EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Janoris Jenkins is humble enough and smart enough not to call himself the best cornerback in the NFL.
So let Los Angeles Rams coach Jeff Fisher speak for the former free agent whom the New York Giants signed in the offseason to a five-year, $62.5 million contract.
In discussing Sunday’s game between the Giants (3-3) and Rams (3-3) in London, Fisher was glowing when asked about Jenkins, who played his first four seasons with Fisher in St. Louis.
Fisher wanted Jenkins back with the Rams this season, but it seemed the team could not match the Giants’ offer, which included a $10 million signing bonus and a $28 million guarantee.
“He played really well for us. He overcame a couple of injury things,” Fisher said. “I’m just saying to reiterate, but I think you’d be hard pressed to find a corner in this league who’s playing better than he is.
“When asked to man up and cover, he’s a shutdown corner. When asked to match up with the top receivers, he does it, he plays both sides. When asked to be patient and play zone and play within the scheme, he does it. I’m happy for him, but not happy for us.”
Jenkins has not only played well for the Giants, he has been indispensable because of injuries to first-round draft pick Eli Apple and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Apple has been inactive in two of the past three games with hamstring and groin injuries, while Rodgers-Cromartie missed the Minnesota game with a groin injury and has gutted his way through the past two games against Green Bay and Baltimore.
Jenkins has the Giants only two interceptions this season, and he played the shutdown role on Dez Bryant in the season-opening win against Dallas.
“I am just playing football and doing what I do,” Jenkins said after practice Wednesday when asked about Fisher’s comments. “That is a nice compliment, but I am just going to stay focused and continue to play football.”
Jenkins said he lets other people worry about where he ranks among cornerbacks.
“I think I have played good. I can play better,” he said. “Nothing major, but just keep improving every week.”
If Jenkins is asked to match up on Sunday, he will probably cover Kenny Britt. The former Rutgers receiver ranks fifth in the NFC with 492 yards receiving. He has 30 catches and two touchdowns.
“Kenny, he is physical, he is big, he is going to give you a lot of pushing and shoving, but we just have to go out there and play football,” Jenkins said.
Giants receiver Victor Cruz said Jenkins has a knack for understanding routes and playing the ball well.
“He understands the ball in the air, he really can play it while it is in the air, whether it is a breakup or an interception, he knows how to close that gap,” Cruz said.
“He has that speed to close that gap and get to the football. I am happy that he is on our team, happy he is making plays and doing some really great things.
Fisher remembers walking into a defensive meeting with the Rams and always seeing Jenkins in the front row.
“He’s a student, he studies, he competes, quietly,” Fisher said. “He’s got great ball skills and he’s playing really well.”
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