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Dallas Cowboys Training Camp News: The Orlando Scandrick Story Continues; Scrimmage With Oakland Raiders Gets Feisty


Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The big Dallas Cowboys story for the moment continues to be the four game suspension of Orlando Scandrick, which Dave covered late Monday night as it was breaking.

Dallas Cowboys Orlando Scandrick Suspended For The First Four Games Of Season - Blogging The Boys

Since then, additional details and reactions have been emerging.

Source: Unclear who slipped drug ‘Molly’ in Orlando Scandrick’s drink; ex-girlfriend Draya Michele: ‘I’m not to blame’ | Dallas Morning News

To sum things up, Scandrick took the drug MDMA, commonly known as "Molly". It is a component of the drug Ecstasy. It is not a performance enhancing drug, at least in the areas of performance that concern the NFL, but is commonly used to increase and improve sexual arousal and performance. However, it does cause those taking it to test positive for PEDs under the current procedures used by the NFL. Scandrick, simply put, messed up because he was looking to party more and better.

"It was just a bad decision," Scandrick said. "I should have never done it. I didn't do it with the intent of knowing that it would test positive. I know we get random tests but I mean, I don't take anything to enhance my performance. I wasn't taking anything to enhance my performance. I was notified that I had to take a test while I was out of the country. I called them and told them I would not be back and I voluntarily gave them my specimen."

Orlando Scandrick Got Boned By The NFL's Stupid Drug Testing Policy

The whole issue of why Scandrick was taking the drug may seem irrelevant to some, but as far as its impact on the team, the way the NFL is approaching it is a major thing.

A recreational drug like MDMA should be classified as a "drug of abuse" under the NFL's testing policy, not a performance enhancer. That means that a positive test for MDMA, if it is the player's first positive test for a drug of abuse, wouldn't result in a suspension at all but rather enrollment in the NFL's substance abuse program.

There are ongoing negotiations about changing the way positive tests are evaluated, but according to Deadspin's coverage, they are stalled by Roger Goodell's insistence in maintaining complete control over how these things are handled.

Bob's Blog - Live from Lewisville: Issues In Oxnard: Scandrick Joins the Ranks Of the Unavailable

Once again, the loss of key players continue to plague the Cowboys. This is the third year in a row where the defense is seeing major problems due to who is not available, and the second in a row where the problems are hitting long before the first game of the season. Bob Sturm points out just how severe the losses for 2014 already are - and flirts with putting a little goatmouth on someone himself.

Here is the ugly truth: Of the 41 Cowboys to take snaps on defense in 2013 (yes, 41!) only 5 were given the green positive season grades on Pro Football Focus (this denotes a net positive season from the player based on positive plays per snap).  Those 5 players were, in order, Jason Hatcher, Sean Lee, DeMarcus Ware, Orlando Scandrick, and Sterling Moore.

The good news?  Sterling Moore will be available for Week 1.

Dallas Cowboys will miss Orlando Scandrick on, off field - ESPN

It is not just Scandrick's play that the team will miss. He has also become a true leader, getting the defense fired up. During his suspension, he will not count against the 53 man roster, and it looks like the Cowboys have had plans in effect for this situation for some time.

The Cowboys have known about the possibility Scandrick would be suspended and at this time will not look for upgrades. Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne will be the starters in Scandrick's absence. Sterling Moore will get the first crack at the nickel spot and B.W. Webb, a fourth-round pick last year, still has a chance to win a job.

Scandrick has done himself, his teammates, his coaches, and his fans a terrible disservice. However, despite some early rumors about who might have put the MDMA into his drink, he has taken all the responsibility on himself.


The one good thing about the Scandrick mess is that he will be back for week 5. And there is now some more news about another player who may be able to help the team by returning, and who may be back earlier than anyone expected.

Spencer likely to start season on roster - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN Dallas

Most have been projecting Anthony Spenser to start the season on the physically unable to perform list. Starting the season on PUP, he would have to sit for six weeks. However, if the team feels like he would be ready before that, they cold take him off PUP before the start of the season, and he could play as soon as he is able to take the field. Jerry Jones indicates that the team is looking for the latter to happen.

"He's getting there at a faster pace than we thought," Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan. "We're hoping that when we get to our 53-man cutdown that we'll be dealing with that problem. The problem is, do we keep him on the roster because he's going to be ready to go in a game, or do we PUP him, which would mean we couldn't use him for six games? 

"It's looking like we'll keep him on the roster."

Sullivan: Just Playing Football Again All Spencer Wants

For Spencer, this has been a long and miserable experience. Having him out for most of the season was probably a bigger blow to the team than many realized, according to Jeff Sullivan

For me, the most overlooked story of last season in terms of injuries was Spencer. When fans or the media would talk about the defensive injuries, which were historic, Spencer's name would just sort of be thrown in there with everyone else. This was baffling. This was, to many, the team's best defensive player the previous season and he played just one game and 38 snaps. This was a huge loss. And was a miserable, brutal experience for Spencer as he watched his depleted unit struggle on a weekly basis.

