Updates from Wednesday, Sept. 17
NFL Network's Albert Breer reports good news for the Cowboys and Scandrick:
Among those being informed tonight of their reinstatement: Broncos WR Wes Welker, Cowboys CB Orlando Scandrick, Rams WR Stedman Bailey.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) September 17, 2014
Updates from Friday, Sept. 12
ESPN's Tim MacMahon has the latest on Scandrick:
Orlando Scandrick has talked to Jason Garrett. He will play vs. Titans if cleared by NFL. "But it's out of my hands," he said.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) September 13, 2014
Updates from Friday, Sept. 5
Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star Telegram has good news regarding Scandrick's suspension:
Per sources, the new drug policy is very close to getting done and Scandrick's suspension will be lifted immediately whenever it happens.— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) September 5, 2014
Scandrick is in shape but he has had no contact with the cowboys, per league suspension rules, and has not seen or practiced the game plan— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) September 5, 2014
The cowboys believe Scandrick would be ready to go and could play Sunday if suspension is lifted. Good news— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) September 5, 2014
However, Hill noted that there were still no guarantees that Scandrick would be reinstated:
The league is now wary of opening a can of worms by retroactively lifting suspensions. So pump your brakes. the truth will come out soon— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) September 5, 2014
Cowboys vp stephen jones just told me no final decision has been on new drug policy and the retroactive lifting of Scandrick's suspension— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) September 5, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, Aug. 12
ESPN's Ed Werder reports when and how Scandrick consumed the banned substance that led to his four-game suspension:
The NFL also issued a statement on Scandrick's ability to complete training camp and preseason games (via Desmond Purnell of NFL.com):
Source: #Cowboys Orlando Scandrick suspension result of banned substance consumed in cocktail while on Mexican vacation with ex-girlfriend.— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) August 12, 2014
Fox Sports' Jay Glazer later weighed in on Scandrick's punishment:
Source says #Cowboys Orlando Scandrick is 21st player of 104 NFL has suspended for PED to have tested for MDMA, commonly known as Molly.— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) August 12, 2014
Yahoo Sports' Rand Getlin previously provided a statement from Scandrick and his agent, Ron Slavin:
NFL Statement on Orlando Scandrick pic.twitter.com/e31XDywSSY— Desmond Purnell (@DesmondPurnell) August 12, 2014
Scandrick got hit for Molly, or NDMA. That by itself should fall recreational, but it's sometimes laced w amphetamine, hence the PED pop— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) August 12, 2014
Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported the news:
The Star-Telegram's Clarence Hill offered further insight on the suspension along with his take on what it means for the Cowboys:
Jerry Jones just said Orlando Scandrick has been suspended for the first four games by the league.— Charean Williams (@NFLCharean) August 12, 2014
Fox Sports insider Jay Glazer had more details, writing in a Twitter post: "Just talked to Orlando Scandrick about his 4 game suspension. Says he took something in Mexico while on vacation and it texted [sic] positive on banned list for performance enhancer."
Rob Pizzola of theScore Inc. feels Scandrick's absence will exacerbate the issues America's Team will have on defense:
It was a street drug. Not a supplement. Scandrick has been fighting ban since April. Lost appeal— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) August 12, 2014
NFL Network's Michael Fabiano expressed a similar sentiment in outlining the fantasy implications:
Huge setback for the cowboys— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) August 12, 2014
Scandrick defended 12 passes and had two interceptions in 2013, starting 15 of the 16 games in which he appeared. He recently remarked how the perception of him would change for the better if he hauled in more picks.
"That's the only thing I feel I've been missing from my game,” said Scandrick, per ESPNDallas.com's Todd Archer. "The only thing. The only thing that has separated me from just being that above-average guy and being an elite guy is going and getting the ball."
Dallas had the 30th-ranked pass defense last season and has a rather weak overall unit. Based on the following statistic from Pro Football Focus' Jeff Deeney, without Scandrick, the Cowboys may truly be in serious trouble:
Orlando Scandrick four game suspension. #Cowboys defense goes from being an abomination to... what's worse than an abomination?— Rob Pizzola (@robpizzola) August 12, 2014
Losing someone like Scandrick for the first four games could be a big blow for the Cowboys, who desperately need a strong start to avoid missing the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year.
For a franchise with so much history and tradition of success, Dallas must put forth a better effort in 2014. If the Cowboys fail to qualify for the postseason, a massive shake-up on the coaching staff is bound to occur. The secondary does sport the likes of Brandon Carr and former first-round draft choice Morris Claiborne, but Dallas lacks depth at the cornerback position.
Seriously, the Cowboys defense is going to be AWFUL this year. Dream fantasy matchup for their opponents every single week.— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) August 12, 2014
+8.5 coverage grade was 15th among CBs last year. Will miss SF game. MT @espn_macmahon: Cowboys CB Orlando Scandrick suspended first 4 games— Jeff Deeney (@PFF_Jeff) August 12, 2014
In the regular-season opener, the Cowboys host the physical, ground-and-pound attack of the San Francisco 49ers and also have dual-threat quarterback Colin Kaepernick to account for. Then comes a two-game road trip, first to face a Tennessee Titans team led by signal-caller Jake Locker, who's in a contract year and out to prove himself.
The last game Scandrick is absent for will mercifully be back home, but Dallas will face the offensive juggernaut of the New Orleans Saints. Scandrick would then be scheduled to return for a Week 5 home contest versus the Houston Texans.
Will the Cowboys defense improve in 2014?
Unless Claiborne plays to his potential, the Cowboys safeties step up or the defensive front generates a mega pass rush, the outlook for Dallas' defense is pretty bleak in the first quarter of the season.