OXNARD, Calif. – Cowboys secondary coach Jerome Henderson shared a couple of things with his defensive backs after Tuesday's practice.
He told them they practiced hard and aggressively with multiple interceptions – a point of emphasis after forcing no turnovers in the first two preseason games.
"And then I said, 'You know 'O is hurting right now, everybody keep him in your prayers – and it's the next man up if he is out,'" Henderson said, referring to cornerback Orlando Scandrick's knee injury in team drills. "We don't know if that's the case yet, but in this league it happens to every team. You hate that it happens to such a great player – if he is hurt.
"But it's next man up, and we've got to keep moving."
Turns out the team's fears were valid: Scandrick will indeed miss the 2015 season with a torn right ACL and MCL.
The Cowboys' corners have already have dealt with short-term injuries in training camp. Scandrick previously had a sore left knee, first-round pick Byron Jones missed a week with a shoulder injury, and Brandon Carr had surgery earlier in camp to repair a broken hand.
Carr and Jones are back, and fellow corners Morris Claiborne and Tyler Patmon will have increased responsibility with Scandrick sidelined.
"That's our brother," Carr said. "Our chemistry back there is getting better each year and it's unfortunate for one of our leaders back there on the back end, one of our playmakers, to come up with an injury in practice.
"In a situation like this we think about our teammate first and foremost, making sure that we're there for him, supporting him, just keeping his spirits lifted.
"Now you flip back to the football side. It's a next-man-up mentality."