What's next for Mike Jenkins?

August, 30, 2012
8/30/12
11:17
AM ET
Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins, who had offseason shoulder surgery, was cleared to practice by Dr. James Andrews and team doctors this week.

Jenkins couldn't get to Pensacola, Fla., to visit Andrews because of Hurricane Isaac, but team officials sent medical information for Andrews to review.

With Jenkins getting taken off the physically unable to perform list on Wednesday night, it means the Cowboys' cornerbacks right now are Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Orlando Scandrick and Jenkins.

Where and when Jenkins plays is a question.

It's doubtful Jenkins will be ready to play in Wednesday's season opener after missing all training camp practices and preseason games. He's eligible to practice Saturday, and the team will have three practices before the game against the Giants.

Is that enough for the Cowboys to send Jenkins onto the field in Week 1?

If anything, Jenkins could be ready for Week 2 at Seattle. By then, barring any setbacks, he would have been able to participate in six practices, which should make him ready on a limited basis.

Jenkins has started 46 career games and played a full 16-game schedule twice. A bulk of those games came at outside and not the slot.

Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said Jenkins can play the slot, and secondary coach Jerome Henderson wants his corners to have position flexibility.

Meaning the corners can play the left or right side and, in some cases, the slot.

For now, Claiborne and Carr are the starters with Scandrick at the slot.

It seems there's no place for Jenkins, but that's not accurate. He can play the outside receiver in some four-receiver sets and even some slot corner if necessary. Jenkins can also spell Carr and Claiborne -- let's not forget Claiborne is a rookie.

In order for Jenkins to get a new deal from any team during this contract year, he needs to show his versatility is an asset.

It's easy to like what we've seen from Carr and Claiborne this summer, but Jenkins was a Pro Bowl pick in 2009, after Antoine Winfield couldn't play due to injury. The interception numbers are low -- just two the last two seasons -- but Jenkins has reached double-digit pass breakups the last three seasons, including a career-high 23 in 2009.

Jenkins is a good corner, and that's a major reason why the Cowboys didn't trade him this offseason. But Jenkins isn't totally happy -- it's why he requested a trade during the offseason. The only way to help his marketability is to play well in 2012.

He'll get his chance in the next few weeks.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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