Despite 10 years’ experience, new Chiefs cornerback has ‘first day of school’ feeling

New Chiefs cornerback Orlando Scandrick meets the KC media

Newly signed cornerback Orlando Scandrick speaks at a press conference before his first practice as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.
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Newly signed cornerback Orlando Scandrick speaks at a press conference before his first practice as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.

With defensive back Steven Nelson in the NFL’s concussion protocol and free-agent acquisition David Amerson off to a rough start to the preseason, Orlando Scandrick’s addition provides a boost to a Chiefs secondary that figures to be the topic of much discussion this season after trading away former Pro Bowler Marcus Peters.

Scandrick, who Washington released on Aug. 14 and signed with the Chiefs on Sunday, will actually wear Peters’ old jersey number (22). Safety Robert Golden wore that number during camp before receiving his release from the Chiefs on Aug. 15.

“At this point, it’s not really about what number. It’s just about getting in here, learning and trying to contribute in any way I can,” Scandrick said before practice on Tuesday.

Scandrick gives the Chiefs four experienced cornerback options. With Kendall Fuller slated to start at one corner opposite Nelson, Scandrick immediately projects as the fourth corner on the depth chart behind Amerson. Up until Scandrick’s addition, rookie Tremon Smith, a speedster and sixth-round draft pick out of Central Arkansas, slotted in as the fourth corner.

Scandrick didn’t offer much insight as far as his potential role during his media session on Tuesday, repeatedly making reference to the fact that he’d just joined the team and was still learning names and his way around the facility. He claimed he hadn’t even seen anything more of Kansas City than the practice facility and his hotel.

“This is like the first day of school every day for me,” Scandrick said. “I spent 10 years in one locker room and kind of knowing everything that was coming. At this point, I’m just trying to soak up everything and learn how they do things around here so I can just fit in.”

After playing 10 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, Scandrick signed with Washington this offseason. During camp, Washington opted to go with a group of younger, up-and-coming players at the cornerback position, which apparently made Scandrick expendable.

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The 5-foot-10, 196-pound veteran has started 69 of the 125 games in which he has played since being drafted in the fifth round in 2008. Scandrick started his career competing against Andy Reid-coached teams in Philadelphia. He has eight career interceptions, 63 passes defended and 391 tackles.

Scandrick started all 11 games he played last season for Dallas, where he was teammates with current Chiefs inside linebacker Anthony Hitchens.

“We texted back and forth before I was visiting here,” Scandrick said. “Obviously, Hitch was a great player (in Dallas) and it’s like I feel the roles are reversed. He was the new guy in the locker room (there), and I kind of helped him get around. Now, the roles are reversed.”

Chiefs coach Andy Reid also avoided specifics as to how the defense might utilize Scandrick. However, Reid pointed to Scandrick’s experience as a benefit for the Chiefs and said, “He can come in and help us.”

“It’s kind of neat to have him here,” Reid said. “I’ve watched him grow from the time he was a rookie coming out of Boise (State) there. When he went to Dallas, I was playing him twice a year and he became the nickel and then he developed into one of the best nickels in the National Football League. Then he went out to corner and we’ve played him here a couple of times. Now he’s 31 years old. So, I mean, time flies.”

Scandrick met with general manager Brett Veach and members of the coaching staff including Reid, defensive coordinator Bob Sutton and secondary coach Al Harris during a visit last week following his release in Washington.

While Scandrick didn’t watch the Chiefs’ preseason game against Atlanta on television last week, he did review the game film with the rest of the Chiefs’ defense. Scandrick said he spent the film session trying to envision himself on the field and going through the terminology and calls in the Chiefs’ defensive scheme.

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“After being in the league for 10 years, there is only so many coverages that a team can run,” he said. “There’s only so many different philosophies, but I’m just trying to learn the (Chiefs’) terminology. I’m trying to put myself, whether I was a nickel or I was a corner, and put myself in that position and mentally make those calls, so when I do get an opportunity to get out there, that I can be ready.”