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Which Mike Jenkins Will Show Up?

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Dallas cornerback Mike Jenkins looked like an emerging star in 2009. He played Pro Bowl caliber football, using his athleticism and balls skills to have an excellent year. Pro Football Focus notes he only allowed 307 yards in 18 games including Playoffs. He only allowed 48% of targeted passes to be completed, and quarterbacks testing him had a passer rating of 60.2. A year ago during the Darrelle Revis holdout, I was convinced that if Revis forced a trade, Dallas would be the top suitor, and any package would include Jenkins in return.

Then his game fell off a cliff last season. He actually might have been the worst cornerback in the National Football League. He allowed 60 catches for 994 yards and 6 touchdowns. Quarterbacks completed 67.4% of passes against him and had a 122.6 rating. Quarterbacks who threw his way essentially became Tom Brady. The play that summed up his year was a half hearted attempt to tackle a guy going in for a score against Green Bay, which drew him wide scorn. Such a decline was inexplicable. He was in his third year, and there were no reports of injuries slowing him down.

Jenkins is an enigma entering the new season. He missed the entire preseason with a stinger so we got no hints there. He says he will be ready to go Sunday. The Cowboys might need him to be at top form. The other starting corner, Terrence Newman, looks like he is going to miss the game with a strained groin. If Jenkins looks anything like he did in 2010, Dallas' pass defense could be in for a long evening because Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress, and Derrick Mason could run free on the corners.