Dallas Cowboys: Plaxico Burress

Random thoughts: Coming back to Dallas

August, 22, 2012
SAN DIEGO -- As we pack our bags for the trip back to Dallas, we've got some random thoughts on what we've seen during Cowboys training camp in California.

Most impressive player (s): Dez Bryant and Brandon Carr have been equally fantastic. Carr has shut down receivers with his press coverage and playmaking skills. Despite his quiet demeanor, he's also provided a strong leadership quality. Bryant is well, Bryant. He makes leaping catches, catches in traffic and it seems the only man who can stop him is Carr.

Most disappointing player: Wide receiver Raymond Radway made the 53-man roster last year, but a fractured leg in the final preseason game cost him the season. Now healthy, Radway has shown flashes of that blazing speed. At other times, however, bad routes, drops and missed assignments have hurt him. He's been surpassed by Cole Beasley and Dwayne Harris for the fifth and sixth receiver spots.

Five players to keep: Center David Arkin, linebacker Orie Lemon, guard Ronald Leary, defensive tackle Ben Bass and cornerback Mario Butler.

Five players to cut: Quarterback Stephen McGee, cornerback Teddy Williams, cornerback Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, defensive lineman Robert Callaway and guard Daniel Loper.

So did the Cowboys talk to Plax? Of course they did. Jerry Jones said he didn't speak with free agent wide receiver Plaxico Burress or his agent, and we believe him. But someone did, and the Cowboys quickly defused the situation, which is the right thing to do. The Cowboys don't need Burress. The Cowboys don't need a veteran receiver. What the Cowboys need is for their young receivers to improve, which is what's happened under receivers coach Jimmy Robinson.

Best draft pick: Morris Claiborne is an easy selection, but I would say tight end James Hanna has been the most impressive. He can catch, run good routes and -- despite a few drops -- is more than serviceable. If Jason Witten can't play in the regular-season opener, Hanna has done enough to prove he's ready for the big stage. Now Hanna, the No. 2 tight end of the moment, needs to improve on his blocking. That will happen.

The biggest surprise from a player: RB/FB Jamize Olawale and DE Tyrone Crawford. Olawale needs to lower his body when he runs, but he displays good speed when he hits the holes. He's a good blocker, too. Is he good enough to make the 53? No, but the Cowboys should attempt to bring him back to the practice squad. Crawford moved up the ranks and got second-team reps in practice and games. He's been the second-most impressive draft pick in camp. There was a question about his ability to play against the run. He's better than expected with his power and ability to shed blockers.

One player who needs to step up: Felix Jones isn't going anywhere, nor should he. The running back, however, has gotten off to a slow start in training camp. In Saturday's preseason game against St. Louis, if Jones gets eight touches, we would like to see a burst through the hole and some movement in space. We haven't seen that enough in training camp and the first two preseason games.

W2W4: More snaps for Jay Ratliff

August, 10, 2012
OXNARD, Calif. -- The Cowboys will have their tenth practice of training camp Friday.

Jay Ratliff to practice more: The starting nose tackle has gotten work in walkthroughs but not full practices until Thursday afternoon. He got a handful of snaps with the first team before talking to the trainers about his balky foot. Team owner/general manager Jerry Jones said Ratliff got a handful of snaps as a precaution but might get more Friday. Ratliff won't play at Oakland. If his foot feels better, he might go against San Diego in the second preseason game.

Interior line play getting better: Guard Mackenzy Bernadeau looked pretty good in his full practice debut Thursday. There is a question about using him at Oakland on Monday night. It's doubtful the Cowboys plan on using him, but it was good to see him attack defensive players. The test is how he performs today, in his first back-to-back practices.

Who returns kicks?: The Cowboys have used multiple players on kick and punt returns, including Dez Bryant, Dwayne Harris and Felix Jones among others. Last year's kicking game was weak, as evident by its 23.3 kick return average and 7.1 punt return average. The Cowboys need to find playmakers and it's a strong indication they want to use some of their more elusive players in Bryant and Jones.

The schedule for Friday: Jason Garrett speaks with reporters at 2 p.m. CT and practice starts at 4:30 p.m. CT. The Cowboys will practice Friday and Saturday and then have a walkthrough Sunday before traveling to Oakland for the first preseason game. If you attend practice, expect some preparations for the Raiders game to take place.

