Slot Experience Among Cornerbacks Limited

Given all these pretty good players the Cowboys seem to have laying around at cornerback all of a sudden, there has been plenty of discussion about how to get them all on the field.

Can four corners be used regularly?

Or, if Mike Jenkins is one of the Cowboys' three best cover guys, could he fit into the regular nickel package, even above incumbent slot corner Orlando Scandrick?

The problem is, if Scandrick is relegated to No. 4, the Cowboys wouldn't have anyone with real experience to play inside. The slot is generally regarded as the toughest place to play for a cornerback.

Neither Jenkins, Brandon Carr or Morris Claiborne has much experience at all playing inside, though Claiborne did it occasionally at LSU. Still, the Cowboys believe they could be capable.

"We'd like to think they have versatility enough to play both sides outside, and also inside," head coach Jason Garrett said. "Certainly, if you look at their experience, most of those guys have played outside more than inside . . . Oftentimes if you're playing man-to-man coverage, they take the receiver on the right and they move him to the left, so now you're playing man-to-man coverage over there, and possibly you're playing him as an inside player. If you're a good corner, you need to be able to play both sides. You need to be able to play inside and outside.

"Again, it goes to experience, though. Some guys have played inside more than others, and you probably lean on those guys to play more inside, and you keep the guys who have played mostly outside, outside."

Last year, after Scandrick was injured in the season opener, Alan Ball played in the slot, as did Frank Walker. Terence Newman, the only player on the roster with real inside experience, remained on the outside.

If Scandrick is healthy, all signs point to him remaining in the slot even if the Cowboys believe Carr, Claiborne and Jenkins are better players overall.

"They certainly have the physical traits to do it," Garrett said. "But again, you lean on the experience of what they've done at this level."

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