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OXNARD (105.3 THE FAN) – Orlando Scandrick has mastered the art of being prickly, as you know if you’ve listened to his visits with “Shan & RJ’’ on 105.3 The Fan. But it is an act, mostly, a fireball approach to football life that allows a guy without great size or great pedigree to be among the Cowboys’ greatest defensive players.

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And now his fiery attitude will come in especially handy as he faces surgery and rehab from a season-ending knee injury that includes tears of his right ACL and MCL.

In my conversation with Scandrick on Tuesday, in the hours after the practice-field play that robbed him of his season, he talked of a “better-than-ever’’ return to the field in 2016. That is within his grasp and among the Cowboys’ long-range concerns.

More immediately? They need to force themselves to turn the page — a real challenge given their collective admiration for the “dawg’’ that is Scandrick and given their reliance on him as a talent.

“You’re the best, bud,’’ tweeted Tony Romo, and to be sure, Scandrick was Dallas’ best DB. And what to do now?

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[tweet https://twitter.com/tonyromo/status/636348029318987776]

The Cowboys will have to replace a player of multiple skills. Scandrick is a highly effective blitzer from the slot in addition to his coverage prowess. Second-year pro Tyler Patmon will get the first shot at the slot corner role while Scandrick is out. Mo Claiborne will get the first shot at the starting job opposite Brandon Carr. Corey White is a factor in the secondary and the drafting of first-round pick Byron Jones puts expectations on him, too.

“It’s tough,’’ said an emotional secondary coach Jerome Henderson. “You get a little emotional because he’s one of your guys.’’

And suddenly the Cowboys have to find answers among some of their other guys.

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