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The VRR: Mike Jenkins and Patrick Crayton Could Be Surprise Players in '09

Mike Jenkins is the number two player listed on Matt Bowen's article at NFP, "Five defensive players who may surprise".

Jenkins will start opposite fellow cornerback Terence Newman in his first year as a full-time player, and although I expect Newman to draw most of the tougher match-ups in the NFC East, expect Jenkins to see plenty of action on his side of the field.

One thing we have to remember about the Cowboys is that they’re a pressure team that sends players after the quarterback, and in return, they count on their secondary to play a lot of man-to-man coverage in blitz packages. The Cowboys totaled 59 sacks in 2008, and they should continue to be a defense that relies on pressure to create plays. Because of this, Jenkins will have plenty of opportunities to make some plays on the ball, and if Newman can continue to play at a top level, opposing offenses will look to try and exploit Jenkins. Lots of opportunities for Jenkins, and I believe he has the talent to get it done.

Hat tip to APerfectStar for the FanShot.

Bowen also lists Patrick Crayton as his number two surprise offensive player.

I have always liked Crayton’s game at the wide receiver position, and with the departure of Terrell Owens, I expect him to play a major role in the passing game for the Cowboys and quarterback Tony Romo. Yes, we can all agree that Romo’s No. 1 target in any down-and-distance situation will be TE Jason Witten, but the ‘Boys still need a receiver who can make plays down the field on first and second downs.

Crayton averaged more than 14 yards a catch in ’08, and although WR Miles Austin might be the ultimate deep threat for this Cowboys team, he’s still a No. 3. Crayton should fit nicely into the No. 2 role and might even be more productive by season’s end than expected No. 1 Roy Williams.

Marion Barber will be featured on Sportscenter's "Make-A-Wish" segment on Sunday. The episode is the first in a five-day series, and shows Barber fulfilling a six-year-old boy's wish to meet him.

Some love for MBIII's barbarianesqueness.

Before his career is over, Marion Barber will be one of the toughest NFL players to ever play the game. Okay, that may be a little much. But he doesn't have the nickname "Marion the Barbarian" because he enjoys gladiator movies.

FoxSports' Adam Schein says in this video that Jason Garrett is going to help out Tony Romo by "running, running, running" the football. By doing so, he says that there will be plenty of touches for Barber, Tashard Choice, and Felix Jones. He also thinks that the Cowboys should use Felix much like the Eagles use Brian Westbrook.

I'm liking Schein's take on the 'Boys!

NFL Gridiron Gab's fantasy rankings have Jason Witten as the number one tight end in the division.

Witten might be the best all-around tight end in the game today, and he and Romo have developed an awesome rapport over the past two and a half years.

In 2008, Witten finished with 81 catches for over 900 yards and 4 TDs. And this year, T.O. is gone.

True, the extra attention given to Owens will probably shift over to Witten, but the Cowboys have enough weapons to isolate Witten on linebackers and safeties, and he’ll still find ways to produce. Expect a 1,000-yard season with between eight and 10 touchdowns.

Jamie Dukes says that Roy Williams is one player "who must have a breakout season". Big surprise, there.

The NFLN will be airing a Super Bowl marathon to celebrate America's birthday. In his blog, Josh Ellis breaks down the schedule for the episodes featuring America's team.

Part-owner of the San Diego Padres, Troy Aikman, threw out the first pitch at a game Thursday night.

Wearing a Padres jersey with his familiar No. 8, the former Dallas Cowboys star threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Thursday's game against the Houston Astros. He bounced it in the dirt just in front of right-hander Chris Young, a Dallas native.

Men's Health ranked a Texas city as America's "Top Sports Town(s)".

The city of Arlington, Texas came in first, which probably comes from the fan buildup for the new Cowboys stadium and the Texas Rangers baseball team. Texas also has a deep love of high school and college football, along with NASCAR races, and the Dallas Mavericks are just down the road in Dallas.

Here's something nice to keep in your back pocket.'s updated "Best Available Free Agents" list. The list focuses on offensive players and points to wide receiver as being a "pretty deep" position.

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