Orlando Scandrick: "I'm not playing safety at all"

Earlier this offseason, there was a lot of talk about moving CB Orlando Scandrick to safety, at least on a part-time basis in certain formations. With the departure of Roy Williams (RW1), the Dallas Cowboys were short at the position and were thinking about creative ways to get their best players on the field. They discussed the possibility of Scandrick playing the "Star" position, a role Darren Woodson once played back in the day.

The Cowboys also traded CB Anthony Henry to the Lions in the Jon Kitna deal and that opened up a starting CB spot opposite Terence Newman. Would Mike Jenkins claim that spot by default while Scandrick was learning a hybrid safety spot along with his slot-corner duties in the nickel? Or would Scandrick get his shot at the position on the outside?

I decided to go to the source and see what he said about it. I was able to get a few minutes on the phone the other day with Orlando Scandrick and posed those questions to him.

I asked if he thought he would be competing with Jenkins for the outside CB spot vacated by Henry or if the Cowboys were going to use him in the slot, and would they be using him any in the safety spot as earlier reported.

On the question of competing for Henry's spot, Scandrick replied, "I don't see any reason why I wouldn't." He went on to say that he was basically the third corner last year, practically a starter playing the slot in the nickel, so he thought he would definitely be competing for the position with Jenkins.

On the question of playing the ‘hybrid' safety role, Scandrick indicated that was no longer in the plans. "I'm staying at corner from what I know. They signed a safety, Gerald Sensabaugh, an athletic, young safety," said Scandrick. I pressed a little further for clarification sake. "I'm not playing safety at all," was his reply. A final ‘you'll definitely be at CB this year' question was met with a simple "Yes."

Given that the Cowboys have little depth behind Ken Hamlin and Gerald Sensabaugh (who still has a lot to prove to be a starter), and given that Scandrick thinks there's no way he'll be at the position even part-time, the Cowboys will need to acquire help in the draft. Pat Watkins has yet to show he's the presence they need back there and has injury issues, Courtney Brown hasn't lessened the Cowboys' anxiety about the position in his short time. They could always resort to bringing Keith Davis back, which would surely help special teams. But in reality, the Cowboys need to stop looking at stop-gap solutions and get serious about a safety of the future alongside Ken Hamlin. Maybe Sensabaugh can grow into that role, but the Cowboys would do well to get another option in the draft.

I had a little time to discuss a few other subjects with Scandrick. When I asked him to describe secondary coach Dave Campo's style, he said with a slight chuckle, "Outspoken." He followed up by saying, "He wants the best for all of us. That's a huge benefit, a good guy to work with."

I asked if he noticed much difference between Wade Phillips' play-calling later in the year and Brian Stewart's earlier in the year. Scandrick didn't really notice much difference and said he was just running the play and looking for any hand-signals from coach Campo on the sideline.

When I poked into the ‘chemistry' question of the locker room during the year and his thoughts on the changes made in personnel, he spoke as the wisest of Cowboys should speak. He relayed that he just kept his head down during the season because he was still grasping everything as a rookie, he kept quiet and went about his job and that he trusts the organization is making the right moves for the team in the offseason. Now there's an answer worthy of emulating!

He also made sure to note that he is currently working out at Valley Ranch in their 12-week offseason program that will lead right into training camp.

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