Thursday, November 7, 2013
Scandrick has confidence in secondary
By Calvin Watkins
IRVING, Texas -- The New Orleans Saints host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night with the third-best passing offense in the NFL. The Cowboys rank 31st against the pass.
It doesn't worry Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick.
"I don't give a damn about yards, my confidence is high," Scandrick said. "I'm confident in my abilities and I know the rest of the guys are. Brandon Carr is a helluva corner and I don't think his confidence waivers at all."
The Saints produced solid numbers in the deep passing attack. On the season, the Saints have 33 passes of 20 or more yards, tied for fifth in the NFL. The Saints are tied for the league lead with the Philadelphia Eagles with 10 touchdown passes of 20 or more yards.
The Cowboys secondary has allowed 36 passes of 20 or more yards, 31st in the NFL.
Defensive end DeMarcus Ware's return to the lineup should help a pass rush in need of creating pressure on the quarterback.
"Well, there's no doubt it makes everybody better because we're getting there," defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said of Ware's return. "They can't slide this way or slide that way and they can't chip on George [Selvie]. They can slide to [Jason] Hatcher, it balances everything, I think that's true. Anybody will tell you that with a front four with a guy as dominant as him I think it helps you overall."
Kiffin's defense is young.
Outside of three-year veteran Barry Church, Kiffin has rookie safeties Jeff Heath and Jakar Hamilton getting playing time, with Heath starting over another rookie, the injured J.J. Wilcox (knee). Kiffin also has another safety in nicked-up Danny McCray (toe and hip issues) competing.
Heath has endured serious moments in his brief time on the field. He mistimed a jump on a long pass play to Calvin Johnson two weeks ago, and after lifting the leg of Adrian Peterson last week, the running back still powered his way into the end zone over four Cowboys defenders.
"I feel like if I was in that situation again, I would do the same thing," Heath said of the Peterson run. "It's kind of one of those freak plays, where he was going back and I kind of picked him up, sit him back on his feet."
The Saints will have numerous weapons Sunday for quarterback Drew Brees from tight end Jimmy Graham, the league-leader with 10 touchdowns, running back Darren Sproles, a dual threat in the pass and run game, and of course the rest of the receivers starting with Marques Colston.
"We don't have a lot of veteran guys back there," Kiffin said. "At times there are five or six rookies or free agents. But they have [played] well when excepted. They have earned it, the young guys have earned it."