In 2014 Orlando Scandrick was honored as a 2nd team All-Pro. An MMQB article called him one of the “five best at his position”. He was the leader of the Dallas Cowboys secondary, and was finally starting to get the recognition he deserved.
Then, much like the Cowboys as a whole, injuries derailed his 2015 season. Will “Scandy” rebound in 2016? Or will he derail the Cowboys season?
The Good: If anyone wants to know why Scandrick was 2nd team All-Pro in 2014 I encourage you to go and watch the tape of Dallas’s playoff game against Green Bay. Orlando Scandrick was outstanding; the best defensive player on the field. His ability to cover Randall Cobb in the slot enabled Dallas to blitz their safeties. This game-plan stymied Green Bay’s offense for most of the first half.
Scandrick is one of the best defensive backs in the league blitzing. But don’t take my word; listen to Jason Garrett:
“He’s quick, he’s fast and he has some explosiveness to him,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He has instincts, he can bend, and he has a tenacity about him and a hunger to get there.”
It’s that tenacity and hunger that make Scandrick one of the team leaders on defense. As a fifth round pick, he came into the league with a chip on his shoulder, and outplayed his first round draft mate Mike Jenkins. That chip hasn’t left, and it has led him to become one of the leaders of the Cowboys, as evidenced by this post.
Most important though, is Scandrick is just a good corner…and especially a slot corner. As three wide receiver sets become more prominent, the need for three good corners becomes more important. Here is MMQB describing Scandrick in the slot:
“his ability to come inside in nickel makes him special. Playing more than 50% of his coverage snaps inside (305 of 590) he still managed to rank as our No. 7 overall corner in coverage, and third out of anyone who played significant snaps in the more difficult slot role.”
The Bad: Playing in the slot requires two things: great instincts and the ability to make tight, quick cuts. I don’t doubt Orlando Scandrick’s instincts, but coming off an ACL/MCL injury that cost him the entire 2015 season, his ability to make those quick cuts is a serious question.
And it’s not just this latest injury, although that is enough. Scandrick has been plagued by injury his entire career. Since becoming a full time starter in 2011, Scandrick has only started in 39 of a possible 80 games, and has only played in 54 of 80. He has played in all 16 games only once in the last five years.
To make matters worse, Scandrick isn’t getting any younger.