Orlando Scandrick was on a plane headed home for a last-minute visit with his family when the Kansas City Chiefs played the Atlanta Falcons in their second preseason game last week.
He didn't get to see another shaky performance by their secondary until reporting to his new team.
Now the veteran cornerback who spent nearly a decade with the Dallas Cowboys and was recently cut loose by the Washington Redskins will try to help patch it up. The Chiefs signed the 31-year-old Scandrick over the weekend in the hopes he can stabilize one of their biggest areas of need.
"I'm just trying to find my way around right now. I've only been here a few days," he said with a smile Monday. "I'm doing a whole lot of listening and not a lot of talking."
Scandrick won't have a whole lot of time to get up to speed. The Chiefs visit the Chicago Bears this weekend for their third preseason game, then have a quick turnaround before their preseason finale.
Their regular-season opener is a mere three weeks away.
"After being in the league for 10 years, there's only so many coverages a team can run, only so many philosophies," He said. "I'm just trying to learn the terminology right now."
Chiefs general manager Brett Veach has been a bit uncertain of his defensive backfield since the start of training camp, when they had Bashaud Breeland in for an extended visit. But Veach didn't pull the trigger on a veteran addition until signing Scandrick last week.
"You can't have enough corners, so Brett's kept his eyes open, brought a couple in," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "This one, he felt comfortable."
Finances were a big part of it – the cash-strapped Chiefs would only owe him $1.5 million for the upcoming season – but so was were injuries and underwhelming performances early in camp.
The Chiefs lost Daniel Sorensen for at least the start of the season after the safety broke a bone in his shin. They are also without cornerback Steven Nelson – expected to start opposite new arrival Kendall Fuller – after he sustained a concussion in their preseason opener.
A lingering heel injury has forced Eric Berry to the sideline the past couple of weeks, and the trade of Marcus Peters to the Los Angeles Rams this year has made a secondary that struggled last season potentially worse.
"The big thing for us is just communicating and being on the same page and at the end of the day, making plays on the ball," said Fuller, who arrived in the trade for Alex Smith. "As a DB, the more plays on the ball that you make, the better the opportunity you give your team to win."
The Chiefs hope Scandrick can help make some of those plays. They hope Berry can, too.
The perennial Pro Bowl safety missed almost all of last season with a torn Achilles tendon, but he appeared ahead of schedule in his recovery when he participated in the offseason program. Berry also was on the practice fields of Missouri Western State University for the start of training camp, which Chiefs fans took as a good omen for the upcoming season.
Then he began sitting out practices with a heel injury. And so far, the injury has caused Berry to miss enough time that many are wondering whether there is something more serious afoot.
"I just don't want to go backward. That's what I don't want to do," Reid said between Monday's morning walk-through and an afternoon practice. "I'm OK with it. He's far enough long. ... I just have to monitor it and see where he's at. I'm comfortable where he's going with this thing."
Notes: DL Allen Bailey (knee strain) and OG Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff (concussion) joined Nelson and Berry in sitting out Monday's practice. ... RB Charcandrick West participated in some of the workout for the first time in several weeks after dealing with a concussion. "He feels good. The docs say he's OK," Reid said. "We're in pads today, be helpful to see him move around."