IRVING, Texas -- There has been a lot of talk from Jerry Jones and his coaching staff about the Cowboys frequently using four cornerbacks this season.
It isn’t so clear how exactly they envision that working.
Do they play a lot of traditional dime with six defensive backs? Do they implement a funky version of the nickel that features only one safety? Does Orlando Scandrick play a hybrid corner/safety position?
“Not happening,” Scandrick said when asked about that last possibility.
We’ll see. It’s something the Cowboys considered a couple of offseasons ago, when Wade Phillips was in charge. If we’ve learned anything about Rob Ryan, it’s that you can never rule out anything.
“It’s not the schematics of things,” Scandrick said, insisting that he isn’t going to play any safety. “A couple of 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.”
But the Cowboys’ coaching staff doesn’t want it to be that simple.
New secondary coach Jerome Henderson certainly didn’t shoot down the idea of Scandrick playing some corner/safety hybrid. He points out that the NFL has become a passing league, and the Dallas defense wants to be able to dictate matchups while being able to keep opposing offenses guessing.
"All those players, we'd like to use them interchangeably and be versatile," Henderson said. "And the offense can't predict what they get. We'd like to create a certain level of uncertainty week to week as far as how are they going to match us up this week, how are they going to attack us this week. So it's not always us waiting for them. We also get a little say in how we match up with them."
Scandrick might not be on the field much if the Cowboys don’t often use four cornerbacks. When asked how such a personnel package would work, he said, “There are ways,” but admitted that he really didn’t know what’s cooking in Ryan’s mind.
“I have no idea what they have planned,” Scandrick said. “I feel like the best players are going to play regardless of your contract, draft status or who you are.”
Perhaps regardless of position, too.