MRI results are awaited but it appears cornerback Mike Jenkins may have escaped a serious, long-term injury this morning. He lingered on the turf on hands and knees for a couple of minutes after a passing drill and finally walked off the field unassisted, though slowly and with little ability to put weight on his right foot. He spoke to a trainer on the far sideline and was quickly driven from the field on a cart.
Initial reports speculate a high ankle sprain. These can linger, but most importantly, they can be overcome with proper rest and rehabilitation. We'll see what the medical folks say.
The injury came just minutes before the end of a ragged morning workout in shirts and shorts. The team looked a bit sluggish after a fast-paced full pads afternoon session yesterday.
Dallas again began with special teams drills and resumed the work it started yesterday with punts. The focus today was on returns, and after several minutes of mini-group drills the team went 11-on-11, with Mat McBriar punting to several different returners: Terence Newman, Felix Jones, Patrick Crayton and Willie Reid. The team used several different punting formations and several different return setups.
The defense then began lots of individualized drills. The linemen worked on their hand usage and avoiding being hooked inside on outside runs. The linebackers worked on pass recognition and on switching coverage on tight ends and backs. The corners and safeties also worked on switching off on WR route combinations and on pattern recognition.
The offense added some more plays to the Felix Jones packages, and worked more on rollout passes and work out of two tight end sets.
The team took a break and then resumed work on punt coverage and returns. Later, it had two 11-on-11s where the offense continued its work on blitz recognition and pickups. Jason Garrett sprinkled a few runs into the mix, but worked mostly on passing plays.
-- John Kitna makes an appearance. He's been erratic in the previous sessions, but today, Jon Kitna started to show some confidence in his receivers and in throwing the ball down the field to his primary targets. He completed two deep outs into very small passing windows. Both passes went to Kevin Ogletree, who tiptoed just in bounds each time.
-- Don't be so quick to dismiss Patrick Crayton. Miles Austin has clearly improved, but number 84 is mister steady. He continued to make plays today, the highlight a long bomb from Romo behind backup left corner Courtney Brown.
-- It was a tough day at the office for Brown, who was also burned deep by Miles Austin. Brown makes plays, but there's a significant dropoff at this spot from Terence Newman to him.
-- Romo and the receivers had a hot-and-cold day, with Romo missing on some throws and with Roy Williams and Sam Hurd dropping a couple. Romo does show confidence in his guys the other QBs lack, and that confidence was twice rewarded with huge plays.
Early in the final session, Romo threw a deep seam to Martellus Bennett, who was bracketed inside and out by Brown and Gerald Sensabaugh. Bennett reached high with his right hand and speared Romo's throw. Aquaman left Sensabaugh shaking his head as he raced into the end zone with the ball.
Later, Romo zipped a daisy cutter to his right towards Sam Hurd, who made a sliding 18 yard catch between Brown and Alan Ball.
Brown was the target, but he and his safety mates actually provided solid coverage on these plays. Romo's receivers made the type of plays this offense lacked last year. Cross your fingers and hope for carry over next year...
after you light your good health candle for Mike Jenkins, of course.