OXNARD, CA - JULY 30: Wide receiver Terrance Copper #18 of the Dallas Cowboys catches a pass in front of defensive back Terence Newman #41 during the first day of training camp on July 30, 2005 in Oxnard, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn /Getty Images)
Cornerback Mike Jenkins made his return to practice on Sunday, eight days after suffering an ankle sprain, and three days after the depth of the secondary came into serious question as a result of a kind of ugly performance in Oakland.
Terence Newman is scheduled to return today from a groin injury; needless to say, this is encouraging.
Just about anyone in Dallas could tell you what Newman can mean to this team, when--and this is an increasingly relevant qualifier--he is healthy. Mike Jenkins had been one of the stars of this training camp until he suffered the aforementioned ankle injury that shelved him for more than a week.
Add Orlando Scandrick, who had a moderately impressive game in Oakland, to that list, and you have a sort of cornerback triumvirate with the potential to be in the upper echelon of the conference.
However, this proverbial house, if the first preseason game is any indicator, is built on sand.
Alan Ball played decently in the Oakland game after focusing mostly on the safety position in camp, but is strikingly inexperienced, entering his third year with only 9 career tackles, one pass deflection and no interceptions.
Mike Mickens was one of several Cowboys' rookies to have a rough go of it in their NFL debut after looking promising in camp, and that might be an understatement. He and Courtney Brown looked flat-out overmatched against the Raiders receivers. That's bad.
Now, only the most megalomaniacal fan would put too much stock in a preseason game, let alone the first of the year; but on Thursday night, fans were treated to a shudder-worthy experience in the absence of Newman and Jenkins. If those two can't make it through the season unscathed--and it would be bad business to bet otherwise--Dallas might be looking at a serious, albeit curable issue.
Note to Jerry Jones: Chris McAllister, Mike McKenzie and R.W. McQuarters are currently unemployed.
I'm just saying, is all.