The Dallas Cowboys have a situation brewing with Mike Jenkins. Jenkins made news this week when he decided to skip the voluntary workouts being held at Valley Ranch. This is really unfortunate because the Cowboys roster finally has great depth at cornerback and could become one of the leagues best units.
Some will support his decision, others will blast it. Jenkins was one of my favorite players on the Cowboys' roster up until the recent events. I have stood by him and supported him through everything he has been through in Dallas. But after his business decision, I cannot fully support him anymore.
Of course these are voluntary workouts, but nearly every player on the roster who is healthy is taking part in them. Mike Jenkins is not going to make his case any stronger by showing poor behavior and distancing himself from the team. This is going to be a situation that could develop into an ongoing ordeal that can quickly get out of hand, or Jenkins can man up and show up ready to work.
Let's take a minute to breakdown what happened this offseason. The Cowboys had one of their worst secondaries in franchise history over the last two seasons. Instead of sitting back and deciding not to hurt their current defensive backs feelings, they went out and made changes. This, my friends, is a business and the Cowboys have every right to go out and bring in the best talent they acquire.
Many haven't been supportive of the extension Orlando Scandrick received last summer. I actually commended Jerry Jones for the deal because he extended a young player before he hit free agency. Scandrick may not be world class, but he can be a very good cornerback who can play the slot. He works hard and understands that this the NFL, a business.
"I mean, it was a lot," Scandrick said of the changes. "They released Terence, signed Brandon, obviously he's a great player and (they) drafted another in the top 10. It was an area where we didn't perform up to quota and that needed improvement. So we went out and did it. Hopefully if we play up to our ability, we'll have one of the best groups in the National Football League."
"I don't take anything personal," he said. "This is a job and I'm here to do a job and I'm ready to compete and get better and focus on what I can do help the team get better."
"This is year No. 5 for me here and I try not to think about that," Scandrick said of being mainly described as a slot corner. "This has become a passing league and when you're on a good football team, you're playing with a lot of leads so teams are going to try and pass to get back in the game. It's not technically a starter but it's not technically a reserve, its (an) in-between thing. I kind of look at it as the glass half-full instead of half-empty."
That is exactly the right approach towards what is happening in Dallas. Instead of pouting, Scandrick is going to come to work and earn his playing time. He is no stranger to facing adversity in the NFL either. Back in 2009, Scandrick lost his starting role to Jenkins after he didn't outplay better his counterpart. Did Scandrick ask for a trade when he was demoted? Nope, he found a home in the slot and continues to work on improving his craft.
I think that Jenkins is a damn good cornerback with a lot of talent, but he hasn't earned the right to complain the way he has. Fact, Jenkins was a Pro Bowler in 2009. Now he had one of the best performances of any cornerback that season, but he was an injury replacement not a starter voted in. Fact, Jenkins showed less-than-maximum effort on plays as a rookie in 2008 and during the collapse of the 2010 season. Fact, Jenkins was penalized heavily during the 2010 and was flat out awful. One great season and one comeback season do not generate the type of leverage Jenkins believes he has.
The #3 cornerback will basically be a starter and Scandrick mentions that. Jenkins would see plenty of playing time but wouldn't be labeled the starter, so a lot of his beef is a perception issue. He wants to be looked at as the man in Dallas. Remember that Morris Claiborne hasn't been named the starter yet, so why wouldn't you be confident in your skills and come to training camp ready to show the Cowboys that you are a starting cornerback on this football team?
Jenkins, take some advice from your fellow teammate and realize that there will be plenty of snaps to go around. The Cowboys hold all the cards right now and your trade value is at an all time low. Do the right thing here, show up and do your job. You have one year to show the rest of the NFL that you are indeed an elite cornerback, then you will have your chance to cash in. Until then, Jenkins has a lot to prove to his teammates who are trying to do something special as a team.