Redskins release veteran cornerback Orlando Scandrick
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By STEPHEN WHYNO
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) The Washington Redskins made a surprise move three weeks into training camp by releasing veteran cornerback Orlando Scandrick.
Scandrick signed a two-year deal with Washington in March after being cut by the Dallas Cowboys and had been practicing with the first-team defense. Coach Jay Gruden on Tuesday said the play of second-year cornerback Fabian Moreau, sixth-round pick Greg Stroman, undrafted free agents Danny Johnson and Ranthony Texada and supplemental draft pick Adonis Alexander played into the decision.
"It had nothing to do with his play," Gruden said. "It was more the rookies' emergence, really. We drafted Stroman, we got Adonis in the supplemental (draft) and then nobody could really predict Danny and Texada the way they've played. And we want to give Orlando ample time to get on another team."
More than anything, it seemed like Scandrick wasn't a good fit in the Redskins' secondary. They signed him after sending cornerback Kendall Fuller to Kansas City as part of the trade for quarterback Alex Smith but before adding Stroman, Alexander, Johnson and Texada.
Moreau, a 2017 third-round pick, moves into the nickel cornerback spot behind 2015 All-Pro Josh Norman and Dunbar, a converted receiver the team is high on. Gruden hopes releasing Scandrick will get Moreau more snaps in practice and preseason games to prepare him for a bigger role.
"He's a strong, physical kid and can run," Gruden said. "When somebody else is here and Fabian's not taking reps, it's not doing anybody any good. So we have to see Fabian. Fabian's got to go through it, learn it, make his mistakes. We've got to get them corrected so when we play Arizona, we have a great confidence Fabian knows what to do and how to communicate and the leverages and techniques we want him to play."
The Sports Capitol reported there was an organizational split on Scandrick's attitude that contributed to his release. The 31-year-old brought a big personality with him to Washington, and his play slipping amid an impressive showing by younger cornerbacks made him expendable.
"I was surprised," Norman said. "That wasn't something that I thought was going to happen. Then again, you can't be surprised what happens in this league."
Add in his injury history - Scandrick played just 11 games last season and 12 in 2016 - and the Redskins opted to move on early before even seeing him in a second preseason game. Gruden said the team could sign another cornerback to fill Scandrick's spot on the 90-man roster, but indicated adding a high-profile veteran isn't in the plans.
"We're going to go with what we have right now," Gruden said. "Right now we like what we have."
Johnson in particular has stood out in camp and the preseason opener at New England, going from earning a look as a rookie minicamp tryout to a strong bet to make the team. Gruden said the coaching staff likes the Southern University product's competitive nature and playmaking ability.
"He's been solid all the way around," Gruden said. "He's a good tackler. He's done a great job. Everything we've asked him to do, he's done and a very competitive kid."
Releasing Scandrick is also an endorsement of Dunbar, who has spent his entire NFL career adjusting from wide receiver to cornerback. Dunbar is expected to start alongside Norman.
"I definitely feel like they're putting a lot of faith in me, but I have faith in myself," Dunbar said. "The body of work that I've done over the last three years from me switching from wide receiver to cornerback, that was every bit of me just buying into the process and the grind."
NOTES: WR Josh Doctson missed practice Monday with a sore heel but returned Tuesday. Gruden said Doctson's absence was not related to Achilles' tendon soreness that cost him most of the 2016 season. ... The Redskins released LB Alex McCalister with an injury settlement.
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Updated August 14, 2018