So we know Orlando Scandrick is suspended for four games, but let’s take a closer look at how this suspension could hurt us significantly over the first four games. The season starts out fast and furious and we’ll be facing the following games without Scandrick
1. 49ers 3:25pm (FOX) SEPT 07
2. @Titans 12:00pm (FOX) SEPT 14
3. @Rams 12:00pm (FOX) SEPT 21
4. Saints 7:30pm (SNF) SEPT 28
The 49ers have a very dynamic offense and like to spread the ball all over the field and in the slot. With Scandrick out we’re going to rely heavy on our nickel and reserve cornerbacks. Morris Claiborne is now the de facto starting cornerback opposite Brandon Carr, and the question will be whether he’ll be up to the challenge, mentally and physically. I’m not holding my breath and this is where we could take a big hit. If Claiborne fails to make the leap, we’ll know in game one, and we’ll be targeting a CB in 2015, it won’t take long to see what we have in Claiborne.
The Cowboys are already paper thin at cornerback and we’re going to need someone to step up big time over this stretch. Whether its Sterling Moore, B.W. Webb or the rookie Terrance Mitchell, they will all be on high alert and they will all receive a workload over the next few games.
What the Cowboys will need is a fierce pass rush, and that’s what Garrett and his staff are hoping. Unfortunately, the supposed “defense in waves” was anything but that, and looked more like “defense in small tremors” If the Cowboys don’t get the pass rush going early on we could be in some serious trouble early on.
The Titans on the road, in week two will be a challenge defensively as well. I look for Whisenhunt to have this team a lot more competitive than they have been, and will boast a revamped offensive line. The addition of running back Bishop Sankey will challenge the slot and linebackers. Their offense is solid, but again, the best way to help the secondary will be with the pass rush. We’ll see how this game pans out.
The Rams on the road will be a tougher game than in our past meetings, and the have playmakers on that offense that are poised to have breakout seasons. Tavon Austin, Zac Stacy, and Tre Mason will give the Cowboys defense fits if they don’t control the trenches. This game will come down the trenches both ways, and the Rams have upgraded both with Greg Robinson moving inside to guard and with Aaron Donald at defensive tackle. We won’t want to leave the secondary as the deciding factor or we could take a loss here.
The Saints will be the last game without Scandrick and this could be an ugly affai if the defense looks like anything like 2013. Outside of the Denver Broncos, I would say the Saints have then next lethal offense in the NFL. The Saints revamped their offensive weapons and added Brandin Cooks to replace Darren Sproles. All indications suggest that Cooks will be picking up right were Sproles left off and will be a favorite target of Brees. We’ll try to contain the Brees-to-Graham connection, but we could get exposed here.
The Cowboys needed to improve the defense in 2014 and they have invested heavily into revamping it, but with Lawrence out, Melton’s gimpy groin, and now Scandrick, we are behind the eight ball coming out the gates again. Do you believe in unsung heroes? We’re going to need someone to make a splash defensively.