Orlando Scandrick no longer is just a nickel corner. He also is no longer just close to blocking a field goal.
Scandrick started at right corner in place of Morris Claiborne, against the Chiefs and he played all 67 snaps. Morris Claiborne, who has a dislocated shoulder, played 37 snaps in nickel situations. Scandrick made three tackles. He also blocked the first field goal of his career after being close dozens of times in his career.
“Scandrick did some good things,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “Orlando’s a good football player. He’s one of those guys that sometimes you pigeon hole guys and say, ‘Hey, he’s an inside guy. He’s a nickel.’ He’s got a little something to him. He always has. A little bit of a chip on his shoulder, kind of like a bolder or a mountain. We think that’s good. He brings that with every opportunity we give him, whether it’s a as teams guy or an inside cover guy, as a nickel or as an outside guy. I thought he competed well with some good receivers.”
Scandrick has started only 20 games in six seasons, but he has been as valuable and productive in his role as any player on the team over that time.
During the off-season, he won a team award for the gains he made in the weight room. His biggest improvement, thought, might be in blocking out the bad plays as well as the criticism.
“I think I’ve grown a lot mentally,” said Scandrick, who has been targeted 12 times and allowed only six catches totaling 49 yards and a touchdown, according to STATS.
“I think physically I did a good job in the off-season of getting a lot stronger. I put a lot into it. I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform. I’ve taken a lot of criticism around here, and I don’t take it well. It eats me inside. It ate me up the whole last season that my season ended the way it did. So I’ve been working a lot. I started working as soon as I was healthy in January, and I haven’t stopped since.”
Although he is listed as the backup at right corner, Scandrick likely will continue to start. Claiborne will wear a harness that will limit his effectiveness the rest of the season. Scandrick now is as comfortable playing outside as he is in the slot.
“I just feel like I’m finally trusting myself,” Scandrick said. “A lot of the times I was second-guessing myself when I’d see things and not go get them and I would let outside things affect me and get down on myself if I give up a play or if I don’t make a play. Now I’m so focused if I make a play, if I don’t make a play, I’m onto the next play.”
Scandrick finally got his long-awaited first blocked field goal when he came around the corner to get Ryan Succop’s 57-yard attempt at the end of the first half.
“Coach Rich Bisaccia has been a big believer in me since he got here,” Scandrick said. “He’s been very positive since he got here. I give him the credit. The guy’s on me every day. I’ve been close for years. He’s on me every day, ‘Go get it! Go get it! Visualize it.’ Just another part of playing hard every play.”