We are talking about practice? Yes, but this time it's mandatory practice!
Today the Cowboys held their first mandatory practice session and it will continue for the next two days. The big news was the arrival of cornerback Mike Jenkins who has stayed in the news due to the ongoing trade talk that has surfaced over the past couple of weeks. Jenkins did not talk to any reporters today, but there were some comments from the Cowboys' organization about his return to the team.
New secondary coach Jerome Henderson talked about the Jenkins situation and believes that he is handling it well.
"He's a pro. Like all pros, he came here ready to work," secondary coach Jerome Henderson said. "He was bright-eyed, he was attentive and he did everything he was supposed to do. He's here being the pro that we expect him to be."
Jason Garrett obviously cannot be pleased about the whole situation, so anything that comes out of his mouth I pay close attention to. Garrett talked to reporters today about the ordeal and kept his cool, but keep reading on to see where he did lose his cool a little bit.
"We've had conversations encouraging him to be here," Garrett said. "We can't demand any player to be here (for voluntary workouts). We made sure that his rehab situation was the right one when he wasn't here and now it's a mandatory situation. He's back and he's here."
"We don't see it as a big deal. He would not be able to practice anyway. We're going to try to coach him as best he can right now in the rehab stage of his development and certainly when he gets back on the field."
Rainer Sabin of the Dallas Morning News has the juiciest comment of the day. Sometimes things sound differently on paper than they do in person, but it is becoming very clear to me that Garrett isn't pleased about the way Jenkins has handled himself this offseason.
"We can keep talking about Jenkins all day long," Garrett said with a measure of frustration. "The situation is that Mike Jenkins chose not to be part of the voluntary offseasos program. Now he is back for the mandatory part...He has a role on our football team. He is part of out team.He had done good things for team the past few years. "We anticipate him getting back and be part of what we are doing this year."
Wow Jason, calm down there buddy, it's only practice right? They are supposed to be voluntary, so if everyone on your team shows up but one player it's okay right? You can't blame Garrett for being annoyed at this point because he has answered the same Mike Jenkins questions in every interview, but that was very uncharacteristic of Jason Garrett.
Moving on to our owner, Jerry Jones has stood his ground when it comes to Mike Jenkins and continues to say that Jenkins will not be traded. Let's take a look at what Jerry had to say about his former first-round draft pick.
"I had a good visit with him," Jones said. "It is good to have him out here and our guys got a chance to check out how he has been rehabbing. So all of that was good."
"I visited with him for a little bit and there was none of that at all," Jones said. "As a matter of fact, I talked a lot about our coming year and how we've really bolstered up our secondary and how being a part of that can be something special. It was a very cordial conversation."
Okay, enough about the return of Mike Jenkins, let's move on to the other topics. There was some interesting news about Marcus Spears that really intrigued me because I didn't know that he was more comfortable playing on a certain side of the defensive line, but apparently he is.
Spears hasn't lived up to his first-round selection back in 2005, but he is a solid player. He is more of a space eater than a disruptive five-technique defensive end, but it would cost us more to release him this year than to keep him. Over the last two years, Spears hasn't exactly played his best football and he explains why he had such a down season last year.
"I didn’t really get a feel coming in – training camp late, the lockout – so I felt behind the whole season, especially playing a new position at that point," he said. "It was a tough adjustment, and I didn’t do as well as I wanted to do at it. But now, I’m back on my left side, and I’ve got time to learn the defense and hopefully translate that into me being a real good defensive lineman."
Spears also discussed his move back to the left side and how he will be more comfortable making plays there.
"I had the conversation with Coach Baker," "I expressed to him that I was more comfortable playing left end. I had been doing it for seven years previous. To come back with no time to actually practice on the right side, a new position, a new territory, and to be trying to learn with live bullets flying, it’s tough to do. And I just didn’t have success at it."
"We all want to get back to where we’re comfortable. That’s human nature. If I had had time to actually slowly learn how to play right end, it would have been a different scenario at right end. I firmly believe that."
It's good to know that he will be back to his normal position, but we need more production from Spears this year. I like his approach towards the game and he is a great locker room presence, but he just has not performed well enough to justify where he was drafted. Good stuff from Marcus Spears here, so be sure to check out the rest of the article from the Star-Telegram.
Here are some quick references to some other articles related to the mandatory mini camp held today, be sure to read them and catch up on everything that is going down in Big D.
- Tony Romo talked about the big position battle of the summer, the wide receiver position. He believes the competition has been heating up recently, I hope he is right.
- Todd Archer of ESPNDallas gives us a breakdown of today's practice. It looks like Dez Bryant is in for a breakout season if he continues to play the way he has in the practices.
- Bryan Broaddus of the mothership also has a breakdown of today's practice. Broaddus is a fantastic read to be sure to read up on his take of what went down today.
- Backup quarterback Kyle Orton missed practice with a hamstring injury, hopefully it is nothing major. Calvin Watkins also talks about the other injuries and the progress of the injured fifth-round wide receiver Danny Coale.
- The mothership uploaded some very good videos today also. Nick Eatman and Rob Phillips discuss the return of Mike Jenkins, Jerry Jones talks about the cornerback position, Tony Romo talks about how he feels about the team and there is the Jason Garrett press conference. Each video contains valuable information that I think you should watch.