- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas -- It's hard to determine just how good a cornerback is playing sometimes.
A look at the stats will tell you the Cowboys' Orlando Scandrick is off to a strong start to the season. According to Pro Football Focus, which should be used as a guide, Scandrick is ranked seventh among cornerbacks in the NFL with a 3.7 ranking. Cincinnati's Leon Hall tops corners with a 7.2 ranking.
Scandrick moved into a starting spot because of the shoulder injury to Morris Claiborne. While he doesn't have an interception and just two pass breakups on the season, Scandrick has allowed just 19 yards after catch, according to PFF, lowest among the three corners on the team. Scandrick has also allowed eight receptions for 59 yards and one touchdown.
According to Stats Inc., Scandrick has been burned by receivers a team-low seven times among the cornerbacks. Claiborne has been burned nine times and Brandon Carr eight times.
"I'm not going to assess my own play," Scandrick said. "I'm coming out and being competitive and try to put it on film every day."
Given the money paid to Carr, $50.1 million, and where the team drafted Claiborne, sixth overall, you can forget about Scandrick, who is mainly the slot corner. Coach Jason Garrett loves Scandrick's demeanor and said he doesn't play with a chip on his shoulder, but it's more like a boulder.
The Cowboys value Scandrick's work on and off the field as evident by the contract extension he signed in 2011, a six-year $28.2 million deal with $10 million guaranteed. When one of the starting corners goes down, moving Scandrick into their role isn't a big deal because the team views Scandrick as a starter.
"You guys might have looked at me as a third corner, I don't think that's the way I was looked at or perceived in this organization," Scandrick said. "They always had the world of faith in me. Coach Garrett has expressed that to me. I just had to wait for my opportunity and unfortunately my opportunity came with a banged up Morris Claiborne, and I'm just embracing it and making the most of all my chances."