Cowboys Nation is pleased to introduce our first chat with new defensive analyst Jamaine Winborne. Winborne played both cornerback and safety for the Ravens, and got to rub elbows with some very talented secondary players. He was also tutored by a coach who will be familiar to older Cowboys fans. Today, Jamaine gives his bio and a basic background on NFL defensive philosophy.
Cowboys Nation: Tell us a little bit about your pro career.
Jamaine Winborne: I came out as an undrafted free agent [from the University of Virginia]. I signed with the Giants [in 2004]. I has some issues that I was still rehabbing at the time. I could not make it through the team’s first mini-camp. The doctors checked me out and told me to go back to school and continue rehabbing.
I came back at the start of camp and signed a contract. I started playing corner, but I had played safety my last seven games at Virginia. I played the best I could and then my reps were cut as camp went on. I was released on the final cut. I spent about 4-5 weeks home when the season started. I tried out for a lot of teams, I went to Denver, I worked out for the Texans. I worked out in Baltimore and that’s where I ended up signing.
The first person I met when I walked into the locker room was Deion Sanders. I can’t tell you how that made me feel.
CN: I was going to ask you about him. I looked at your record and your Ravens squads. Did you play with Chris McAllister too?
CN: And you obviously played with Ed Reed.
JW: Yeah. Ed’s a good guy. I played with a lot of good corners when I was there. I played with Samari [Rolle]. I played with Dale Carter. I played with Will Demps. I played with Dawan Landry. With so many corners there I didn’t know how long I would stay but I stuck it out. Hey, I got to play with a couple of Hall of Famers. It was an honor to play with guys like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.
CN: Who was the coordinator when you arrived?
JW: Mike Nolan was the coordinator when I first got there, then Rex [Ryan] took over.
CN; That’s useful. I got my hands on a presentation Rex and his assistant Mike Pettine made from that time explaining how they played defense, so a lot of the materials in that will probably come up.
JW: I know Pettine. He’s another UVA guy.
CN: Who was your position coach with the Ravens?
JW: That was Dennis Thurman. He played with the Cowboys for a while, didn’t he?
CN: Yes, he did. He was a Tom Landry draftee. He was an 11th round pick one year, back when the draft was 12 rounds, and he stuck. He played for a long time in fact. He wasn’t the fastest guy, but he was smart. His coaches then were saying that he could be a future coach, and they turned out to be right.
JW: It’s ridiculous what I learned from that guy. His mind … he showed me the game at an entirely different level. I had good coaches in college, but there was stuff he told me I should know and I was saying, “wow! How is it possible to know these things?” He saw the game differently. Going from playing close to ten years to coaching, you see it differently.