OXNARD, Calif.** – The ball thrown to Dez Bryant started out similarly to the hundreds of other passes from Tony Romo that ended in the receivers' hands in the back of the end zone.
Only this time, in Sunday's practice, that jump ball pass was deflected by a leaping Orlando Scandrick, who was in perfect position and made a play few other corners have been able to throughout Bryant's career and throughout this training camp.
Scandrick's caught the eye of Bryant for more reasons than being one of the few corners healthy and on the field every day. It's also because he's becoming one of the best defenders on a defense in need of star performances. Bryant said Scandrick's a leader of the defense.
"Scandrick's playing with that chip on his shoulder," Bryant said. "It seems like he's getting bigger and bigger and bigger, which is outstanding."
That comment about the 5-10 cornerback is more about his play than his height. Scandrick skied up to swat away the pass for Bryant during red zone 1-on-1's. He followed that with tight coverage on Cole Beasley in the same drill and a pop on Dwayne Harris on a reverse during Sunday's practice.
Scandrick's play admittedly got in the head of Bryant, never one to shy away, who had some choice words for the corner later in the day. Bryant said he can get under another teammate's skin, but at the end of the day, they're shaking hands and joking around. After the practice, Bryant had nothing but compliments for Scandrick. [embedded_ad]
"What I'm loving the most is no matter what I say, he's not going to accept defeat," Bryant said. "That's what you need. I know I'm not."
Bryant can get animated during the course of practice, but he also talked about how he loves when players have a similar passion and attitude back toward him on the practice field.
"I love it," Bryant said. "At the end of the day, you're going to get a good result out of it."
Scandrick has been the one starting corner on the field throughout training camp, with Brandon Carr out for personal reasons and Morris Claiborne missing time from a knee injury.
With a lot of players injured, the defense has had its struggles. But Scandrick's performance in the last practice highlighted the defense's best practice of camp, and Bryant said the struggles could be the result of going against a strong offense every day.
"I'm not going to take credit from us," Bryant said. "We're not a bad offense. It's our job to go out there and produce, and there's as well. They came out (Sunday) and they basically put it on us. We've got to come back and be stronger the next time."