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Janoris Jenkins says Giants’ defense can be special this season

Giants defensive back Janoris Jenkins catches the ball

Giants defensive back Janoris Jenkins catches the ball during training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Friday, July 29, 2016. Credit: Steven Ryan

Janoris Jenkins has been with the Giants for a few months now. He’s gone through the spring workouts, the minicamps, and now he’s taking part in training camp. It’s enough for him to form a first impression of his new team — and it’s a good one.

“I think we can be special,” the cornerback told Newsday on Friday after his first practice of training camp. “If everybody gets to know how everybody plays and listens to the coaches and plays within the scheme, I think we can be really special. Really special.”

Super Bowl special?

“Really special. That’s all I’m gonna say.”

Jenkins said he is fitting in well with his new teammates. It would be easy for the relationship to be somewhat strained in the secondary with three players vying for starting jobs and coming to this roster from vastly different angles. There is Jenkins, a free-agent acquisition who signed a five-year, $62.5-million contract in the offseason. There is first-round pick Eli Apple, a rookie trying to find a spot on the field. And then there is Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, entering his third and possibly final season with the Giants. DRC’s contract — plus the additions of Jenkins and Apple — make many believe he could be expendable next offseason. Plus, with only two outside starting spots, one of them likely will have to adjust to playing in the slot. It could be DRC, who has not spoken to the media since the Giants added his two teammates.

Jenkins, though, said the camaraderie between the three has been strong.

“There’s no threat,” he said. “We’re all family, man. In the NFL, on defense, everybody is a starter, no matter if you are a backup or a first-round pick or a high-paid free agent. Everyone is a starter because in the league, you never know what can happen.”

And Rodgers-Cromartie is one of the leaders for the group.

“DRC’s been here the longest, so he knows the scheme and the system,” Jenkins said. “Basically we try to pick his brain, see the ins and outs of the defense, and learn from each other.”

As for what he brings, Jenkins said he hopes it is leadership. He worked on fundamentals this offseason, strengthening his core with boxing classes, and improving his quickness by chasing rabbits. (“That was usual,” he said of the practice since childhood, which has earned him the nickname “Jackrabbit.”)

“I’m going to try to make plays but play within the system,” he said. “I’m going to lead by example, get my hands on a lot of balls, and make a lot of tackles.”

And hope he can continue to remain comfortable with his new team.

“Everybody loves to compete,” he said of the Giants. “The coaches don’t let you slack off. Even in walk-throughs, they teach tempo and techniques and fundamentals. It’s just a team atmosphere.”

As for any differences between this camp and the ones he participated in with the Rams the past four years, Jenkins said they were minimal. The Giants play a little bit more zone, he said. Other than that, not much has changed.

“Football is football,” he said. “Nobody is going to down-talk you or disrespect you. It’s all love.”

New York Sports