With the Dallas Cowboys defensive line catching a ton of flack all offseason, the team decided to sign former Denver Broncos defensive end Shaneil Jenkins just a few weeks ago.
Considering he was signed on August 7th, it was reasonable to expect him to not have much of an impact during the preseason opener on August 13th. Despite these low expectations, Jenkins excelled, playing better than just about anyone else on the defensive line.
Tallying one sack and two quarterback hits, Jenkins showed quickness off the ball and good hand play, something that was lacking from many of the other defensive linemen. Surprisingly, the Cowboys moved Jenkins inside, playing him at defensive tackle instead of end. Maybe this move inside is exactly what Jenkins needs to reach his full potential of sorts.
Jenkins possesses both power and quickness, and showed them both off during his sack of Rams’ quarterback Jared Goff at the end of the first half. With the Rams driving into field goal range, Jenkins came up with a huge sack to eliminate the scoring threat and preserve the 17 point lead.
As good as Jenkins was in game one, we do need to be cautiously optimistic about how consistent he will be.
According to Bryan Broaddus of DallasCowboys.com, the Broncos let Jenkins go after impressive OTA’s and Minicamps because “when the pads came on, he wasn’t the same player.” While Jenkins might just be more comfortable at defensive tackle due to his size, and maybe even more comfortable in the Cowboys’ defensive scheme, this is still something to keep an eye out for.
In the past, the Cowboys have had defensive linemen shine in a game or two, but then not even make it onto the final 53 roster.
By August 17 2014, fans could see Minter getting 20 sacks and solving our DLine woes. Minter was cut on August 30 2014.
As the tweet mentions, defensive lineman Zach Minter emerged early in the 2014 preseason with an impressive performance. 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, and a forced fumble made Minter look like a stud who had arrived to solve any defensive troubles the Cowboys might’ve had.
Instead, Minter failed to make the final 53 man roster and is now a free agent.
Shaneil Jenkins had a very impressive game against the Rams, but we must remain cautiously optimistic about both he and the entire defense until they show us more.