Displeased with losing, New York Jets linebacker Jordan Jenkins, one of the longest green veterans, is ready to change the NYJ perception.
Jordan Jenkins partook in 13 losses during his four seasons with the University of Georgia Bulldogs. It took only a year and three weeks to match that total with the New York Jets.
Jenkins was among the first New York Jets to emerge from isolation to speak publicly this week. His words when asked about the Jets’ last decade of distress, would likely be better suited for HBO rather than NFL Network or SNY. But Jets fans of all ages may nonetheless see them as essential listening.
“I know that the Jets didn’t have really a winning history and it really sucks that in the last four years we couldn’t get it done,” Jenkins remarked in a report from SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano.” But me being back here, been here four going on five years, and I’m tired of (expletive) losing so, you know, now just gotta ramp (expletive) up and, you know, try and get the ball rolling.”
“No one is used to losing, and no one likes losing,” Jenkins continued, this quote from Olivia Landis of NYJets.com. “The sentiment is, losing sucks and no one wants to come out here and play a game just to lose every game. Ultimately, we want to go out there and win. I’m not from New York, but I’m pretty sure they’re tired of it too.”
For all of the losses the Jets have suffered in Jenkins’ tenure, the linebacker has been a rare silver lining of consistency since his arrival as a third-round pick (83rd overall) in 2016. Over the past two seasons, Jenkins is one of 17 outside linebackers throughout the league to earn at least 15 sacks.
Contrary to popular belief, Jamal Adams wasn’t the Jets’ 2019 sack master wasn’t the departed Jamal Adams, but rather Jenkins, who earned a career-best eight quarterback takedowns (good for sixth amongst AFC linebackers). Among those sacks was a vital third-down stop of Daniel Jones in the battle of MetLife Stadium last November. Jenkins’ strong efforts were rewarded with a new single-year contract worth $3.75 million.
That showdown against the Giants led to a rare win in Jenkins’ era. Since 2016, only the Cleveland Browns have a worse winning percentage than the Jets.
“No one is used to losing, and no one likes losing,” Jenkins said in Landis’ report. “The sentiment is, losing sucks and no one wants to come out here and play a game just to lose every game. Ultimately, we want to go out there and win. I’m not from New York, but I’m pretty sure they’re tired of it too.”
Set to enter his fifth season in green, several releases have transformed Jenkins into the longest-tenured Jet alongside fellow defender Steve McLendon. Jenkins’ role as a team leader will likely only increase with Adams traded and linebacker compatriot C.J. Mosley opting out of 2020. With so many newcomers in tow, many of whom are inexperienced and raw, the Jets need some semblance of sanity to work their way through an AFC full of changing offenses.
Jenkins’ skills in the pass rush may be more vital than ever with new developments in the AFC East. Recent NFL Top 100 Players nominee Josh Allen returns to Buffalo, New England filled the Tom Brady-sized gap with former NFL MVP Cam Newton, and Miami drafted former national champion Tua Tagovailoa. Each of the newcomers has been shown to be capable of changing the course of games through the air and on the ground.
The linebacker believes that the Georgia alum is more than ready to accept the challenge and be that source.
“That’s, honestly, a really great factor for this defense. We’ve got some new faces in here and being able to have the same defensive scheme,” Jenkins said of Williams and his system through Matt Howe of 247Sports. “It sort of puts you ahead of the ball. And the way we do stuff, the way we go through the plays and whatnot, we’re ahead of the curve than we were this time last year.”
“Having Gregg back is going to be a great asset to the defense. It gives guys comfort in that you already know what you’re supposed to do, so go out there and just do it.”
Head coach Adam Gase himself was high on the idea of Jenkins making a bigger impact in the New York stoppage.
“Jordan has these subtle, little pass-rush moves that guys sometimes don’t understand that he’s really effective with,” Gase remarked upon Jenkins recommitment to the Jets. “He gets his hands on you and then he throws you. He’s a very strong player.”
“The sack is never good enough for him. He’s always trying to get the ball out.”
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags