Savvy Scandrick Pays Immediate Dividends
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Typically Orlando Scandrick is busy in September but the veteran cornerback found himself in his Los Angeles-area home last month as the first quarter of the 2019 NFL season raced by, the first time Scandrick has been idle since Dallas made him a fifth-round pick out of Boise State in the 2008 draft.
The 32-year-old Scandrick spent the summer with the Eagles but was released at the final cut and for the first time in 12 years Week 1 came and went and then Weeks 2, 3 and 4 quickly followed.
“It was hard sitting on the couch watching guys play a game that I know I’m still capable of playing at a high level,” Scandrick explained.
He was still getting nibbles -- maybe a Texas return with Houston and almost constant contact by the Eagles and Howie Roseman as the injuries piled up. First it was Ronald Darby and then Avonte Maddox and Sidney Jones joining the already injured Jalen Mills and Cre'Von LeBlanc.
That had Roseman reaching out as early as Week 2 before finally pulling the trigger and bringing back Scandrick for the game against the New York Jets on Sunday, a 31-6 rout in Philadelphia's favor helped by a 44-yard hat trick by Scandrick when he strip-sacked Luke Falk, ripping the football out of the QB's hands before racing 44 yards for a touchdown.
"I was just finishing the play and not being satisfied with the sack," Scandrick said of his TD. "I wanted to finish it and the first thing toward finishing the play is forcing the fumble. Then once the fumble is out, just to put points on the board as a defense. I'm so happy to be back. It was a humbling experience just being at home for those for weeks. I'm just happy we won."
It was the second strip-sack of the afternoon for Scandrick who finished with four tackles as Jim Schwartz threw him into the fire with only four healthy cornerbacks available to the defensive coordinator and three of those, including Scandrick, as well as Craig James and Ryan Lewis all having less than 12 days on the 53-man roster.
“We would expect him to be up to speed if he's called upon,” Schwartz said before the game. “There's not going to be any start-up time for him.”
That turned out to be an understatement as Schwartz used Scandrick's veteran savvy to confuse Falk with the blitz off the edge.
"He's a smart guy. He times up the blitzes," coach Doug Pederson said. "Sometimes these kinds of guys can slither their way through and get under blocks and they're quick enough to bend and edge the corner. This is who he is and he's a great addition."
"It was great," Scandrick admitted before tapping into his veteran zen. "I just stay even-keeled and not try to get too high. I've been in this league a long time. We will take this thing one game at a time and one day at a time, It's one game that's a W and I'll enjoy it for 24 hours. I'll put it behind me after that, watch the film, correct the things that I messed up on and build on the things I did well on."
Next up is a more difficult test in Minnesota followed by another two road games with playoff hopefuls in Dallas and Buffalo.
"We just have to keep working," Pederson said.
With veterans like Scandrick, though, that work is already understood.
"He understands. He's a veteran player," Pederson said of Scandrick. "I didn't have to have any conversations with him. He just kind of fit in and did exactly what the defense and what Jim dialed up today. It was great to see the effort he had."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen