IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick has rejoined his teammates Wednesday and will be on the practice for the first time now that his suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy has been lifted.
Scandrick was set to rejoin the Cowboys on Sept. 29 and play Oct. 5 against the Houston Texans once his original four-game suspension was up, but with the new drug policy finally in place Scandrick is free to play Sunday against the St. Louis Rams.
That’s a good thing for a Cowboys defense that lost linebacker Sean Lee (knee) for the season in May, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (foot) for the first eight games and linebacker Justin Durant (groin) for up to a month.
The Cowboys are slowly getting some pieces back. Scandrick’s return coincides this week with the first on-field football work for defensive end Anthony Spencer, who is working back from microfracture surgery on his left knee.
Scandrick was the Cowboys’ best cornerback last year. He had a strong training camp over the summer. Though he took the starting job away from Morris Claiborne last season, his best asset is his ability to play in the slot. He is quick enough and strong enough to stay with receivers in the middle of the field and he has a good knack for timing his blitzes off the slot.
For a defense in need of all kinds of pass-rush help, having Scandrick will upgrade coverage and even the pass rush.
Given the way Sterling Moore has played in Scandrick’s absence, the Cowboys could have a decision to make as to which cornerback plays where. Morris Claiborne started the first two games opposite Brandon Carr with Moore working in the slot. It’s possible the Cowboys continue to give Moore playing time inside or outside as Scandrick works his way into form after a two-week absence or over Claiborne.
In order to make room for Scandrick on the 53-man roster, offensive tackle Darrion Weems was placed on injured reserve. He hurt his shoulder early in training camp and has not practiced since.