Cowboys: This Man’s Swagger Upgrades the Unit

Nov 23, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick (32) before the game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 23, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick (32) before the game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys didn’t do much this offseason to upgrade their secondary. But the return of this player may provide a boost to the entire unit.

Orlando Scandrick, affectionately known as “Scandy”, has been a mainstay on this Cowboys defense for nearly a decade. Drafted in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft, Scandrick was hardly a sure thing. The thinly-built cornerback from Boise State was a scrapper. He was quick, he was fast, but most of all, he was tenacious.

Since joining the Cowboys, Orlando Scandrick has played with a chip on his shoulder. He’s played angry. And playing angry is what has allowed him to survive on the Cowboys roster all of these years.

Year after year, the Cowboys seemed determined to upgrade and replace Scandrick. Year after year Scandrick ended up on top. Orlando Scandrick brings an attitude – a swagger – that was desperately missing from the secondary last season.

Just reinserting a player like Scandrick into the lineup will instill confidence in an otherwise confidence-starved unit.

How He’ll Help Morris Claiborne

The missed practices have wreaked havoc on Morris Claiborne’s confidence. And confidence is key at the cornerback position. Good NFL CBs are confident beyond all measure. Even when legitimately bested, the best NFL CBs have a knack at looking past it and remaining convinced that they will win the matchup next time.

What’s preventing Morris Claiborne from developing into a good NFL CB is 100% between the ears. No, this isn’t yet another dig on his impossibly low Wonderlic score. This is all about confidence and resiliency — Two things Mo lost in his transition to the NFL.

Related Story: Can Morris Claiborne Find His Game?

How He’ll Help Brandon Carr

It goes without saying (but I will anyway), Brandon Carr has been a disappointment since joining the Cowboys nearly five years ago. Paid like one of the best and performing like one of the worst has a way of turning a fan base against you, ya know?

It’s almost impossible to ignore the streaky play of Brandon Carr over the years. Brandon Carr has strung together a few very good performances but when the inevitable mishap occurs, Carr struggles to regain his composure. He begins playing with hesitancy and eventually falls apart. Like Claiborne, he has a problem bouncing back.

With Scandrick taking over the starting LCB position and Carr bumping over to RCB, Brandon Carr should be more comfortable. If a little of Scandy’s swagger rubs off as well, Carr could actually be good.

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How He’ll Help the Youth

Whether you’re talking about safeties Byron Jones and Kavon Frazier or cornerbacks Deji Olatoye and Anthony Brown, veteran swagger has a way of grooming you in your formative years. The Cowboys have extremely high hopes for Byron Jones and we know firsthand that he has the ability to be star in this league.

Adding a little swagger to his intelligence and athletic ability sounds like a priceless addition to the budding young safety.

Carr, Claiborne, Church, and Wilcox are all free agents after the 2016 NFL season. Since the Cowboys may not be bringing any of them back next season, it’s imperative they develop some of their own talent to replace them.

Jones, Frazier, Olatoye, and Brown all figure to be possible replacements for those four. Young players are like sponges and soak up everything both good and bad. Swagger would be an excellent addition to their development this season and beyond.

Orlando Scandrick isn’t a shut-down corner by any means. In 2014, opposing QBs completed over 74% of their passes against him. That’s far worse than typical #1 CBs. But the devil is in the details with Scandy…

Related Story: Orlando Scandrick's 2016 Expectations

You see, Orlando Scandrick is not your typical star CB. While most Pro Bowl CBs only play the outside spots, using the benefit of the sideline for coverage, Scandy covers the slot (heck, Richard Sherman won’t even switch sides of the field).

The slot receiver has a decided advantage over his defender in virtually all situations because he can break in any direction. But Scandrick has that chip. He has that swagger. He won’t back down no matter what advantage the offense has. You may complete a pass on him. Maybe two. But he’s still going to come back and fight.

Next: This Man Will Lead the Cowboys in Sacks in 2016

Scandrick will bring a lot of things to this Cowboys’ secondary in 2016 but only one of them promises to make the entire secondary better – swagger.