IRVING, Texas – When Orlando Scandrick's 2015 season ended last week due to a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee, the Cowboys' initial reaction could've been to play rookie Byron Jones strictly at cornerback from now on.
Instead, the first-round pick continued to moonlight at safety in last Saturday's preseason game against the Vikings, and he was the first-team free safety in Monday's practice while starter J.J. Wilcox sat out due to neck spasms.
Why still the dual roles for Jones, who's 12 days away from his regular-season debut? Because he can, and because he hasn't shown any signs of sensory overload.
"If you feel like that's the case, it becomes an issue," head coach Jason Garrett said. "But we don't feel like that's the case."
The Cowboys continue to take a similar approach with Corey White. He and Jones' versatility at cornerback and safety could allow the team to go lighter at those two spots and heavier at another position when the roster gets trimmed to 53 players on Saturday.
"I think the position flex they have and how we've used them really throughout training camp is important for us," Garrett said. "If they look like a fish out of water doing something, we'd say he's not able to do that. But each of those guys looks very comfortable and that gives us a lot of versatility on the back end."
At least White is a three-year veteran who has played both spots. Jones, 22, played both in college but is still adjusting to NFL speed and scheme.
That's what makes his first training camp and preseason impressive. Nothing has been too much for him.
"I'd say at corner you really have to rely on your technique. When you're tired I think the toughest part is the small technique stuff on the outside, as opposed to the safety where you've got to really turn on your brain and play with your brain," Jones said. "There's a lot of checks you've got to get in and out of."