Orlando Scandrick’s days with the Dallas Cowboys have officially concluded. Here’s what the Cowboys will miss most…
The massive makeover to the secondary that started last offseason is picking up where it left off, this season. Orlando Scandrick, the final veteran cog in the Cowboys’ rusted machine, has officially been granted his release. And for the first time in his 10-year career, Scandrick is set to test free agency, guaranteed to play for a city not named “Dallas”. UPDATE: Scandrick reportedly signed with Washington
The man affectionately known as “Scandy” has been a fixture in the Cowboys secondary for the past decade. No small task for a former fifth round selection out of Boise State. His career in Dallas was never a glamourous one. In fact, it was quite the opposite. And THAT, my friends, is why he was so special.
Orlando Scandrick was never supposed to get this far. The feisty nickel back entered the draft early – prematurely if you asked scouts at the time. But Scandy’s time in Boise had clearly come to an end and the man, who would later redefine what “chip on the shoulder” would mean, came to Dallas as the 143rd pick.
What happened after that would be a series of challenges, some disrespectful in nature, others just insulting. From the moment Scandrick won a starting job (I’ll always consider nickel cornerbacks starters), the Cowboys seemed to aggressively seek his replacement.
Scandrick wasn’t ever so good he was above the idea of “upgrade”, but he was hardly ever the weak link on the defense, either. Even still, the Cowboys invested heavily in the CB position over the years – signing free agents and drafting young budding talent.
One by one Scandy dispatched them.
Yours truly has been extremely critical of the player formerly known as No. 32. I have always argued his lack of playmaking ability (like catching a frickin ball) made him a consequence-free target to the opposition. He was tight in coverage, but he was never tight enough. Opponents knew they could toss a risky pass in his direction and the worst thing that would happen is an incompletion. I mean, he only had eight interceptions in an entire decade!
But I digress…
This is about the brilliance of Orlando Scandrick, not the weaknesses. Scandy was a fighter. He was a fighter in a way I wish other Cowboys were. The most recent regime that the Cowboys vanquished last offseason was a perfect example of Scandy’s polar opposite. Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr were two highly skilled cornerbacks for the Dallas Cowboys. Yet, they consistently ranked near the bottom of the league.
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They didn’t fail in Dallas because they lacked ability. They failed because they had too thin of skin. When times got tough, they pointed fingers. Or worse, they imploded. Both Carr and Claiborne were brilliant at times. But if something bad happened – things often got ugly. Really ugly.
The best thing I can say about Scandy… While I believe his talents were just a bit above average (but amazingly maintained over a long period of time), his heart, tenacity, and fire were unparalleled. He was what you want every competitor to be. He wasn’t nice nor was he overtly mean or dirty. He was simply the epitome of “competitive”.
I wish I was more like Scandy. I hope I raise my kids to be like Scandy. And if the entire Dallas Cowboys team was as talented and mentally tough as Scandy, I’d bet we’d have some titles here over the past 10 years. That’s a pretty important trait of his and a pretty important part of the locker room that is going to be missed.
Thanks, Scandy. We’re going to miss you in Dallas. You are a winner, you’ve always been a winner, and I’m sure you’ll always be a winner. Sadly, I’m not sure if I can say the same about the rest of the team you’re leaving behind.