"You're not in the meetings, or at practice, just all those everyday aspects of the football season, and you just don't feel like you're a part of the team," Spencer said. "When you've been a part of a team for so long, and then an injury like mine happens, you definitely feel detached.

"It was hard to watch the games. It was difficult. I've never been through anything like this. I just kept thinking that at some point I would have the opportunity to come back and play, and that was my motivation every day."


Meanwhile, back to what is happening now with the Cowboys.

Cowboys Add Goodin, Hornsey; Release A Guard

The addition of punter Tom Hornsey to replace Cody Mandell had already been reported, and now the Cowboys have waived OG Andre Cureton and signed OG Stepen Goodin to take his spot. Also, it was reported elsewhere that RB Ben Malena cleared waivers and was placed on IR. He will have to wait until next season to try to fulfill his dreams.

Jerry Jones explains why the Dallas Cowboys ‘may have something’ in Brandon Weeden | Dallas Morning News

We certainly hope so after the great Neckbeard caper. Jones dropped a well known name to bolster the reasoning behind signing Brandon Weeden, now the primary backup for Tony Romo.

Jones views Cowboys offensive play-caller Scott Linehan as a good match for what Weeden does best. Jones said former Browns president Mike Holmgren told him that Cleveland asked Weeden to do "way too much" after drafting him in 2012.

Holmgren said the Browns should've had Weeden throwing more quick drops because he was holding the ball too long.

Garrett Updates Melton's Injury, Bishop & More

Included in the "More", something that should reassure some of those obsessed with the health of the starting quarterback.

Tony Romo will get a full day's practice Tuesday against the Raiders. Garrett said Romo is "beginning to look more like himself," but he declined to comment on the quarterback's availability for the Ravens game on Saturday.


Meanwhile, there was a practice in Oxnard, featuring work against the Oakland Raiders.

Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders brawl in joint training camp practice that featured intensified police presence because of gang concerns | Dallas Morning News

There were two one-on-one scuffles, and one general melee.

Oakland tight end Mychal Rivera caught a pass near the left sideline and lowered his shoulder. Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne, in his first full practice since July 29 after battling right knee tendinitis, lowered his shoulder to hit Rivera. Claiborne grabbed Rivera's leg and lifted him before Rivera slammed hard to the ground. With Claiborne and Rivera turning to walk back toward their respective huddles, both teams sprinted toward the two and a brawl ensued.

Cowboys 2014 Training Camp Practice Summary: A Competitive Practice, Indeed - Blogging The Boys

Rabblerousr focused on the Dallas offense against the Oakland defense. He found that the offense, including the O line, had to work a lot harder than they did against the Cowboys D. Part was because Tony Romo was not as crisp as yesterday, but a lot seemed to be because the Oakland D was, sadly, a lot better competition than the Cowboys O sees on a daily basis. He didn't see the Cowboys losing, just having to put in a lot more work. Tune in tomorrow for a look at how the Dallas defense does against the Raiders O.

One very positive bit of news:

And, as Rowan Kavner tweeted, Anthony Spencer spent a good part of the afternoon working with the trainers on the resistance bands. Earlier in camp, he was running with the bands attached; a few days ago, he was doing lateral work, moving sideways; today, he worked on change-of-direction. As with everything Cowboys-related, it's a process. And, as Jerry Jones intimated (when telling reporters that he thinks Spencer will be able to play by week two, number 93's rehab process appears to be in a good place, indeed.

Day 20 observations from Dallas Cowboys training camp practice: One brawl, two other fights with Oakland Raiders | Dallas Morning News

Brandon George gave the most detailed coverage to the fights (expect that to be a theme, which is unfortunate, since it tells us little about the team), but he did get a  look at the defense. Results were mixed.

  • Cowboys DE Ken Boatright would have sacked Oakland QB Matt Schaub in team drills.
  • Cowboys DE Caesar Rayford had two wins in 1-on-1 drills against Oakland offensive linemen (one with an outside move and another inside). Later, however, Rayford was tossed to the ground in a flash when he was hit by Oakland OT Erie Ladson.
  • Cowboys LB Bruce Carter almost intercepted a pass over the middle from Oakland QB Matt Schaub. The ball deflected off both of Carter's hands.
  • Oakland RB Latavius Murray proved a tough matchup for the Cowboys in team drills. He had a long run up the middle before cutting back right untouched into the Cowboys' secondary. Later, Murray blasted Cowboys S Ryan Smith on a run up the middle where he lowered his shoulder upon contact, knocking Smith to his back.


ESPN's First Take Has The Dumbest Conversation Ever Regarding Whether The Cowboys Are Still 'America's Team' | SportsGrid

Well, put Skip Bayless, Stephen A. Smith, and Shannon Sharpe together, and dumb conversations are inevitable.

I want to dispute this take the writer of the article has on the Cowboys. I want to, but I can't quite do so.

As to the reason for the Cowboys longstanding popularity, we have a theory on that, too. They've always used an identifiable formula: A handsome quarterback, a diva wide receiver, an outspoken owner, a gigantic stadium, and sideline boobies.

Follow me @TomRyleBTB

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