Giants CB Janoris Jenkins says he should be covering teams' top WRs

ByJordan Raanan ESPN logo
Monday, December 2, 2019

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Cornerback Janoris Jenkins isn't happy with his role in the New York Giants' defense. He made that painfully obvious after watching Green Bay Packers star receiver Davante Adams score a pair of touchdowns in the Packers'31-13 victory over the Giants on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

Jenkins did not match against Adams often. He has not been following the opposition's top receivers much this year, and he disagreed with defensive coordinator James Bettcher's usage of the Giants' top cover corner.

"First of all, you have to use your weapons," Jenkins said, before collecting himself and letting out a chuckle. "You just have to do better. Play better ball all around."

When asked to explain what he meant on how to "use your weapons," he went into more detail about his displeasure.

"Come on, man. It's common sense," he said. "Football is football. I'm the only one in the league that don't travel no more. I don't understand why when I was travelling other years. I don't understand."

Bettcher has had his top cornerbacks travel with receivers in the past, including in Arizona when he used Patrick Peterson in that role. But he's dealing with serious limitations with the Giants. It's a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't situation.

Jenkins has been starting alongside struggling rookie cornerbacks DeAndre Baker and Corey Ballentine. He has allowed a passer rating against of 56.3 as the nearest defender this season, by far the best among the Giants cornerbacks who have logged significant playing time, according to Next Gen Stats. Baker has a 120.1 passer rating against him and Ballentine 136.5.

It hasn't prompted Jenkins to talk with Bettcher about his desire to travel with other teams' top receivers.

"Nah, I'm playing within the scheme," he said. "I ain't got to complain. ... I just want to play football.

"Sometimes you ain't got to say too much. For what? It's football. It's common sense. I play on the left side of the field. All game. I get two passes a game. Come on, bro. Common sense. Everybody in the league who got the top corner, they travel. Rabbit don't travel no more. Come on."

Jenkins' feelings were clear. He believes it would benefit the Giants to try to lock down the opposition's top pass-catching threats.

"He's been around. That's his opinion," veteran safety Antoine Bethea said. "Obviously, [Jenkins], he's a good cover corner for us, and we're just looking for ways where he can help this defense, and if he feels that is one way we can improve, that is his opinion."

Jenkins had good coverage onMarquez Valdes-Scantlingdeep down the right sideline in the second quarter on Sunday. He was also flagged for a costly holding penalty on a third down in the second quarter. Otherwise, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn't attack Jenkins often. He went elsewhere.

Jenkins allowed one completion for 4 yards on four targets when he was the nearest defender on Sunday. As the Giants (2-10) lost their eighth straight game, it left Jenkins without answers as to why he's not being used differently.

"I don't know. You have to ask [Bettcher]," he said. "I don't know. I don't know. I'm just here to play football. Play within the scheme."

The scheme called for Jenkins to follow some top receivers earlier this season. It didn't work in Week 3 when matched against Tampa Bay's Mike Evans, who finished with eight catches for 190 yards and three touchdowns, mostly against Jenkins.

But it has worked on other occasions. Jenkins was known for locking down former Dallas Cowboys top receiver Dez Bryant early in his Giants career.

Jenkins said there have been "convos" with other top receivers this season about not travelling with them, although he did not divulge exactly what they entailed.

The Giants entered Sunday with the 27th-ranked pass defense. They are tied with the Packers for the league lead in having allowed 14 pass plays of 40 yards or more this season.