fans everywhere felt the same way I did when the news came out, Orlando Scandrick was suspended for the first four games of the season for the use of performance enhancing drugs. Well actually, my first thought was, “what or who the hell is Molly?” We all know the answer to that question now. But the next thought that popped in my head was, “What’s Next?”
While I was surprised by the incident itself, I was not surprised at all to hear bad news coming from Cowboys camp. I suppose I’ve become somewhat immune to it. It just seems to ALWAYS be something. This was beautifully described in a recent article here on our site by our own Erod titled Cowboys Camp Soap Opera.
But after digesting everything for the past 24 hours or so, I end up doing what I always do. I get over it. I step back from the ledge and move on to the solution. Or what I like to call, “what happens next mode”.
I think it’s fair to say that Scandrick has been the Cowboys’ best cornerback for the last two seasons. No, that doesn’t say a whole lot when you have the worst statistical defense in franchise history, but still. Any time you lose your best player at any particular position it’s going to hurt. But I actually think this is a position that can handle losing someone like Scandrick for a few games. I know some people are still in doom and gloom mode, but hear me out.
I’ve got a few reasons why I don’t think we’re losing the first four games due to Scandrick and his new girlfriend, Molly.
Morris Claiborne. Back in May, our own Brian Leatherman did an article about Mo finally breaking out this year. Then what do ya know? A few days into camp, news was flooding out about how well Mo was doing, which rightfully called for an “I told you so” article by Brian.
Now we all know Mo has been silent in camp since then, but it’s pretty obvious that was the team being careful with his dinged up knee. It didn’t take long for him to bring that fire back in his first full practice where he just happened to be right in the middle of an old-school Bunkhouse Stampede. My main point here being that last year Scandrick was starting on the outside in the base package and sliding inside to cover the slot in nickel and dime situations, which brought Mo into the game to man the outside again. And with the improvement we’ve seen in his attitude alone, I think it’s safe to say that we will indeed survive the first four games with Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr manning the outside corner spots.
While we still have a few weeks until the season opener for some of the young guys like Terrance Mitchell and B.W. Webb to battle it out – I’m putting my money on Sterling Moore.
According to Pro Football Focus, Sterling Moore graded on the same page as both Brandon Carr and Orlando Scandrick. So you can take that for what it’s worth, but I take my opinion more from the eyeball test. When they cut Moore last year, at the end of camp, I really struggled with why. I just couldn’t understand. And he proved me right when he was signed mid-season and made an immediate impact. So I believe 100% that he can handle the duties of the slot corner while Scandrick is out partying with Molly.
Last but not least, this really provides a fantastic opportunity for young guys that I mentioned before like Webb and Mitchell. And maybe even Tyler Patmon, who the coaches seem to really like. Either way, one of these guys are going to get that opportunity that they all desperately want and need.
With all the multiple receiver sets that are in the NFL today, one of these guys is going to see a lot of action. And the good part for the Cowboys is that they will have the chance to look at what they have in these guys when live bullets are flying. The Cowboys and these young CBs will be better off for it when Scandrick returns.
So you see. It’s not ALL bad. Does it suck? Yes. But it’s four games. Not the entire season.
Therefore this little incident has no bearing at all on my overall season projection for the Cowboys. But damn, it sucks that it’s even something we have to deal with. Always something.