New York Giants
Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel |
Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins has been in the league long enough to understand that it's a business.
So when Jenkins reached the end of his rookie contract last year with the Rams, he did what any other free agent would do: he sought the best deal and the right opportunity for himself.
That opportunity just so happened to come with the New York Giants, who signed Jenkins to a five-year, $62.5 million contract that included $28.8 million in guaranteed money.
Jenkins thus far has repaid the Giants' faith in him by being their best cover corner. He leads the team in interceptions (2) and passes defensed (7), proving himself to be the very definition of a shut-down cornerback.
Jenkins' old head coach, Jeff Fisher, called Jenkins' departure "a disappointing loss" and was more than generous with the praise on his former player.
"Outstanding young man. One of my favorites that I've ever had the opportunity to coach," Fisher said on a teleconference from London, where the Rams are getting ready to face the Giants Sunday.
"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."
Giants head coach Ben McAdoo certainly has been happy with what Jenkins has brought to the table so far.
"He's playing good football; he's aggressive, he's a competitor everything as advertised," McAdoo said. "The thing that surprises you is that you really don't know what a guy is like until you get him in here and he's a tremendous leader. Tremendous example for the young players."
When told of Fisher's compliments about his game this year, Jenkins simply shrugged and maintained his modesty.
"I don't know; I am just playing football and doing what I do," Jenkins said. "That is a nice compliment, but I am just going to stay focused and continue to play football."
Jenkins was asked about his seemingly smooth transition to the bright lights of New York City. Again he shrugged and said, "I never give in to the hype or the 'He says, she says,'" he said.
"Wherever I go, I just look forward to playing football and that will be my main focus."
Including not worrying about whether he emerges as the best cornerback in the game?
"I don't talk about it," he said. "I let people like you all do the ratings and say what you all have to say. I just play football."
Jenkins, who said he would have liked to have returned to the Rams, didn't take it personally when things didn't work out. Now that he's here in New York, he is too focused on sharpening up some of his weak spots.
"I think I have played good. I can play better. Nothing major, but just keep improving every week," he said.
In the first round of the 2014 NFL draft, the New York Giants were set to pick 12th, the Rams 13th.
The Giants ultimately ended up plucking receiver Odell Beckham Jr. out of LSU that year while the Rams drafted defensive tackle Aaron Donald out of Pittsburgh.
Since then, both players have been to two Pro Bowls with their respective teams. And while the Giants are not regretting their pick of Beckham, when they look at Donald and the disruption he can create against both the run and the pass, it wouldn't be surprising if the Giants secretly wished they had the 13th overall draft pick that year to acquire Donald.
"He's very quick, athletic," said Giants head coach Ben McAdoo. "His first step is hard to find in another 3-technique in the league. He's very twitchy."
Center Weston Richburg, who will have to help with getting Donald blocked, said he sees a vastly improved player than the one he first saw back in 2014.
"I think he's more intelligent," Richburg said. "He understands how to use his hands, how to use guys leverage against them. He's very disruptive and very dominant."
Left guard Justin Pugh faced Donald in college, and said that the third-year defensive tackle has yet to reach his ceiling.
"He is one of the best defensive tackles in the football. His get-off is incredible, he has great speed and quickness with his hands," Pugh said. "He plays with great leverage. He is not the biggest guy in the world, but you put on film and he has gotten like 37 quarterback hurries, three sacks it has been nice these past few weeks."
Richburg immediately shook his head when asked if Donald was a typical NFL 3-technique player.
"He's small. You wouldn't think he'd be very powerful, but he is; he's powerful and he's fast and he uses his hands so well. You have to be very efficient, and make sure you're fundamentally sound in what you're trying to do otherwise he'll exploit it."
Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams hasn't been afraid to run twists with Donald and defensive end Robert Quinn to create confusion. That is something that Pugh admits the Giants will have to watch out for.
"When anyone is running twists, you have to be able to make sure that you are echoing and you are making sure that you are protecting the guy next to you and not getting him hit," Pugh said. "(Donald) and Quinn can really disrupt the game, so we have to make sure that we go out there and play our best game up front."
A day after expressing a generic opinion about teammate Odell Beckham Jr.'s antics during a radio interview on WFAN, quarterback Eli Manning backed off of his statement about getting sick of Beckham's antics.
Manning told WFAN's Mike Francesa Monday that, "You can get real sick of (Beckham's antics), if he is not making plays."
On Tuesday, Manning insisted that the "you" in his statement was not actually referring to himself.
"I'm not tired of it," Manning said. "I thought you might be tired of it. That was my comment. Talking about you.
"I'm fine with it. He's doing a lot of good things and playing the game the right way. He just has to make sure the celebrations and what's going on aren't hurting the team in any way."
Manning insisted that he and Beckham have a "great relationship" despite the comments made by the quarterback.
"We talk about a lot of things. We're on the same page," Manning said. "He knows that I'm always looking out for him and understands that you can say things that can get taken one way. Odell and I are on the same page. I get asked multiple questions about him every week."
This weekend, Beckham will have another challenge against the Rams, who were among the first teams to get under his skin.
In 2014, Beckham's rookie season, the Rams got a little extra physical with Beckham following some of his showboating antics.
Things turned ugly when Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree tried to rough up Beckham on the Giants sideline, which created a brawl resulting in the ejection of now former Giants players Damontre Moore and Preston Parker.
"(The Rams) were a little chippy hitting him late and we had another player ejected that game, it wasn't him. So we have to understand that we have to control ourselves, play smart, and be the more disciplined team," Manning said.
His advice to Beckham?
"Just play football, keep making plays and doing your thing."
BY THE NUMBERS: 9 Career touchdown receptions of 50 or more yards, eight of 60 or more yards, and five of 70 or more yards by Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. All three numbers rank first in the NFL since the start of the 2014 season.
QUOTE TO NOTE:
"I just remember guys were in a daze a little. They didn't know where they were or what was going on, what country they were in. (Former running back) Brandon Jacobs wanted to go see the Eiffel Tower. There was a lot going on." QB Eli Manning, on the Giants' first visit to London back in 2007. Manning and long snapper Zak DeOssie are the only two members of the team that participated in the inaugural International Series game.