What to read today:

Here's the latest on the Cowboys and Plaxico Burress.

* Tim MacMahon talked about Derrick Dockery possibly earning a starting job at guard.

* Todd Archer's camp observations.

Jerry Jones happy with backup WRs

August, 9, 2012

OXNARD, Calif. -- Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said he's pleased with the club's backup wide receivers, even though executive vice president Stephen Jones told a radio station the team wouldn't rule out adding free agent Plaxico Burress.

The Cowboys have young, inexperienced receivers contending for the No. 3 position and are considering adding a veteran if no one emerges.

"We haven't even discussed that internally at all," Jerry Jones said regarding Burress. "It's not been discussed at any level in our organization one way or the other."

Jones said he hasn't spoken to Burress' agent, Drew Rosenhaus. Earlier Thursday, a source said the Cowboys were involved in preliminary discussions with the agent.

Read the full story here.

Camp observations: Good day for young WRs

August, 9, 2012

OXNARD, Calif. -- Maybe news of possible interest in Plaxico Burress was a good thing for the Dallas Cowboys’ young untested receivers because Thursday’s practice was a good one for the hopefuls.

On to Practice 9 observations with a heavy look at the passing game.

** Tony Romo was sharp after the quarterbacks got a chance to rest their arms Tuesday and Wednesday. Romo completed 14-of-21 passes with his best coming on a corner route to TE Jason Witten in 7-on-7 after LB Sean Lee tripped. Unofficially, Romo has completed 152-of-233 passes in team and 7-on-7 drills in camp.

** WR Cole Beasley got his first taste of action with the first unit in the slot and the undrafted kid just made plays. He had a false start as well, but he caught a touchdown pass from Romo, working the slot near the goal line on CB Orlando Scandrick.

** TE James Hanna had his best day in the passing game, catching five passes, including a 7-on-7 touchdown from QB Kyle Orton. Working the middle of the field, he was able to get a step on LB Orie Lemon to give Orton a window for a throw. The best part of the catch was how Hanna quickly brought the ball to his body so Lemon could not poke the ball free.

** Orton is making throws that you have not seen by a Cowboys backup quarterback since Romo held that job. In the two-minute drill, he stared own the pass rush and perfectly floated a flag route to WR Andre Holmes for a catch near the sideline. The reception led to a game-tying field goal by Dan Bailey as time expired. Orton is 96-of-143 in team and 7-on-7 drills.

** At 6-4, Holmes does not always use his body to his advantage. He did on a fade throw from QB Stephen McGee on the final play of team drills. Holmes was able to out-leap CB C.J. Wilson, pull the ball in and hold on as he fell to the ground. Earlier in camp, he allowed Scandrick to rip the ball out.

** WR Tim Benford has a nice feel for the game, working back to the quarterback when necessary. He did just that coming across the field in Orton’s two-minute drill two snaps before Holmes’ deep catch. The coaches like what the undrafted WR from Tennessee Tech has done.

** LBs Lemon and Adrian Hamilton struggled in coverage in some out and up routes by FBs Shaun Chapas and Jamize Olawale. They were unable to close the gap at the beginning and took bad angles in recovery.

** Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Bailey was perfect on seven kicks. He has missed one kick all camp. He calmly drilled a 40-yarder in a “mayday” situation.

** DL Sean Lissemore can run. Really run. He was able to stay with RB Felix Jones in coverage to the flat while dropping out of a 3-point stance. And Jones isn’t slow.

** Scandrick struggled early in practice, giving up a go route to WR Dez Bryant and he slipped in underneath coverage on WR Dwayne Harris. A few plays later, he was called for pass interference on Beasley. The call might have been a little questionable, but one that is made a lot in the NFL.

Source: Cowboys, Plaxico Burress talk

August, 9, 2012
OXNARD, Calif. -- The Dallas Cowboys have held preliminary discussions with Drew Rosenhaus, the agent for Plaxico Burress, about signing the free-agent wide receiver, according to a source.

The Cowboys have young and inexperienced receivers fighting for the No. 3 position on the team, and are thinking of adding a veteran if no one emerges.

