Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Checking in on Cowboys camp
By Dan Graziano
The Dallas Cowboys opened training camp for rookies and selected veterans Wednesday, and there are a few newsy tidbits courtesy of my good friends over at ESPNDallas.com.
Cornerback Mike Jenkins is one of five players opening camp on the Cowboys' physically unable to perform list. He's in camp, continuing his recovery from shoulder surgery, but as Calvin Watkins wrote this morning, his situation is very much in flux. He's not happy about being the No. 3 corner behind Brandon Carr and rookie Morris Claiborne, and he's asked for a new contract or a trade, neither of which the team wants to give him. The Cowboys don't know when they'll see Jenkins on the field, in part because he doesn't seem in a hurry to get there. The rest of the PUP crew -- guard Mackenzy Bernadeau, wide receiver Danny Coale, guard/center Kevin Kowalski and safety Matt Johnson -- are all expected back in the coming weeks.
All five players matter. Bernadeau and Kowalski are in contention for starting spots on the interior of the offensive line, the team wants to see if Coale can be a real candidate for the No. 3 wide receiver spot as a rookie, Johnson has a chance to beat out Brodney Pool for a starting safety job but needs to be on the field to do it, and Jenkins is of course part of the Cowboys' plan to be as deep as possible at the position that devastated them last year.
Most eyes Wednesday were on top draft pick Claiborne, the rookie cornerback who missed OTAs and minicamp while recovering from wrist surgery but was on the field for the first training camp practice. Todd Archer thought he looked aggressive ("maybe too aggressive at times, but it's better to be that way and coach it out of a cornerback"), and I think everyone's eager to get to Oxnard next week and see how he looks against Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. Claiborne also returned some punts, but the reviews on that don't indicate that you should expect to see it once games start.
And rookie Tyrone Crawford is a bit behind due to the calf injury that limited him this spring and summer, but he's working at it. Crawford's a long-term project anyway, and unlikely to play a major role early in 2012.
So there's your Cowboys update for the day. They'll be my final training camp stop, and I won't see them until Aug. 6, so I'll do my best to keep you posted in the meantime, even if that just means referring you to the exhaustive and perpetually excellent work of Calvin, Todd and Tim MacMahon.