When Orlando Scandrick got his hands on Jets quarterback Luke Falk for his second sack of the game Sunday, he had already accomplished something no Eagles cornerback had since Bobby Taylor in 1997.
But when Scandrick also ripped the ball out and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown, his performance became more than the answer to a trivia question.
It was a display of veteran savvy.
“For him to take the ball away, that turns a good play into a game-changing play,” Malcolm Jenkins said.
Scandrick’s touchdown didn’t change much on Sunday — only the margin of victory, as the Eagles were already coasting to an easy 31-6 win over the Jets (see Roob's observations). However, it was the type of heads-up football play the team’s relatively young corners hadn’t made many of through the first four weeks of the season, and the type that can absolutely swing an outcome.
And to think, 10 days earlier, Scandrick was sitting at home.
“Right off the street, right into the end zone,” Andrew Sendejo said as reporters swarmed Scandrick’s locker postgame.
Scandrick signed with the Eagles during training camp, was released at the end of August, then re-signed after injuries depleted the team’s depth at cornerback. But now, it’s easy to make the case he should’ve been here the entire time.
The Eagles rolled into the season with Ronald Darby, Rasul Douglas, Sidney Jones and Avonte Maddox as their four corners — a group with 13 seasons of NFL experience between them.
This is now Scandrick’s 12th year in the league, and in one game, he already has nearly as many turnovers (1) as the entire unit (2).
“He’s a smart guy,” Doug Pederson said. “He times blitzes. Sometimes these guys can kind of 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. Glad we were able to get him back.”
Scandrick’s career is clearly winding down. He was released by the Cowboys after 10 seasons in 2017, then after a brief stint in Washington, he wound up playing 2018 with the Chiefs. The 32-year-old was unsigned until the Eagles called in late July, and again until they called back.
Still, there’s something to be said for an experienced player who understands his role.
“It gives us a lot of security to be able to go in, communicate, have another veteran out there, and obviously he’s making plays, too,” Jenkins said. “The more comfortable he gets, the more settled we’ll get as a defense.”
Sounds like somebody the guys in the huddle would like to see stick around.
It will be interesting to see how the next few weeks transpire at corner. Darby, Jones and Maddox are all expected back in the near future, plus Jalen Mills is eligible to return from the physically unable to perform list after Week 6, while Cre’Von LeBlanc can come off of IR after Week 8.
But for all of their talent, Scandrick had a bigger impact on one game than any Eagles cornerback has had in what felt like a long time. If he plays well again in Minnesota next week and beyond, the front office and coaching staff will have difficult decisions to make.
For now, Scandrick says he’s “so happy to be back” — but the next time you hear from him, he’ll be focusing on the Eagles’ next opponent, like the veteran he is.
“I get 24 hours to enjoy it,” Scandrick said. “I’ll be back in on Tuesday at 8 o’clock. I’ll watch the film, I’ll put it behind me and then I’ll look forward to the Minnesota Vikings and do whatever I’ve gotta do to help this team win a game.”
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