Austin On Dallas: Is Mike Jenkins Mentally Ready To Help The Cowboys?

After several months of silence, Mike Jenkins finally spoke to the media this past Monday.  The controversial off-season that changed his role with the Dallas Cowboys was the topic at hand.  First of all, I fully believe for the most part Mike Jenkins is an honest, straight-forward guy.  If asked a question and he feels a response is appropriate at that moment, his response will generally be truthful.  It may be toned down a notch, as he deems the extent of his emotions are inappropriate for the audience, but essentially you can read between the lines.

I’m seemingly in the minority with my general thoughts concerning Jenkins this off-season.  I firmly believe both sides had every right to feel and act in the manner they did.  The Cowboys had a great opportunity to land a special, young corner and avoid huge contract negotiations with Jenkins at season’s end.  Mike Jenkins earned every right to remain a starter in this league and certainly has the ability.

The distance between the team and the player was relatively understandable leading up to camp.  Yet, now is the time to be a professional on both sides, mend fences, and get down to the business of Cowboys football.  A contract year is not a free pass to sulk or loaf.  The player is still legally binded by the contract he agreed to play for.  If he decides his designated role with the team is unfair…tough, you signed the agreement.

On the Cowboys side, it’s now time to get Mike involved in the gameplans and show him on the field how important he remains to the success of the team.  Even before fully healed, Jenkins needs to be involved mentally with the defensive strategy.  And that is no understatement.  The Cowboys need Mike Jenkins this season and Jenkins needs his team to maximize future earnings…plain and simple.  Now you kids squash the ill-will and horse play, and get to work on winning together.

I do find it interesting to analyze what Jenkins recently unveiled about his past and current mindset, and attempt to decode it’s full meaning.  Let’s take a closer look at Monday’s quotes from the cornerback.

  • 1)  Once it was clear two likely new starters were added at his position

It was frustrating at first…  I knew what it was.  They let me know.  They called me.  Actually, they called me after the fact.  Like I said.  It’s a business.  I understand that.  It’s not for me to get mad.  — Mike Jenkins (July 30, 2012)

 

There is definite continued frustration in Mike’s words here but it seems like after time away he has dealt with it as a professional.  He made a point to say he was told after the fact, which sounds like that was one of the most insulting aspects in his eyes.  Mike is a straight-forward guy and felt they should have at least informed him of their new intentions.

To the Cowboys credit, signing Brandon Carr was known well ahead of time by all and I’m sure Jenkins was solidly behind the move.  As for Morris Claiborne, well Mike, that request is unreasonable.

The Cowboys had their eye on Claiborne before draft day, but were unsure if the opportunity would present itself.  It did and they pulled the trigger. However, it’s very rare for management to inform current players about their draft possibilities.  Even if they wanted to, there was no time to alert any player before they leaped up to grab Claiborne.

Although he was clearly frustrated in this quote and some sour grapes still remain, he also affirms he has dealt with it enough to be a professional and do his job to the best of his ability.  Jenkins understands the NFL is a cut and dry business on both sides of the fence, and he acknowledges that fact.

  • 2)  The publicly disclosed trade request and where it originated

I’m not sure (how the trade reports came about).  It never came out of my mouth.

 

Once again, Jenkins is being honest in literal form.  But this time he’s obviously telling a partial truth that concludes it’s inaccuracy.  Yes Jenkins never told the media, the Cowboys, or any NFL team he wanted a trade.  Did he discuss it with his agent?  Absolutely.  If Drew Rosenhaus didn’t suggest the trade as a priority and Jenkins didn’t agree, both of them were not doing their job protecting the best interests of Mike Jenkins.

There’s no chance he didn’t discuss this in private and agree it was a strong option to pursue before Rosenhaus went to work.  It may not have originated from Jenkins mouth even when he spoke with Drew, but I’m sure he agreed it was the best option and gave approval.  If you had a chance to remain a starting corner on several teams in the NFL or play 4th fiddle in Dallas, wouldn’t you attempt to land elsewhere in a trade?

  • 3)  Will he be ready to play for the Sept.5 opener against the Giants

When I get back (from the doctor visit scheduled for later this week), I will have a better answer for you.

 

This one is pretty cut and dry.  Even Jenkins doesn’t fully know where his recovery stands at the moment.  Furthermore, I’m sold he will not touch the field until declared 100% recovered from surgery.  Until there is no extra risk of injury beyond the norm of his occupation, Jenkins will sit.

In the past, Mike has rushed recovery several times to help the team when he was sorely needed.  Now that mindset is out.  While I think he will expend maximum effort when on the field, I also understand he won’t endanger his future.  Not saying a sore thumb will keep him out, but any injury threatening his future even in the short-term will not be pushed.

  • 4)  Thoughts and intentions regarding the upcoming 2012 season

Wherever I end up , I’m just ready to play and help that team out… I don’t know.   If it’s here, then yeah.  If it’s anywhere else, I’ll go with it there.

 

Again we hear a little defiance and remaining frustration from his perception of Dallas revoking his starting role.  You can almost tell word for word exactly how he is feeling and his future intentions.  Some of this can be attributed to the fact that it’s not set in stone if Dallas intends to keep him or make a trade before the season.  He claims he will give everything he’s got to whatever team he ends up with, to help maximize his current team and his position heading into contract negotiations.  And I believe he will do that.

Jenkins is more of a stand-up guy than most perceived him during this ordeal.  Once taking the field in camp, he will quickly resume the bond and responsibility with his current teammates and fulfill his new role on the defense.  Jenkins does realize the best thing for his future is to play hard and maximize his dollars in the upcoming contract negotiations.

