NFL Team Report - Dallas Cowboys - INSIDE SLANT


Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick said Tuesday that he will be suspended the first four games of the 2014 season for a failed drug test. Owner Jerry Jones broke the news to media Monday when he said Scandrick would be banned by the league.

"I would like to apologize to my children, my family, the Jones Family, my coaches, my teammates and my fans," Scandrick said in a news release early Tuesday. "Failing a drug test is far out of my character, and although I never knowingly took a performance enhancing drug/banned stimulant while on vacation in Mexico, I take full responsibility for what goes in my body and more importantly for the embarrassment of a failed drug test. It's my goal by issuing this statement to clear my name and more importantly to be judged by what happens to me in the future. I hope that my family, my Cowboys football family and all my fans can forgive me for this situation. I look forward to a successful 2014 season."

Scandrick started 15 of 16 games for the Cowboys last season. He had 64 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble. The absence of Scandrick adds to the problems facing the Cowboys, who were poor on defense last season and have several defensive starters sidelined with injuries.

According to his agent, Ron Slavin, the absence of HGH regulation contributed to Scandrick's failed test.

"I do not excuse Orlando having tested positive for a banned stimulant," Slavin said in a statement Tuesday. "The current rules are what they are, and a player is responsible for what is in his body. However, I would like it known that it is my understanding that if the current proposed agreement related to HGH testing would have already been instituted, a very significant percentage of the players receiving PED suspensions since the new CBA took effect would not have been suspended. Instead, these players, under the proposed new policy, would have been subjected to the Substance Abuse Policy and Program. More than 80 missed games, millions of dollars in fines and bonus repayments have been issued because the NFLPA and NFL cannot come to an agreement. The only people who are losing in this standoff are the players and fans."

The NFLPA claims the hold up in the agreement is the league's unwillingness to make concessions on independent appeals arbitration. Per terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, commissioner Roger Goodell has authority to determine suspensions, including appeals.


--If anyone needs a reason why the Cowboys are holding a roster spot open for former defensive tackle Josh Brent, convicted last year of vehicular manslaughter and hoping to be reinstated by Commissioner Roger Goodell, they need only consider the state of the team's sorry a defense.

A unit that was the worst in the league and third worst in team history a year ago has not looked any better through the first two weeks of training camp and the first preseason game.

The Cowboys were without five defensive starters in a 27-7 loss to San Diego Thursday, but that was no excuse for letting San Diego run and pass at will.

That is especially true considering that the major focus of the team's hoped for improvement in 2014 was that they would be younger and using a rotation of players up front to stay fresh and healthy. Apparently being effective is a whole other thing.

Many players the Cowboys planned to use in the rotation were on the field against the Chargers and the results weren't pretty. San Diego rushed 42 times for 152 yards and completed 14 of 16 passes for 243 yards, while amassing 24 first downs and punting just twice.

Coach Jason Garrett said the Cowboys have a long way to go.

"I think at times they did OK," Garrett said. "I thought in general San Diego was able to move the ball too easily on us. They ran the ball on us. They threw the ball very effectively. I do think a couple of penalties we had helped their drives. So we have to address that as well.

"We are playing different combinations of guys, but we'll get a chance to evaluate them individually. But for the most part we didn't make enough stops on defense. We'll go back and look at that and hopefully improve."

Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli also refused to sugar coat a dreadful performance.

"We got to tackle better I know that," Marinelli said. "We have to tackle better. It was some of the fits in the run game. It was all of it. It's not just one guy or one possession. It was all of it."

Garrett said the Cowboys didn't get off blocks up front in the running game but added that it was a problem throughout the defense.

"I think in general gap control wasn't where it needed to be, " Garrett said. "I don't think we got off of blocks well enough at any level, the defensive line level, the linebacker level, and I don't think we tackled very consistently throughout the game. That's whatever group was out there. So, great opportunities for us as coaches to go back and point that stuff out, continue to work on the technique of that in practice."