When defensive coaches decide who is going to cover the an opponent's receivers, typically they draw up a plan to cover one or two playmakers. Against the Patriots, they have to stop 3 or 4 of them, including a wideout who just happens to be leading the league in receptions and yardage. This week Cowboys coaches have given the short straw to Orlando Scandrick.
Dallas Cowboys CB Orlando Scandrick won't be eased back into the lineup as he has to handle Patriots slot receiver Wes Welker on Sunday. Welker has 45 catches for 740 yards and five touchdowns. Welker is on pace to shatter the NFL record for yards and catches.
"I knew I was going to get Wes Welker my first game back from the time I got hurt, so it is what it is," Scandrick said. "It's a huge challenge. He's a worker. He does everything 100 percent, full speed. He works."
Scandrick, playing in his fourth season for the Cowboys, has 22 passes defended and two interceptions for his career. Last week Welker drew coverage from Jets defender Darrelle Revis, among others. Revis, a fifth year defender has been selected to multiple Pro Bowls, has 77 passes defended and 15 interceptions.
Revis' task was to make sure Brady couldn't use Welker as an outlet, yet the diminutive wideout still managed 5 receptions for 123 yards. Welker's best play of the game came when he beat the All-Pro corner deep on a 73-yard hookup from Brady.
Scandrick knows that Welker can beat the best cover corners in the league by using his experience and intuitive connection with Patriots QB Tom Brady.
"Him and Brady have a great relationship. They know what each other is going to do," Scandrick admitted. "It's a huge challenge. They said today he's on pace for 2,600 yards or something crazy, but going into this game, I'm going to make him work."
Welker has caught a pass in 83 straight games. Scandrick understands that he isn't going to stop No. 83 from catching catch number 84, but he hopes he's up to the challenge.
" We're going to see what happens. It's going to be a great challenge."
Indeed it is.
Material from the Sports Xchange was used in this report.