Janoris Jenkins would relish a rematch with A.J. Green
The Giants almost always have one significant advantage each week. Every game, Odell Beckham Jr. is in blue, and the opposition has to figure out how to slow one of the most dynamic players in the league, the rare star who stands out among the game’s elites. Every play he is on the field, Beckham is a threat to score a touchdown, a threat to change a game, a threat to swing a season.
Come Monday, the Giants will learn what it’s like on the other side of the ball, when Bengals receiver A.J. Green returns to MetLife Stadium for the second time this season.
The five-time Pro Bowler, who had 180 yards and a touchdown in a season-opening win over the Jets, enters the prime-time matchup in the midst of what may be the best season of his career. Green leads the NFL with 112 receiving yards per game and 59 receptions, ranking fourth in the league with 14 catches of 20 yards or more. Green, who also has three touchdowns, met the Giants once in 2012, recording 85 yards and a touchdown in a Cincinnati win.
“He’s a big problem,” said Giants cornerback Leon Hall, Green’s longtime teammate. “He can pretty much do it all. … Everybody knows what he can do week in and week out and he’s done that for years now, so it’s definitely gonna be a challenge for everybody.”
With all of Beckham’s talent, even he is amazed when he watches Green, a fan waiting to see what might come next.
“He was gifted with speed, size, hands, pretty much everything that you would think of in a receiver, he’s got it and then some,” Beckham said Thursday. “He’s one of my favorite in the league. I’ve watched him for a long time. Even when he was at Georgia, I was at LSU. We watched those SEC guys pretty closely. Defense has a tough challenge ahead, for sure.
“[I’ll be] out there watching. I’m watching what he’s doing because I enjoy it. I love football like that. I love seeing other guys who are great, as long as I’m not going against you. It’s not like I’m rooting for him, but I like to see someone at their best.”
Hall thinks the only way to slow the 28-year-old star is to use a variety of defensive schemes.
“You gotta switch it up with him,” Hall said. “You can’t just leave him alone. With all the great receivers, I think that’s part of the recipe for success. You can’t just keep rolling up to him because he’ll figure that out.”
Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins has known Green since high school, having both played in the 2008 Under Armour All-America Game. They then matched up with each other in the SEC, with Jenkins at Florida and Green at Georgia.
Jenkins has some good memories — an interception on the first play of their 2010 college meeting — and some moments he would rather forget — getting beat by Green for a touchdown while playing with the Rams last season. On Monday, he hopes to get another shot at Green.
“I would love it if they give it to me,” Jenkins said. “I lick my chops. I get happy … [but] whatever the job the coach gives me, that’s what I’m gonna do.”
Just one game into his first season with the Giants, Jenkins showed how much he could solidify the secondary, helping hold Dez Bryant to 8 yards receiving. Long before that, Green knew him as one of the most talented cornerbacks he’s played against.
“I know what he’s capable of and he’s playing well,” Green said on a conference call. “[He’s] everything you want in a corner.”
The winner of the battle between Green and Jenkins may be the winner of the game, the victor satisfied, but silent.
“He never [trash] talked to me,” Green said of Jenkins. “ let my game do the talking.”
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