“We Kinda Of Start From There”March 27th, 2014
The Cowboys may have a “personal vendetta” against new Bucs veteran cornerback Mike Jenkins, but Lovie Smith has no such issues.
Joe asked Lovie about what Jenkins has to offer yesterday at the NFL Owners Meetings in Orlando, and Lovie explained his enthusiasm for the basics in Jenkins’ game.
“I watched Mike a little bit, you know, this past year and I remember when he came out of USF, his pro day and thought he had a lot of talent. I remember the All-Pro year that he has. What we’re looking for from defensive backs, you know, ball skills. I think he’s had six interceptions one year. I think he has all the skills, you know, excellent speed, quickness. He’ll tackle – with ball skills; we kind of start from there,” Lovie said.
“He was excited about coming back home. There’s something about coming back home and playing in front of the people that you grew up with, you know, that you owe an awful lot to. He’s excited about that. Gil Byrd, who coaches our cornerbacks, Gil has played the game at the highest level can’t wait to get his hands on Mike and it’ll be a good match.”
Joe’s not making excuses for the tail-off in Jenkins’ game after a Pro Bowl season in Dallas, but in addition to battling a major shoulder injury, it seems that Jenkins fell into the category of “needing a change of scenery.” He was solid in Oakland as a starter last year, but it’s a bit odd he wasn’t retained by the Raiders, given that they have loads of salary cap room and did not change regimes.
Clearly, Lovie, Byrd and Bucs defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, a former NFL cornerback and secondary coach, believe they can resurrect greatness from Jenkins. That’s good enough for Joe. The Bucs needed more depth at the position, and Jenkins at least provides that.