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Mailbag: How Has Jenkins Adjusted To Playing Inside?

Posted Dec 21, 2012

MIKE FITZ
METUCHEN, NJ

With Orlando Scandrick on injured reserve, how well has Jenkins adjusted and filled in for him in the slot? Has he been able to play up to Scandrick's level or better?

Jonny: I wouldn't say Jenkins has done a bad job at moving over to the slot, but there have been mistakes and you can tell it doesn't seem natural to him. Jenkins is a talented player, though, and I would still rather have him playing the slot than a lot of other team's third cornerback. I personally haven't seen a huge drop off between him and Scandrick who was also prone to a mistake or two.

Nick: I don’t think it’s a natural fit for Jenkins. He’s used to being on the outside and it’s not an easy position for anyone to play. I think if he can continue to play it and improve, it’ll only help him next year when he gets to free agency, showing teams he has some versatility there. But as much as Scandrick gets criticized for his play, he does a pretty good job in the slot.

ANDREW HUGHES
PRINCEVILLE, HI

Why doesn’t Tony Romo throw Jason Witten the ball more in the red zone? He finally did against the Steelers and he scored.

Jonny: Witten has always served well as a security blanket. When you run deep routes with your receivers, it stretches the defense out and often leaves Witten open for a short route. When you are in the red zone you have less room to work with so your receivers can't run as deep of routes. That being said, I still think Witten can be effective in the red zone. It's hard to argue with a fade route to Dez Bryant in the end zone, but Witten can still be used across the middle.

Nick: I think the touchdown you saw was a product of the running game. It was a play-action pass that left Witten wide open. The Cowboys really don’t run it well consistently down in the red zone and usually Witten is left to stay in and block. But also, go back and look at some of Witten’s plays this year. He is notorious for getting down to the 2 or 1. It happened recently against the Bengals and maybe against the Eagles, too. They use him, but when it gets tighter down there, he’s not as effective as a route-runner. And he’s never been like Gonzalez, Gates, Graham and any other big tight end to go up and catch jump balls.

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