On Thursday afternoon, team executive vice president Stephen Jones told KTBB-FM in Tyler, Texas, that the team "wouldn't totally rule out Plaxico at some point."

Last season the Cowboys signed veteran Laurent Robinson as their No. 3 receiver, and he led the team with 11 touchdowns. In the offseason, Robinson signed a five-year, $32.5 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

With starter Miles Austin (hamstring) out, Kevin Ogletree moved up the Cowboys' depth chart and is getting first-team snaps with Dez Bryant.

Read the full story here.

Cowboys not after veteran WRs

August, 4, 2012
OXNARD, Calif. – As visions of Plaxico Burress, Terrell Owens or even Patrick Crayton dance in the minds of Cowboys fans aching for a veteran wide receiver, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said no.

The Cowboys will search for wide receivers with injuries (Miles Austin, Saalim Hakim) and defections (Cole Beasley), but not any name receivers.

“It’s not like the offense line,” Jones said, referring to the additions of veterans Derrick Dockery and Daniel Loper. “We’re looking more for guys to come in maybe compete and get on the practice squad or something. But we’re not looking at veteran guys at this point.”

The search is made a little more difficult by the fact that teams are allowed 90 players at training camp after being limited to 80 in recent years.

“It’s hard to find guys, especially guys who you want and who are in shape and can be productive,” Jones said. “It’s not easy.”
OXNARD, Calif. -- Every Wednesday we’ll be bringing you Five Wonders, with today being the official training camp debut of the award-winning fixture. And by award-winning I mean the gold star my children put on my computer a long time ago.

With no further ado, here we go:

* Jason Garrett likes to say his receivers need to run, run and then run some more. As a group they have to be in the best physical condition of any players on a team. But I wonder if the Cowboys should monitor how much work they give Miles Austin. He missed six games last year because of hamstring injuries to both legs, and the offense missed him. Given Dez Bryant’s issues, the Cowboys need Austin more than ever, so it might be wise to limit Austin some. It’s a balance Garrett has to find of getting players ready for a season while not taxing them so much that they become susceptible to injury. And while I wonder about this, I don’t believe the Cowboys are wondering about it at all.

* I wonder if this is the year defensive end Clifton Geathers gets into the mix. He has been with the Cowboys for parts of the last two seasons, playing in five games last season and garnering five tackles. At 6-foot-7, 325 pounds, he is definitely a candidate for the All-Airport team. He just looks like a player. And he’s also cheaper than Kenyon Coleman and Marcus Spears. Coleman has a $1.9 million salary. Spears is set to make $2 million. Geathers is set to make $540,000. You can’t discount the financials in these decisions. The Cowboys jettisoned their veteran offensive linemen last year and they chose not to sign Mat McBriar over $300,000. The Cowboys are getting younger and cheaper, and if Geathers can show he can handle more of a role he could slide two veterans out of the mix.

* Last year the Cowboys hit on several veteran free agent finds during the season, from Laurent Robinson to Tony Fiammetta to Montrae Holland to Sammy Morris. I don’t have to wonder too much if they have confidence in the pro scouting department to find help again in 2012. For all of the fans wanting the Cowboys to sign a veteran wide receiver like Plaxico Burress or at least Patrick Crayton, I’d say the team is being patient when it comes to the receiver group. And remember the money. Robinson signed for the minimum salary benefit last year before blowing up as the No. 3 receiver. The Cowboys didn’t look for a veteran last year at wide receiver, and their decisions to look into Josh Gordon and Dezmon Briscoe seems to indicate they will do the same this year.

* I wonder why there is not more concern over the foot injury of nose tackle Jay Ratliff. He was not able to take part in any on-field football work during the offseason because of plantar fasciitis and he can only go through the walkthrough practices early in camp. The Cowboys don’t want Ratliff to aggravate the injury in camp, but this is something that has been problematic for at least three months. While a difficult nose tackle to block because of how active he is, he needs his feet to help with leverage. Without leverage Ratliff is just another guy. And let’s not forget that his sack total has decreased in each of the last four seasons from 7.5 to six to 3.5 to two.

