If you haven’t heard by now, the Dallas Cowboys were dealt yet another brutal blow to the defensive side of the ball to start the 2014 NFL season. While losing Sean Lee for the year, and DeMarcus Lawrence for multiple weeks apparently wasn’t bad enough, the team is now going to have to deal with Orlando Scandrick being suspended for four games. The reason? He decided to put something in his body while vacationing and partying in Mexico back in April. According to multiple reports he decided to take Molly, and has been incredibly apologetic and remorseful about the decision.
Regardless of how that all played out, it’s time to look at how this affects things on the field. I’m not sure how much worse this can really get for the Cowboys on the field to start 2014, as they are without three players who were going to be impact players more than likely. One thing that Scandrick being suspended does mean, is that Morris Claiborne has a prime opportunity to remove the label of a “bust” from the word go this year. It won’t be easy, because Claiborne hasn’t shown us much to this point, but really hasn’t been able to stay healthy enough to remain on the field. The potential for Claiborne is there, but this is being called a “do or die” season for him, so the pressure is completely on.
Many Cowboys’ fans were actually expecting to see Scandrick start the year out as the number two cornerback, with Claiborne as number three, which obviously would have meant that Mo’ would have had a bit of an easier opportunity to prove that he can play at a high level in the NFL. Now though, he’ll be up against some of the strongest opposing wide outs, and we may very well end up knowing by the end of the fourth week if Claiborne will be a Cowboy for the future, or if the bust label is going to stick with him for a bit longer.
The Cowboys’ defense, as always, is the biggest question mark for the team this year. It’s been said that if the Cowboys manage to go 8-8 that it will be nothing short of a miracle, and it’ll be largely due to the offense. While losing these defensive players doesn’t help, I do still believe the defense will be improved from last season (it’s hard not to improve from those numbers), and I think once they get back both Scandrick and Lawrence that they’ll be an interesting team to watch.
What will end up being the most important thing, is how the Boys are able to handle the first four games of the season or so. Scandrick, as already mentioned is out for the first four games, and it looks as though Lawrence will miss between four to seven games due to his fractured foot. If both were to come back in Week 5 that would be the best case scenario obviously, but even then, the team needs to get through the first four games with at least a .500 record or better in my opinion.