Despite Scandrick's Injury, Cowboys Not Hurting For Depth At Cornerback Spot

IRVING, Texas– Find a defensive coordinator who doesn't believe in this philosophy, and either he hasn't been in this business for long, or won't be.

But most defensive coaches have long subscribed to the theory of "you can't have too many good corners."

Cowboys' DC Rod Marinelli said it after Saturday's third preseason game. Defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson echoed it that night, and just about every other media interview he's done.

And even the opposing head coach the other night –Minnesota's Mike Zimmer – used to say that phrase over and over when he was here 13 years in Dallas, either as the Cowboys' DB coach and then later the defensive coordinator for seven seasons.

Yes, the loss to Orlando Scandrick, who will likely go to IR this week after undergoing surgery for a torn ACL, MCL in his right knee, will be tough to swallow. But we're seeing why the Cowboys opted to keep Brandon Carr in the fold this year despite his $8 million salary in 2015.

We're seeing why the Cowboys decided to draft a cornerback with the 27th pick, despite having quality depth at the position. And we're even seeing why they're staying so high on Morris Claiborne, who is now in the final year of his contract, seemingly as healthy as ever.

Oftentimes, positions with so much depth will be targeted – mostly by fans – for a possible trade, sending a quality backup to another team for help at a thinner spot. And while that theory works at times, it's not always the case at cornerback and we're seeing why right now.

The Cowboys need every corner they have, and that was the case even before Scandrick's injury. And that setback likely means players such as rookie Byron Jones and veteran Corey White will probably stay at cornerback, although their experience at safety could be used in a pinch.

"Right now, they've got me doing a little bit of both," Jones said of corner and safety. "But it's more (corner) and that's where I've practiced most. I'm ready to play wherever they need me."

The need is always corner, especially in today's faster-paced NFL where many teams are opening the games with a three-wide look.

The tricky part of Scandrick's injury is that he's one of the few players on the team that can play the slot – covering the inside receiver. In fact, the Cowboys' slot receiver, Cole Beasley, has called Scandrick "the best in the league" among all slot corners.

[embeddedad0]So replacing him won't be easy, but for now, the chore goes to Tyler Patmon, a second-year corner who got the start Saturday vs. Minnesota when the Vikings opened with three receivers.

"I thought he did a good job in there," Henderson said of Patmon. "He's got some work to do, but they all do. But we know he'll get in there and fight and compete. That's what we're asking of him right now. I thought he responded well."

And he wasn't alone. Carr recorded an interception on a deep ball and Claiborne, playing his first NFL game since Week 5 of 2014, looked sharp as well.

Typically when a player gets injured, it opens up another spot on the team at that positon. But that might not be the case here, mainly because of Byron Jones and White, and their flexibility to play some safety.

Instead of the Cowboys simply keeping an extra corner, you might see them keep Carr, Claiborne, Jones, White and Patmon, but possibly deeper at safety. Barry Church, J.J. Wilcox and Jeff Heath, a core special teams player, all figured to make the team. This injury to Scandrick could allow the Cowboys to comfortably keep veteran special teamer Danny McCray, or possibly claim one off waivers from another team.

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