* I wonder if Saalim Hakim can get into this wide receiver mix. I cannot believe I typed that after the performance Hakim put forward in the rookie minicamp after the draft, because as a receiver he showed a remarkable ability to not catch the ball. But now Hakim, who is the younger brother of Az-Zahir Hakim, the former St. Louis wideout from the Rams’ Greatest Show on Turf days, is in much better shape and is catching the football. Hakim made his way on to the Cowboys’ radar with his work on special teams for Jim Fassel in the UFL. Hakim’s speed should make him a factor on special teams here, but he had an eye-popping run after catch on Monday that had one defender groan, "That (expletive) is fast." It was almost as if Hakim glided above the ground as he sped down the sideline.

NFC East: Free-agency primer

March, 9, 2012
» AFC Free-Agency Primer: East | West | North | South » NFC: East | West | North | South

Free agency begins Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET

Dallas Cowboys

Key free agents: WR Laurent Robinson, S Abram Elam, LB Keith Brooking, LB Anthony Spencer (franchise)

Where they stand: Dallas needs serious help in the secondary and will have to decide whether it wants Elam back at safety while it pursues at least one cornerback. The Cowboys are expected to release Terence Newman, and they could look to add depth at that position and a new starter. Franchising Spencer indicates that while they would like to improve their pass rush, they won't be players in the Mario Williams market. Expect their free-agent focus to be on defensive backs and possibly some upgrades on the interior of the offensive line. They would like Robinson back as their No. 3 receiver, but if he's going to get No. 2 receiver-type offers, they'll likely let him walk.

What to expect: The top two cornerback targets are likely Kansas City's Brandon Carr and Tennessee's Cortland Finnegan. You can't rule out Dallas making a play for Saints guard Carl Nicks, who'd be a huge help to their offensive line. But someone like Baltimore's Ben Grubbs is likely to be more attainable financially. What the Cowboys really need on the line is a center, but it's not a great market for those unless they can get their hands on Houston's Chris Myers. The Cowboys likely will hunt for some second-tier safeties and inside linebackers to add depth, then target defensive back again early in the draft.

New York Giants

Key free agents: WR Mario Manningham, OT Kareem McKenzie, CB Aaron Ross, CB Terrell Thomas, LB Jonathan Goff, P Steve Weatherford (franchise).

Where they stand: The Super Bowl champs must get their own cap situation in order first, as they project to be about $7.25 million over the projected cap. That may mean tough cuts of people like Brandon Jacobs or David Diehl, or it may just mean some contract restructuring (like the big one they apparently just did with Eli Manning). Regardless, don't expect the Giants to spend big to keep Manningham or Ross. They're likely to bring back Thomas on a team-favorable deal as a result of the knee injury that cost him the entire 2011 season, and they'll probably let McKenzie walk and try to replace him internally (which favors Diehl's chances of sticking around).

What to expect: Just like last year, don't expect the Giants to be big-game hunters. They like to grow their own replacements. If Manningham leaves, they won't go after the top wide receivers but might try to find a bargain or two to supplement the young players from whom they're expecting more production next season. They could find a midlevel safety if they don't bring back Deon Grant, and if Jacobs leaves they'll probably bring in a veteran running back or two to compete in training camp with their youngsters. They liked Ronnie Brown last year as a possible Ahmad Bradshaw replacement when Bradshaw was a pending free agent, so there's a name to watch for if you want one.

Philadelphia Eagles

Key free agents: G Evan Mathis, DT Trevor Laws, DT Antonio Dixon (restricted), WR DeSean Jackson (franchise), QB Vince Young

Where they stand: Other than Mathis, whom they're working to try and re-sign before he his the market, the Eagles don't have many internal free-agent issues to worry about. They franchised Jackson because they're not ready to give him a long-term deal just yet. He's a candidate for a trade, but it would have to be a very nice offer. If they traded him, they'd hunt for a wide receiver, but they may do so anyway -- just at a lower level (think Plaxico Burress). The interior of the defensive line is in fairly good hands with Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson as starters, but they could stand to add depth to that rotation. And while they signed Trent Edwards a couple of weeks ago, they'll keep looking for a better veteran backup quarterback option with Young sure to be gone.

What to expect: Do not -- I repeat, do not -- expect the Eagles to be the same kind of player they were in free agency a year ago. Andy Reid made it very clear several times during the 2011 offseason and season that last year was unique, and the Eagles don't like to do business that way in general. They do need linebackers, and they have the cap room to play on guys like Stephen Tulloch or Curtis Lofton or even, if they wanted to get really nutty, London Fletcher. But while you can expect them to add a veteran or two at the position, don't be surprised if they sit out the higher-priced auctions this time around.

