|Jenkins has bolstered Jets' run defense in big way|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 13 October 2008 13:16|
The New York Jets' suddenly stingy defense is ranked third in the NFL against the run and is allowing just 69 yards rushing per game, a dramatic improvement from the last few seasons.
``Wow, that's pretty good,'' the Jets' linebacker said Monday. ``I know that it's been a concentrated effort and guys have been taking it personal and trying to get it done, so it's a good feeling. But the season is just getting going and we need to continue to get better.''
The Jets held Cincinnati to 43 yards rushing on 21 carries in a 26-14 victory Sunday, and Arizona had just 42 yards on 15 carries in New York's 56-35 win two weeks ago. The last time the Jets held teams in consecutive games to under 50 yards rushing was in 1993.
good job of controlling the ball, which has been giving us some much-needed rest. You have to give them credit for that.''
Actually, much of the credit has been heaped upon Jenkins, who was acquired from Carolina in the offseason with the idea that he'd immediately improve the team's ability to stop the run. New York ranked 29th in the league in run defense, allowing 134.8 yards rushing per game last season. The Jets were only slightly better two years ago, when they were ranked 24th and gave up 130.2 yards rushing a game.
``We came into the season knowing that we weren't that good at that in the past two years,'' Barton said. ``We wanted to get that done and everybody's doing whatever it takes to get that done, whether it's studying, lifting, running, whatever it is. That's always in the back of people's heads.''
At 6-foot-4 and 349 pounds, Jenkins is a brick wall of a man who usually takes up two blockers - and deflects all the praise.
``With the defense, you have to realize that there are 11 people,'' Jenkins said. ``A lot of people look at it like, 'Oh, you came to New York, so you stop the run.' I wish I could take all the credit, but there are 11 people out there and I'm not making every single tackle. I'm just doing what I can as a player to help out that group.''
ing the Jets have allowed is 107 against San Diego - a game Jenkins left early with a back injury.
``What he's doing, I've never seen anything like it before,'' said Barton, a former college teammate at Maryland.
``I love sitting on that sideline and looking at teams continue to hit their head against the middle of that defense,'' added fullback Tony Richardson. ``I know I wouldn't want to see all that weight in the middle every time you hand the ball off. It's exciting to see those guys play.''
The Jets acquired Jenkins from Carolina for third- and fifth-round draft picks after two seasons of unsuccessfully trying to convert 315-pound lineman Dewayne Robertson into a nose tackle. Confident Jenkins could learn a new position after being a three-time Pro Bowl selection as a defensive lineman, New York signed him to a five-year, $35 million contract extension.
``In a lot of games, I've always been targeted as the guy that they say we've got to get out of the way,'' Jenkins said. ``Usually, I get doubled-teamed a lot. I get a lot of the misdirection plays. That's why a lot of people look at it and ask me the question, 'How do you handle it?' It's really not handling it. It's just the experience of always getting so much thrown at me, so many double teams and so many misdirections, so much stuff that I've just become used to dealing with it.''
complacent. They'll have their hands full over the next few weeks with Oakland's Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden, Kansas City's Larry Johnson, Buffalo's Marshawn Lynch and St. Louis' Steven Jackson.
``You can't be satisfied,'' Jenkins said, ``because the minute that you start to build yourself up a little too much, that's when someone comes and kicks your butt.''