Instead, the most impressive part of his season might just be the fact that he has suited up for 10 of the Cowboys’ 14 games this season. Jenkins has battled a slew of nagging injuries this season, most notably to his shoulder and hamstring.
Despite the injuries, Jenkins has been arguably the Cowboys’ best cornerback this season, a fact made more impressive by the fact that he struggled last season after a stellar 2009 season that ended with an invitation to the Pro Bowl. Jenkins’ toughness has not gone unnoticed this season, including by Dallas head coach Jason Garrett.
“Maybe the best thing (Jenkins) has done is play through injuries,” Garrett said. “He has had a variety of them, and he keeps getting himself out there.”
Jenkins said that the first step in getting past a 2010 season that didn’t reach the standard he set for himself the previous year was merely forgetting it and starting anew this year.
“You can’t let what you did one year control what you do the next year,” Jenkins said. “If I had a great year last year, I couldn’t fall back on that, either. I just had to forget it.”
Jenkins also said he needed to stop free-lancing as much as he did last year, and sharpen his technique to the point that it was in the previous season.
“It was a matter of going back to basics this year,” he said. “I changed my technique a little this year — mostly my footwork. Last year, I tried some new things, but this year I decided to go back to basics.
“I’m actually more aggressive this year than I was last year. I think that was kind of big on me last year. Once you come in new to a system, just starting in the system in the year I went to the Pro Bowl, a lot of guys didn’t know what to expect from me because I was a new guy then. Good coaching and making adjustments — (Dallas coaches and players) know I like to sit on routes — I kind took advantage of it."
But Jenkins also decided not to show any physical weakness, even through the injuries he has battled this year.
“Mike wants to be out there with his teammates,” Dallas free safety Abe Elam said. “Everyone has something that hurts at this time of year, but we know he’s going to be out there, and he’s not going to let injuries affect the way he does his job.”
“I guess I have grown up some (since last season),” Jenkins said. “I’m playing with some injuries, but I never want to sit a game out.
“I have got to show all of the guys on my team that I’m ready to go to war with them.”