Washington Redskins

Key free agents: S LaRon Landry, LB London Fletcher, DE Adam Carriker, TE Fred Davis (franchise), QB Rex Grossman

Where they stand: Mike Shanahan said in December that Fletcher was a priority, but he remains unsigned with less than a week to go before free agency. Presumably, they'd still like to lock him up before he hits the market. If they can't, they'll have to replace a major on-field and off-field presence. Carriker is likely to be back, but the Fletcher situation has to be settled first. Landry likely is gone unless he wants to take a low-base, high-incentive deal to stay. The Redskins are sick of not knowing whether he'll be able to take the field from week to week. Grossman could return, but only as a backup to whatever quarterback upgrade they find.

What to expect: The Redskins could have more than $40 million in cap room with which to maneuver in free agency, and they're going to need it. They need a quarterback, of course, and if they can't make the trade with the Rams to move up to No. 2 in the draft and pick Robert Griffin III, they'll look at Peyton Manning and Kyle Orton and possibly Matt Flynn, though he doesn't appear to be high on their list. What Shanahan really wants is a true playmaking No. 1 wide receiver, which is why the Redskins have their eyes on Vincent Jackson and Marques Colston, who are at the very top end of that market. They'll be able to outbid almost anyone for those guys if they want to, but they may have to get quarterback figured out first if they want to persuade one of them to take their offer over similar ones. They'll also hunt for help on the offensive line and in the secondary, as they need depth in both places.

Final Word: NFC East

October, 28, 2011
» NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 8:

Trouble getting started: According to the ESPN Stats & Information Group, a big part of the New York Giants' problems running the ball this year have had to do with what happens before their running backs ever get hit. SIG's "next level" stats show that the Giants, who are averaging 3.3 yards per carry this season after averaging 4.6 yards per carry over the previous three seasons, are only gaining 1.6 yards per rush before initial contact. The league average of yards per carry before contact is 2.4, and only the Cleveland Browns (1.3) have a lower number in this category than the Giants do in 2011. Makes you think that maybe Ahmad Bradshaw's complaints about the offensive line weren't far off.

When is home not really home?: The Buffalo Bills have a 3-0 record at home this season, but this week's game against the Washington Redskins is in Toronto. It's the fourth year in a row the Bills have played a home game in Toronto, and they're 0-3 in the games so far. This is good news for the Redskins, who have lost five straight to the Bills since beating them in Super Bowl XXVI and who haven't won in Buffalo since 1987.

[+] EnlargeLeSean McCoy
Dale Zanine/US PresswireEagles running back LeSean McCoy is off to a hot start, but faces a Dallas defense ranked No. 1 against the run.
Irresistible force, immovable object: The Philadelphia Eagles rank first in the NFL with 170 rush yards per game, which SIG says would be their highest total for a season since 1950. Star running back LeSean McCoy ranks seventh in the league with 569 rush yards, and quarterback Michael Vick ranks 21st with 372. However, the Dallas Cowboys rank first in the NFL at stopping the run. Dallas allows just 69.7 yards per game on the ground and just 3.3 yards per carry. So it will be interesting to see which side wins out -- and especially interesting to see whether the Eagles stay committed to the run if they're not having success with it early.

Keep it safe, Tony: Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo did not throw an interception last week against the Rams, breaking a streak of three straight games in which he'd thrown at least one. Since Romo became the Cowboys' starting quarterback, the team is 17-6 in games in which he does not throw an interception, and 25-19 when he throws at least one. The Eagles have intercepted seven passes in their first six games, but four of those seven came in their most recent game, two weeks ago against Rex Grossman and the Redskins.

Touchdown Shady: McCoy has scored a touchdown in each of the Eagles' first six games this season. He's the first Eagle ever to do that and the first player on any NFL team to do it since 2007, when both Plaxico Burress and T.J. Houshmandzadeh did it, according to ESPN Stats & Info. The only other running backs in the past 15 years to score touchdowns in each of their team's first six games of a season were LaDanian Tomlinson of the Chargers in 2005, Emmitt Smith of the Cowboys in 1999 and Robert Edwards of the Patriots in 1998. Smith did them all one better, scoring in each of the Cowboys' first seven games that season.

