Orlando Scandrick and Morris Claiborne Share the Blame at CB


Nov 24, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (80) is unable to catch a pass while defended by Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne (24) in the first half during the game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Last week I spent ample time picking on Brandon Carr and his performance this season. Today let’s look at the next two top cornerbacks of this defense: Orlando Scandrick and Morris Claiborne.

Together with Brandon Carr, the trio was expected to be one of the best in the entire league. Instead they form one of the worst in the league. The Cowboys were clearly banking on their CB dominance since they chose to largely ignore the all-important safety position this offseason.

Orlando Scandrick

Orlando has been an enigma during his career in Dallas. He plays with solid technique and has good measurables. He’s tough, smart, and a good teammate. The problem is he never makes plays. As one of our readers (Maurice) pointed out:

"Scandrick is playing well but does not cause many turnovers, 6 yrs Pro with only 5 picks."

This short sentence pretty much sums up Orlando Scandrick’s entire career. Scandrick is always close but never makes a play. He has perhaps the worst ball-skills of anyone I’ve seen play CB for the Cowboys.

Dec 9, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; .Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) makes a catch over Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick (32) during the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re into rankings and scores, Pro Football Focus rated him in the top 10 for most of this season. That’s why I have an issue with scores like these. No one who watches Orlando would ever rate him in the top 10. He allows too many catches despite close coverage and makes too few interceptions, despite good positioning.

If a cornerback can’t make interceptions then he might as well have a giant bulls-eye on his back. QB’s hate interceptions more than anything and will avoid a proven ballhawk even if coverage is often sloppy. The same QB will have no problem throwing the ball up for grabs, even in good coverage, if he doesn’t think the CB can catch because there’s no risk and only reward.

That’s what we have with Scandrick. He will provide good coverage down the field but QBs don’t fear him. They have no problem throwing his way because he poses no legitimate threat.

Morris Claiborne

Morris Claiborne (aka the best prospect since Deion Sanders) has been a bust thus far in his career. He is often injured having missed portions of both seasons and both training camps. He has had trouble picking up the schemes and therefore building confidence. It’s clear the kid is talented but talent is worthless if he’s clueless and unconfident.

Mo’s best asset is his ability to play the ball. Unlike Scandrick he has fantastic hands and excellent ball-skills. I said before that Brandon Carr has previously shown good ball-skills but seems to have lost them this season. Claiborne is in the same situation. The potential that Carr and Claiborne share is immense. Both players should be over 5 INTs for the season. It’s sad to see them struggle like they are.

All hope is not lost. Claiborne and Scandrick will certainly be back next season. Perhaps a new scheme and preparation will help them get to where we expect them to be.

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