Mike Jenkins goes back to basics
December, 21, 2011
By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com
IRVING, Texas -- The cornerback position has been fluid this season for the Cowboys. The three primary corners, Mike Jenkins, Terence Newman and Orlando Scandrick, have battled injuries in 2011.
Jenkins has endured the most, from a stinger, hamstring and shoulder injuries. Yet he might be playing the best given his efforts from a year ago.
He's got just one interception and eight pass breakups. Opposing quarterbacks are still targeting Jenkins but he's more aggressive in his man coverage and is consistently around the ball.
One thing Jenkins has done in comparision to last season is going back to the basics with his technique.
"Footwork," Jenkins. "Pretty much footwork. Be more aggressive. I’m actually more aggressive this year than I was last year. I think that was kind of big on me last year. Once you come in new to a system, just starting in the system in the year I went to the Pro Bowl, a lot of guys didn’t know what to expect from me because I was a new guy then. Good coaching and making adjustments -- they know I like to sit on routes -- I kind took advantage of it."
In his Pro Bowl season, 2009, Jenkins led the Cowboys with five interceptions and 23 pass breakups. He finished that season strong with seven pass breakups the last four weeks of the season.
But last year, Jenkins took a step back. He did lead the team with 15 pass breakups but had just one interception, coming in Week 3 at Houston.
"You can’t hold onto anything" Jenkins said of 2010. "If I had a great season last year I would have let that go, too. It’s like going into the season last year. I had a great season and I was still on that. I was on my high horse. I learned my lesson the good way. I take it a good way. Once you have a good game you just let it go. If you lose a game, you got to let it go. If you win a game you got to let it go and go on to the next week. "
In an interesting decision, Jenkins said he changed his technique on his own and now realizes it was a mistake. He didn't play with an aggression last year, as evident by so few passbreaks toward the end of the season. He went five games without one and just three the last four weeks of the season.
"That was my decision," Jenkins said. "Like I said, the coaches really don’t have any input. They gave us leeway this year and we’ve pretty much played how we wanted to play. Just freestyling out there. Going back to the basics. You’ve just got to back to what work and obviously the basics worked for me."