Nicked up Mike Jenkins wants action

September, 17, 2011
IRVING, Texas -- He's recovered from a stinger, is still recovering from a hyperextended knee and now has a bruised shoulder. What more can go wrong for Cowboys starting cornerback Mike Jenkins?

He's as nicked up as anybody on the Cowboys roster right now, and he will start Sunday afternoon at the San Francisco 49ers.

But Jenkins has been nicked up before.

"I played running back in high school," said Jenkins, who attended high school in Bradenton, Fla. "But I was taking a lot of nicks. I got God on my side. I've been nicked up before, it's a small thing [and] once I get over this it will be over and I'll be back to football 100 percent."

When an opponent knows a player is dealing with health issues, it will attack. In the season opener when Jenkins returned in the fourth quarter after going out with a shoulder injury, the first pass play was toward Jenkins, who tackled Plaxico Burress. Jenkins saw quarterback Mark Sanchez do a check-down call and directed the first pass his way.

"I knew what time it was," Jenkins said.

Regardless of whether he's coming back from an injury, Jenkins said he's not afraid of the action. He wants quarterbacks to challenge him.

"I hope that's what they're saying," Jenkins said. "It gives me the opportunity to make plays. Last week, they came after me a few times and I made the best of it. That's what you want. I don't like being in a game and not get any action. That's kind of boring. You just got to capitalize on every situation."

Payback on Plaxico sweet for Mike Jenkins

September, 16, 2011
IRVING, Texas – As much pain as he was in, cornerback Mike Jenkins enjoyed getting payback on Plaxico Burress.

Jenkins missed the preseason with a stinger – an injury he aggravated on his first tackle of the season – and entered the season opener with a sore knee after hyperextending it last Wednesday. His personal injury list added another body part when he bruised his shoulder, courtesy of a vicious, never-saw-it-coming downfield block by Burress.

That block sent Jenkins to the locker room for several minutes during the second half Sunday night. The Jets tried picking on Jenkins immediately after he returned to the game, throwing a quick pass to Burress in the flat. Jenkins, who has been ripped in the past for shying away from contact, responded with a textbook tackle/body slam.

“I heard a lot of riff-raffing when he hit me,” Jenkins said. “He was selling out. That’s pretty much when I came back I had to hit him to let him know I was back out there.”

That 2-yard gain was the only catch allowed by Jenkins, who was twice tested deep, in the loss to the Jets. It was also the highlight of an impressive performance that Jason Garrett called “inspirational” because Jenkins battled through pain.

“I’m just taking it one injury at a time,” Jenkins said, half-joking with the new twist on the old cliché.

Jenkins knows he’ll have to play in pain for several weeks, especially with Orlando Scandrick sidelined indefinitely with a high ankle sprain and Terence Newman out at least one more week with a strained groin.

“At least one of us needs to be on the field,” Jenkins said, noting that it’s a good thing the Cowboys’ bye week comes early.

When Jenkins was on the field in the opener, he made his presence felt. He looked a lot more like the guy who played in the 2009 Pro Bowl than the cornerback who struggled all last season.

But Jenkins also showed something new. He’d never been known for toughness, but he battled pain and Plax in the season opener and more than held his own.

Jason Garrett praises Mike Jenkins' toughness

September, 14, 2011
IRVING, Texas -- Mike Jenkins missed most of training camp with a stinger. Then a week ago he suffered a hyperextended knee in practice. In Sunday’s game he aggravated that stinger with a tackle of Shonn Greene in the first half and left the game in the fourth quarter following a blind-side block from Plaxico Burress sprained his left shoulder.

But Jenkins returned. Much has been said about Jenkins whiffing on tackles against the New York Giants as a rookie and Green Bay last year, but coach Jason Garrett thought Jenkins’ show of toughness was impressive.

“If you’re a coach or player on a football team and a guy’s doing that, just putting it on the line, fighting through some things, that’s inspirational,” Garrett said. “It’s really a positive thing for your football team and again we wouldn’t have put him out there if we felt we were endangering or injuring himself any further. It’s a guy being a tough football player and I think we have a lot of guys on the team who have those capabilities and they’re growing in their maturity and understanding of the importance of doing those kinds of things and Jenks is no exception to that.”

