Janoris Jenkins said he feels “no pressure” to play better than he did against Mike Evans and the Buccaneers last week. He still wants to, though.
“You have to understand that I play cornerback,” he said on Friday. “They’re going to make plays, I’m going to make plays. It’s just how the game turns out. But then you just move forward, man. You have to understand, this is football. You can’t defend everything, you can’t knock down everything. You just go out and play football and bounce back and whatever happens happens.”
Jenkins and the Giants are hoping what happened last week never happens again. Jenkins was overmatched by Evans, who finished the game with eight catches for 190 yards and three touchdowns. Not all of the catches were against Jenkins, but all three touchdowns were. As was the 44-yard catch that set up what could have easily been the game-winning field goal in the final minute of the game.
“You have games like that,” Jenkins said. “I’m just ready to play this week.”
The Giants have had a number of breakdowns in their secondary this season. Most of those were attributed to young players finding their footing in the NFL and new players on the team adjusting to a different scheme. That’s why Jenkins’ struggles were so troubling. He’s an established veteran and the longest-serving member of the Giants’ secondary. He’s supposed to be the one part in the pass defense they can count on, not, as was the case on Sunday, the one part that malfunctions.
“If you play in this league, you are going to have a tough day,” 14-year safety Antoine Bethea said this week regarding Jenkins. “It’s all about how you bounce back. If you have ever played in the NFL, you’ve had a bad day, that’s what it is. Nobody has ever played in this league for how long Jackrabbit has played and hasn’t had a bad day. Jackrabbit knows what he needs to do. He is a veteran, he is one of our leaders. You can expect next game that he will play better. We expect that from him and he expects that from himself.”
Jenkins is so confident that he will play well against Washington that he hopes rookie cornerback DeAndre Baker watches and picks up a thing or two from it.
“He’s going to see on Sunday how I bounce back and hopefully he learns from it,” Jenkins said. “A teaching experience for him going through me.”
Jenkins has had a tumultuous first few weeks to the season. After the Bills game in Week 2, he complained about the lack of a pass rush by the Giants as a reason for the passing yardage allowed. He came out in Week 3 against the Bucs and seemed to have trouble keeping up with Evans. He said immediately after the game that he was trying to make plays and guessing and that led to bad techniques and angles.
“Honestly, I don’t have concern,” defensive coordinator James Bettcher said of Jenkins. “I don’t have concern about any of our players, as long as they are working the process. I think Jack is doing that, I think he is coming to practice, I saw it [Thursday], he’s diving to knock balls away, he’s competing, he’s working on fundamentals and techniques in individual [drills], he’s all in on fixing what he needs to fix.”
And is apparently ready to demonstrate it on Sunday against Washington.
“Ain’t no pressure on my behalf,” he said. “There ain’t no pressure. I just go out and play football the way I always play football.”