That player in the Dallas Cowboys' camp is rookie wide receiver Dez Bryant, who has made spectacular catches seem routine, and earned a measure of attention over the weekend when he refused to carry veteran wideout Roy Williams's shoulder pads after practice.
Contrary to popular belief, however, Bryant is not the only player in San Antonio getting ready for the upcoming season. Third-year cornerback Mike Jenkins said he and the team's rookie receiver have developed something of a rivalry in practice — not that they keep score or talk trash, but they do push each other to get better.
"It's good just going back and forth," Jenkins said. "I'm going to win some, he's going to win some. We started that and we're going to keep it going through the season. We're on the same team. We're going to keep it going."
Jenkins doesn't seem to resent Bryant at all, but he is aware that the majority of media attention so far has gone to a guy who has yet to play even a preseason game as a professional.
"He's a rookie and we're on the same team," Jenkins said. "We're talking about everybody — it's not just Dez. He's a great player, just like I said, and we're going to keep the battle going.
There's no arguing Bryant's talent, but Jenkins said that to suggest Bryant lifts the defensive backs' level of play more than some of the team's veteran receivers would be inaccurate.
"He doesn't — we treat him just like everybody else," Jenkins said. "It's no different. We've got Miles (Austin). We still have other receivers on the team. We don't focus on one guy — we focus on the whole team. We are a team, we are one. He is an addition to the success of our team."
Not all questions directed toward Jenkins centered around Bryant. There also has been talk that Jenkins — who had five interceptions and made the Pro Bowl last year, just his second season in the NFL — has arrived at camp with an improved attitude, that he is somehow more coachable this summer. Jenkins suggested that he had been that way all along.
"I came in with that attitude," he said. "I've always been coachable. Just coming in, I'm always trying to pick anybody's brain that I can. Any advice that they can give me, I take."
It's a Team Game
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