Jenkins was credited by the coaches with three tackles and two pass deflections. Burress caught only one pass on him – a 2-yard hitch after Jenkins returned from the shoulder injury.

Opposing voice: Plaxico Burress

September, 10, 2011
IRVING, Texas -- Plaxico Burress will be playing in his first game since Nov. 23, 2008 when he lines up against the Cowboys on Sunday.

Burress spent two years in prison on gun charges and chose to make his return to the NFL with the other team that calls the Meadowlands home, the New York Jets. Perhaps it helps that Burress will see a familiar team in the Cowboys.

In nine games against the Cowboys (eight with the Giants, one with Pittsburgh), Burress recorded 36 catches for 494 yards and six touchdowns. The last time he faced the Cowboys in a season opener he had eight catches for 144 yards and three touchdowns on Sept. 9, 2007.

“I mentioned to LaDainian [Tomlinson] that the atmosphere for this game I really believe it’ll be just as close to a Super Bowl as you can get,” Burress said. “Sunday night football, it’s the first Sunday night game of the year, then it’s against America’s Team and 9/11 and all those things. It’s going to be a great atmosphere. It’s just going to be a fun game to play in.”

Burress, who is still bothered by an ankle injury, is ready for his return to the NFL.

“I don’t think a lot of people really look at the fact I’m going against a guy named Darrelle Revis every day,” Burress said. “I’m just getting my game back to where it needs to be. I couldn’t find a better place for me to come in and contribute and hopefully have an impact with Mark [Sanchez], Santonio [Holmes], Shonn Greene and LT and for me to be able to play against the best cornerback tandem every day, it’s helped me get back to where I need to be.

“I’m not worried as far as the game. I’m just concentrating on my fundamentals, catching the ball, looking it in, be where I’m supposed to be and try to gather the concept of the offense. Football is going to be football. I expect to be sore but when we buckle the helmet and kick the ball off those last two years, it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. I’m going to be excited.”

Five-star answer: Jets won't hit mark in win

September, 9, 2011
This week's question: Can Dallas hold the Jets under their 2010 rushing average per game?

Yes, they can but I don’t think it means they win Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium.

Given the shakiness of the secondary, even if Mike Jenkins is able to play, I think Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez will be able to throw the ball more than the offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has shown in the past.

With Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason, as well as tight end Dustin Keller, Sanchez has veteran, dependable wide receivers that will make him look better even with some inaccurate throws.

I say this knowing the Cowboys run defense wasn’t good in the preseason, but LaDainian Tomlinson didn’t exactly light it up either.

The Cowboys allowed 492 yards on 112 carries and four rushing touchdowns. Sometimes stats can be skewed in the preseason because of how much the backups play. Well, the first-team run defense took a hit on the first series of the first preseason game vs. Denver. In the dress rehearsal that is the third game, Adrian Peterson went nuts.

There is no shame in seeing Peterson put up yards but you can’t expect the Cowboys to just flip a switch when the games count. The Cowboys allowed five 100-yard rushers last year and a 90-yard rusher.

I don’t think the Jets will have a 100-yard rusher Sunday night, but it won’t be because of the run defense.

Plaxico Burress not concerned about corners

September, 7, 2011
IRVING, Texas -- To Plaxico Burress it doesn’t matter if the Cowboys are using Orlando Scandrick or Alan Ball, Terence Newman or Mike Jenkins or Deion Sanders and Everson Walls as their cornerbacks in Sunday’s season opener.

Newman was all but ruled out by owner and general manager Jerry Jones on Wednesday with a groin injury and Jenkins left practice early Wednesday with a knee injury.

Burress, who will play in his first game in two years after being sent to prison, said he is not as familiar with Scandrick and Ball as he is Newman and Jenkins. He played against those two when he was with the New Giants in 2008.

“Our mindset hasn’t changed,” Burress said on a conference call. “Our mindset is to be effective, execute in the passing game and be where we’re supposed to be and make big plays. It really doesn’t matter who’s out there. Our mindset doesn’t change. We’re just going to try and be as flawless as we possibly can in the passing game.”