Unfortunately, his ability was not on display Sunday.
Jenkins had one of the worst games of his career in the 32-31 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was matched up against Mike Evans, the Bucs’ best receiver. Evans repeatedly embarrassed Jenkins, racking up seven receptions on 11 targets for 146 yards and three touchdowns…in the first half.
Jenkins also allowed a 44-yard Evans reception on the game’s final drive that set the Bucs for a 34-yard field goal as time expired. Matt Gay’s kick went wide right, sealing a Giants victory.
“I feel relief,” Jenkins said. “It’s OK (Evans) made a couple plays. He made a lot of plays, but we still came out with the victory.”
Evans finished with eight receptions for 190 yards and the three touchdowns.
Jenkins’ performance against Tampa came a week he allowed three critical first downs late in the fourth quarter of the loss to the Buffalo Bills. After the game, Jenkins seemingly called out his defensive teammates, particularly the front seven.
“When you’ve got time (throw) and you ain’t getting no pressure, I can’t cover nobody for 10 seconds,” Jenkins said to the media present after the Bills loss. “Who can cover somebody for 10 seconds? Go look at the first five seconds of the (specific) route. He’s not open. If you’re scrambling and there ain’t no pressure getting there, what do you want me to do? I can’t cover this side and that side. We’ve got to play football around here.”
Head coach Pat Shurmur acknowledged how words can get misconstrued.
“I don’t think that (the interview) reflects him that well,” Shurmur said. “I talked to him about how things that we say can be interpreted. He was referring to one play and not to anything in general. But I spoke to him and we discussed what should be said moving forward.”
Jenkins’ teammates also appeared to have moved on from it.
“We addressed it and nobody felt any type of way about,” safety Antoine Bethea said. “We moved on from it. Sometimes you say something and the media cannot put one word in there and make the whole statement something that it really wasn’t. We’re on the next.”
Still, it wasn’t a good look for Jenkins to get torched the way he did, especially after his comments last week. He is a former Pro Bowl cornerback who will make $10.15 million this season. The Giants left Raymond James Stadium with a win. If they hadn’t, fan perception towards Jenkins could have turned against him. However, his does have the unwavering support of the coaching staff
“This guy has worked his tail off. He cares, he’s committed,” defensive coordinator James Bettcher said. “Again, he’s worked his butt off. I think that (the comments) was taken highly out of context. I don’t think for one minute he was pointing the finger at anyone else. He wants to win and he wants to play better. Again, that’s not a comment that’s indicative of anything about the man and his preparation. We need to coach better, we need to cover better and we have to rush better.”