To me this situation has been overblown by the media and contains many negative assumptions that will soon disappear.  It’s easy to understand his pride was hurt and the pain lingers to an extent.  Yet Dallas, and especially Rob Ryan, fully understands he still plays a critical role in this secondary.  With the defensive coaches and teammates interacting with him during actual football activities, the competitor and good teammate in Jenkins will emerge.

Upon catching his stride in camp and football entering his blood, Jenkins will play his role, and play it well.  It’s time for everyone to forgive and forget, and welcome back Mike Jenkins.  Mike Jenkins will play a critical role in the success of the 2012 Dallas Cowboys.  For those who support this organization we must embrace him as family once again, and all unify under one silver star.

 

 

Topics: Brandon Carr, Contract, Dallas Cowboys, Mike Jenkins, Morris Claiborne, Rob Ryan Defense

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  • californy

    I believe the Scandrick extention pretty much seal Jenkins fate with The boys. That was an insult to Michael when his back up get paid 4 time the amount what he makes. The boys signing Carr and Claiborne was a business decison. Then you factor in that Jenkins is not allow to compete for a staring CB job here in Dallas, pretty much tell you he has no future here in Dallas. Then he was being shop around during the draft. Despite all of this Michael been a good sport about the whole thing. Michael is a better person than I am in handling this. I go on the record I am not a Jenkins fan. I already mention I would trade him for Aqib talib or Tommie Campbell CB Titans.
    Now with Claiborne struggling Jenkins become a more important person here in Dallas. Jenkins would be a fool to resigned with the boys. I dont see how he could forget what has happen to him in Dallas. i do wish him well where ever he end up going to. In all of this Scandrick has become a far worst player in my eyes. He refuse to move into the safety spot to help the boys. This alone would make me want to cut him or trade him first before any other player here in Dallas. Scandrick behavior show he is no team player at all here in Dallas despite being rewarded with a big contract.

    • BradAustin

      Excellent comment as usual, Californy. I’ve always appreciated Mike Jenkins mainly because of his hunger and devotion to the success of the team. He’s had impressive will to fight through any injury he could stand in order to help the leaky secondary. There are several times last year he should have taken a seat with his body falling apart. However, Mike knew even at 60% the defense had a better shot of holding down the passing game than with Alan Ball taking over. Those decisions certainly weren’t in the best interest of his future career, but getting the win always took first priority.

      While he certainly isn’t a lockdown corner, he has earned the right and has the skills to easily warrant a starting job in this league somewhere.

      Just as you said, Jenkins has taken this ordeal much better than most have. All it takes is to put oneself in a similar undermining situation with his/her employer and realize most of us wouldn’t have reacted with nearly as much composure or at the very least kept silent about our frustration. It was a perfect storm of bad circumstances for him this off-season. Injured, replaced, and then dangled as bait to other suitors. And all that took place without subpar performance of his own to instigate it.

      Dallas absolutely made the right choices with Carr and Claiborne. But it’s not hard to empathize with Jenkins intense frustration as he sees two other secondary starters from last year retaining their roles…both guys he is undoubtedly superior to in talent and past production.

      Not to mention the roller coaster aspect. Dallas made other quality additions in free agency along with Carr, and I’m sure he was pumped thinking they could form one of the best CB tandems in the league. It probably was very energizing for him to see his team’s commitment to a much stronger defense. And a few months later Claiborne was shockingly snagged and his boss was immediately and publicly talking about how Mike will make an excellent 4th corner. Starter to 4th in line in the blink of an eye. Mighty big blow to a former Pro Bowler in the prime years of his career.

      I also agree completely with your view on Scandrick. To me he’s just above average. He does play the slot well at times, yet gets abused now and then. To his credit the slot can be an unforgiving beast without top tier coverage skills. Without the specialty at slot and some success with it, there’s no chance he would have been extended for that high of a contract and long of a deal. On the current roster there are three very talented CB’s and then Scandrick is a decent gap back. But Orlando is kinda like a center who is also a good long-snapper. The specialty aspect of the role he plays keeps him alive.

      I will say I’d much rather be in the position we are in hoping Claiborne will pan this year, than trying to find a rookie who can cover the slot. Especially with Jenkins as insurance behind Morris. The slot corner is one position in the NFL that improves drastically with vast experience. It can consistently embarrass even the most talented rookies who have not been exposed to the shocking and sudden quickness of many NFL slot receivers. Any false step by the slot corner will cost dearly as the area he has to protect is immense and the players across the line excel in quick and nimble movements. I’d choose Claiborne vs. Calvin Johnson on the outside, before I’d want Claiborne vs. Wes Welker in the slot. At least Morris would have the sideline and over the top help vs. C.J.

      Again, thanks for the comments, your knowledgeable insight and viewpoints are always appreciated.

      • ctcowboy1968

        Brad, I agree with your article. But don’t compare Jenkins to Sens. Sens is a STRONG safety. He covers, intercepts balls and HITS people. Jenkins covers very well and intercepts. We all know he is unwilling to hit. Jenkins will never have strong associated with his name.
        As for Scandrick, he plays the toughest coverage position on the field. He is always a step or two behind. He is a very good blitzer and can tackle. Jenkins is a far better cover man.
        Imagine this, Srandrick is under contract and can be traded for a known price and duration. Many teams may appreciate that going into a trade. Jenkins is a wide open negogiation.

  • Ben Fitzgerald

    I disagree that he’ll play a critical role. 4th corner isn’t a critical role

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