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Scandrick Had Chance To Play Safety In 2009

At the time of his contract extension last summer, everyone assumed the Cowboys viewed Orlando Scandrick as a starter-in-waiting, but this offseason's additions at cornerback have changed that.

Team owner Jerry Jones said in February that the Cowboys need to do a better job of playing Scandrick in a way that suits his strengths, meaning he is probably best served as a subpackage player only.

With a logjam of talent (and money) at the cornerback position, however, the idea had been floated that the club could use Scandrick in a sort of hybrid role, lining him up at safety in the base defense, then sliding him down to the slot on obvious passing downs. The Cowboys would like to get their top four corners (including Mike Jenkins) on the field together at the same time.

Coordinator Rob Ryan doesn't believe in simply lining up in the same look every snap of the ball, and secondary coach Jerome Henderson said last week that versatility in the secondary could be a real asset.

According to Scandrick, though, there are limits.

"Not happening," Scandrick said. "No. That's just the defense. It's not the schematics of things. A couple years ago we had a different defensive coordinator. Brodney Pool, Gerald Sensabaugh and Barry Church are our safeties. Orlando Scandrick, Morris Claiborne, Brandon Carr and Mike Jenkins are our corners."

Scandrick's disinterest in playing the safety position is in the news this week, but it's not exactly a breaking story. After he impressed coaches as a rookie in 2008, the Cowboys began to dream up ways to get him on the field as a starter in his second season. Then defensive backs coach Dave Campo thought Scandrick could excel in the same hybrid role, the "Star" position.

However, Scandrick balked at the idea, and the team eventually signed Sensabaugh to play next to Ken Hamlin.

Rather than take the starting free safety job in 2009, Scandrick competed with Jenkins to start opposite Terence Newman. The battle lasted into the regular season, but Jenkins eventually won out, and Scandrick has been the Cowboys' No. 3 guy every since.

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