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Pressure on Cards’ Boston, Jenkins

August 21, 2000

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) _ The season-ending knee injury to Arizona’s big-play wide receiver Rob Moore creates opportunities, and pressure, for David Boston and Mar Tay Jenkins.

The injury also has the Cardinals retooling their offensive philosophy to reduce the emphasis on formations that use three wide receivers.

Boston, a first-round draft pick a year ago, will move into Moore’s starting spot. With veteran Frank Sanders as the other starter, Jenkins is the frontrunner in the battle to become the No. 3 wide receiver.

``Mar Tay has proven that he can get open in this league. Now he’s got to prove he can catch the ball on a consistent basis,″ coach Vince Tobin said Monday. ``And David’s proven that he can make plays in this league. Now he’s got to be the guy when he’s probably going to be getting a lot of double-teams.″

Jenkins, probably the fastest player on the roster, is a second-year player out of Nebraska-Omaha who was claimed off waivers from Dallas before last season. He spent the first 13 games on the inactive squad, then played on special teams in the final three. His problem has been dropping passes.

``Speed certainly is an important thing, and he’s also got size,″ Tobin said. ``He’s not afraid to block. He can get in and out of his breaks. I mean, he’s got a lot of things he can look for in a receiver.″

Jenkins knows this is his big chance.

``It’s an unfortunate opportunity the way it happened, but it’s definitely an opportunity for me to go out there and display the talent I have,″ he said, ``just go out there and make plays and help this ball team as much as I can.″

The Cardinals have moved Ty Mitchell from tight end to wide receiver to add some depth at the position. If none of the current players steps up, the team may look to sign someone cut elsewhere.

Boston, the eighth pick overall in last year’s draft, had an unspectacular rookie season, except for a game against the New York Giants when he caught eight passes for 101 yards. In the preseason, he is the team’s leading receiver with 10 catches for 141 yards.

``I think I know the offense a little bit better,″ Boston said. ``I worked hard in the offseason to make myself a better player. So we’ll see when the season starts.″

Offensive coordinator Marc Trestman said it’s time for Boston to show he’s the type of receiver the Cardinals expected when they drafted him.

``He has to play like he did in the Giants game last year. He has to take up the productivity of Rob, basically,″ Trestman said.

Trestman said the Cardinals may use running backs Michael Pittman and Thomas Jones together in the backfield more often to get the best skill players on the field. The team also could emphasize the tight end more.

``We’ve just got to readjust,″ Trestman said. ``The system works where you can call the patterns and the runs out of any personnel grouping. We’ve just got to reassess our three wide receiver sets.″

Although the loss of Moore, cornerback Coby Rhinehart and defensive back-special teams player J.J. McCleskey to season-ending injuries in Friday night’s loss to Minnesota was devastating, the Cardinals maintain there is plenty ability left to have a successful season.

``The season hasn’t even started,″ Boston said. ``We have a lot of good athletes on this team capable of making big plays. I wouldn’t count us out yet.″

Jake Plummer sat out Monday’s practice with a sore shoulder. However, Trestman said the problem was ``nothing serious,″ just slight soreness from overuse.

Plummer has completed 25 of 48 passes for 340 yards in the preseason. He has thrown for one touchdown and been intercepted once.

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