Giants’ Janoris Jenkins ‘everything as advertised’
All the hot takes, the jabs and the jokes have gone away. Six games into his Giants career, nobody is claiming Janoris Jenkins is overpaid anymore, after signing that five-year, $62.5 million deal last June.
If anything, he has been an invaluable investment, a smart offseason signing that has kept the Big Blue secondary afloat despite a rash of injuries. All you had to do was listen to his former coach, Jeff Fisher of the Rams, go on and on about the 27-year-old cornerback.
“With all due respect to the other corners in the league right now, it’s hard to find one that’s playing better than he is,” Fisher said in a conference call with New York reporters on Wednesday. “When asked to man-up and cover, he’s a shut-down corner. When asked to match up with the top receivers, he does it. He plays both sides. When asked to be patient and play zone and play within the scheme, he does it.
“I’m happy for him, not happy for us.”
Fisher sounded downright wistful, singing Jenkins’ praises so thoroughly he sounded like a proud father who wishes he could see more of his grownup son. He raved about Jenkins always sitting in the front of the room during film study and how badly the Rams wanted him back.
Jenkins declined to comment on the “best cornerback” praise, and said his decision to leaving the Rams was merely “business.” He doesn’t expect to be any more motivated Sunday in London against his old teammates, but it will be an interesting chess match, because both sides know each other well.
“It can go both ways,” Jenkins said. “Either I have the advantage or they have the advantage. I have the advantage about knowing what is coming and they have the advantage of thinking I know what is coming, but double-moving, so I have to stay on my heels and on my toes.”
Jenkins has exceeded expectations with the Giants, producing two interceptions, 24 tackles (22 solo) and a team-high seven passes defensed. He locked down Cowboys star Dez Bryant in the Giants’ best win of the season — a season-opening victory at Dallas, the Cowboys’ only loss so far. He keyed a Week 2 win over the Saints by returning a blocked field goal 65 yards for a touchdown. And he picked off Aaron Rodgers twice two Sundays ago in Green Bay, keeping the Giants in a game they would eventually lose. Those are also the only two takeaways produced by the Giants this year.
“Everything as advertised,” Giants coach Ben McAdoo said.
Jenkins is ranked as the 22nd cornerback in the league by Pro Football Focus. According to the website, he has allowed 23 catches on 40 targets for 256 yards and no touchdowns, though a huge chunk of that, a 70-yard catch by the Ravens’ Mike Wallace, came Sunday.
The pressure of a big contract — particularly in the New York market, where the media scrutiny is intense — hasn’t fazed Jenkins.
He smiled when asked why it hasn’t taken him long to adjust.
“There is no pressure,” Jenkins said. “There are just more lights.”
Wide receiver Victor Cruz said Jenkins is up there among the top cornerbacks the Giants have had in his seven NFL seasons, because of his tackling ability, coverage and ball skills. Rookie cornerback Eli Apple praised Jenkins’ toughness and his short memory — the ability to move on after a bad play. Like Jenkins, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul declined to comment on where he is in relation to the league’s other elite corners. He is just thrilled to have him on his side.
“I don’t have to worry about a top wide receiver catching over him or whatever. If it does happen, it’s not happening constantly. It happens rarely,” Pierre-Paul said. “There’s times when he breaks on the ball and I think he’s beat, but he’s right there.”
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