Like most players on their bye week, Orlando Scandrick used the extra time off to go back home, visiting family and friends in Los Angeles.
But Scandrick wasn't empty handed. He had a self-assigned homework project. That was to study tape on Patriots receiver Wes Welker, who is having a sensational season through five games and will likely be matched up with Scandrick often in Sunday's game in Foxboro.
"I took it home with me to LA. I studied it on the plane with me," Scandrick said. "I woke up early and I studied."
And what did he realize about Welker and his Patriots teammates?
"It's a huge challenge. He's a worker. He does everything 100 percent full speed," Scandrick said of Welker, who leads the NFL with 45 catches, 13 ahead of three players tied for second at 32 receptions. "He and Brady have a great relationship and know what each other is going to do. Its' a huge challenge. I'm going into this game; I'm going to make him work. It's going to be a great challenge."
And even more so for Scandrick, who returned to practice on Monday for the first time since suffering a high-ankle sprain in the season opener against the Jets. Scandrick said he was able to stay in good condition despite spending more than a week in a walking boot.
"I probably lifted more weights than I would've just playing football," Scandrick said. "The (strength coaches / athletic trainers) did a great job of rehabbing me while I was out."
And although Scandrick discussed an earlier return, he figured all along his first game back on the field would be against the Patriots and Welker.
While it's likely defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will have something unique planned for the Patriots this week, it's inevitable Scandrick will face Welker, likely in the slot.
Fortunately for the Cowboys this will be the first game this year to have the top three cornerbacks on the field at once. Terence Newman missed the opener with a groin injury and Scandrick went down in the first quarter with the ankle injury. Mike Jenkins has also been banged up throughout the first four games with neck, shoulder and knee injuries.
"It feels great to be out there with Terence and Mike," Scandrick said. "We all have something to prove and want to be one of the pass defenses in the league. We're excited. We've got a chance to show people what we can do."