IRVING, Texas — With Terence Newman out for Sunday’s season opener at the New York Jets, Orlando Scandrick will start at one of the cornerback spots.
Who Scandrick will play with is uncertain. Mike Jenkins has battled a hyperextended knee all week and is questionable. If Jenkins is unable to play, Alan Ball will start with Scandrick.
Starting or extensive playing time is nothing new for Scandrick. He started three games last season and nine overall as he enters his fourth season.
Scandrick is also the Cowboys’ third corner and with NFL offenses passing more, he normally covers wide receivers in the slot.
“We’re going to play with what we’ve got,” Scandrick said earlier this week. “We’ve got some good players around here. I hope to God Mike’s alright because I was looking forward to him coming back. We’ve got to play with what we’ve got. Everybody here is here for a reason regardless of whether people believe they can play or not. I know speaking from experience sometimes you get an opportunity and you get to embrace it and you never know what could come out of it.”
Coach Jason Garrett has told the team, specifically the backups, to take advantage of any opportunities presented. Scandrick has embraced that role. He was fighting for a starting job with Jenkins a few years ago but lost out on it. He’s been behind Jenkins and Newman on the depth chart but is considered a starter in the eyes of some in the organization.
That’s one reason Scandrick signed a five-year $27 million deal during the preseason because the Cowboys value him as a player and look at him as a starter.
He moves into that role Sunday night.
“I’m not going to sit here and not say it’s not going to be a challenge when you go against those caliber of receivers,” Scandrick said. “I know me personally I’ll be ready to embrace the challenge and I have confidence that my guys will be ready to embrace the challenge. You never want to go into a game shorthanded, but there are some things you can’t control. I can control what I can control. I’m excited. I’m going to embrace the challenge, and I know all the other guys will too.”
Several Cowboys will be among the many NFL players who wear equipment Sunday that pays tribute to victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Tashard Choice tweeted a picture of Under Armour cleats that have “FDNY” and “NYPD” in large print on the sides. Similar cleats have been shipped for Miles Austin.
“To show my gratitude and respect I’ll be wearing special cleats for 9/11,” Choice wrote. “God bless america and our freedom”
DeMarcus Ware, Jay Ratliff and Bradie James — all Reebok clients — will also wear special American-themed gloves and cleats.
The NFL typically has an extremely strict dress code and fines players for uniform policy violations. However, the league told equipment managers Friday that players may wear special gloves and shoes made by NFL licensees for Week 1 games.
NEWARK, N.J. — The Cowboys face the New York Jets in their season opener. Here is a look at the keys to victory for Dallas:
Stop the run: There is no pretense in the Jets’ offensive gameplan. They carry out a steady diet of running plays. It’s up to the Cowboys to stop them by controlling the line of scrimmage and plugging the gaps the Jets will try to open.
Don’t be overwhelmed: It’s the season opener. It’s on Sept. 11. It’s in New York. And Dallas is the underdog. The circumstances don’t favor the Cowboys but they have to find a way to overcome them. The Cowboys must remain calm, cool and collected in a setting where composure can be easily lost. It could mean the difference between winning and losing.
Stay unpredictable: On defense, the Jets are aggressive and unrelenting. But they will have to be more calculating and risk-adverse if they’re unable to quickly decode Dallas’ offensive gameplan. The Cowboys can effectively reduce the number of blitzes they face by balancing the running and passing games, attacking different levels of the field, and unveiling the occasional trick play.
Win time of possession: If everything went according to the Jets’ plan, they would run the ball repeatedly, march down the field during extended drives and wear down the opposing defense. The Cowboys can’t let that happen and it’s up to their offense to make sure it doesn’t. The Cowboys can help their defense simply by holding on the ball and avoiding abbreviated series. After all, the Jets are 20-6 since 2009 when they have more runs and completions than the opposition.
Tim Cowlishaw Jets, 24-14
In the battle of Ryans, Rex outweighs Rob … at least in the talent department.
Brandon George Jets, 21-17
The Cowboys’ defense isn’t ready and their offensive line is too inexperienced to handle the Jets.
Rick Gosselin Jets, 23-20
Jets lost their home opener last season. Don’t look for a repeat.
Barry Horn Cowboys, 31-30
Just want to say ‘I told you so’ if Cowboys win and no one else picks them.
Jon Machota Jets, 27-17
Shonn Greene exposes Rob Ryan’s run defense, topping the 100-yard mark for the fifth time in his career.
David Moore Jets, 27-21
Unlike in last year’s opener, this one won’t come down to an Alex Barron holding call.
Rainer Sabin Jets, 28-17
On an emotionally-charged night, the Jets will harness the energy of the crowd and lock down the Cowboys’ offense.
Kevin Sherrington Jets, 32-17
The Ryans meet at midfield after the game and break into a sumo match.
Disagree? Leave your comment … and predicted score!
NEWARK, N.J. — Cowboys Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten has signed a five-year, $37 million contract extension that includes $19 million guaranteed, according to a source.
Witten, 29, had two years left on his current deal but he’s now under contract through 2017. The Cowboys and Witten worked late into Saturday night to get the deal done. The Cowboys open the regular season tonight at the New York Jets.
Witten tweeted about 8 a.m. Sunday about the contract extension.
“I am blessed to say that I will retire a cowboy!Thx to the jones family, and all the cowboy staff! True honor to put on the star!! #gameday”
Witten’s extension comes two days after the Cowboys signed Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff to a five-year, $40 million contract extension. Like Witten, Ratliff also had two years remaining on his contract and is signed through 2017. Extending contracts for players with two years remaining on their current deals is new for the club.
A few weeks ago, the Cowboys also extended the contract of cornerback Orlando Scandrick.
Witten is a seven-time Pro Bowler who has posted three seasons with at least 1,000 yards receiving. He’s quarterback Tony Romo’s favorite target and closest friend on the team.
This will be Witten’s third contract. Witten became the highest-paid tight end in 2006 at the time when he signed a seven-year, $29.5 million contract ($12 million was guaranteed).
Witten was a third-round selection in the 2003 NFL draft and he’s missed only one game in his career (when he had a broken jaw his rookie season).
ELIZABETH, N.J. – No player on this current roster has played more games with the Cowboys than Jason Witten. And it doesn’t look like that stat will change anytime soon.
On the eve of the regular-season opener, the Cowboys turned in papers to the NFL league office on a five-year extension for Witten worth $37 million in an attempt to keep him with the organization for his entire career.
The deal will give a reported $19 million guaranteed to Witten, who had two years remaining on his contract. This extension is rather similar to what Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jay Ratliff received on Friday. The Cowboys gave Ratliff, who also had two years remaining on his contract, a five-year extension worth $40 million, including $18 million guaranteed.
And this seemed to be a league-wide initiative to re-sign superstar players. Pittsburgh locked up safety Troy Polamalu and Minnesota dished out the cash for running back Adrian Peterson.
As for Witten, the tight end announced the news on his twitter page early Sunday.
“I am blessed to say that I will retired a cowboy! Thx to the jones family and all the cowboys staff! True honor to put on the star!! #gameday.”
Witten is coming off one of his best seasons where he caught a career-best nine touchdowns, along with his second straight 94-catch year. Witten also recorded his second consecutive 1,000-yard year with 1,002 receiving yards in 2010.
There aren’t many players with eight years of experience before they turn 30. Witten joined the Cowboys as a 20-year-old in 2003. That obviously played a factor in the club giving Witten his third NFL contract, which runs through 2017.