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Coaches, teammates want New Orleans Saints rookie Malcolm Jenkins to stay aggressive

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Coaches, teammates want New Orleans Saints rookie Malcolm Jenkins to stay aggressive By Mike Triplett, The Times-Picayune December 25, 2009, 7:30AM Scott Threlkeld/The Times-Picayune New Orleans Saints rookie Malcolm Jenkins downs a Thomas Morstead fourth-quarter punt at the 2-yard line, ...

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Old 12-25-2009, 06:36 PM   #1
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Coaches, teammates want New Orleans Saints rookie Malcolm Jenkins to stay aggressive

By Mike Triplett, The Times-Picayune

December 25, 2009, 7:30AM

Scott Threlkeld/The Times-Picayune

New Orleans Saints rookie Malcolm Jenkins downs a Thomas Morstead fourth-quarter punt at the 2-yard line, which led to Anthony Hargrove forcing a fumble and returning it for a touchdown-sealing victory.All rookie cornerbacks come into the NFL with bull's-eyes on their backs.

But because of his aggressive nature, New Orelans Saints rookie Malcolm Jenkins has become an especially enticing target for opposing teams.

The physical 6-foot, 204-pounder likes to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage, and he's not afraid to jump in front of them when he anticipates quick passes. That attitude has led to a handful of big-time plays on defense and special teams this year. But Jenkins has also been burned by a handful of double moves in recent weeks as rival offenses are glad to help further his football education.

"In college, I could jump those routes or be that aggressive, but this is a different league, and they're going to take advantage of it," said Jenkins, a former All-American at Ohio State who was drafted 14th overall by the Saints. "They know how to scout you out and things like that. So they've been trying to come at me with double moves, and I've got to do a better job with my eyes and make sure I'm looking at the right keys ... And at times you've just got to be patient and choose your battles."

The Dallas Cowboys didn't wait long before they attacked Jenkins on Saturday night. On their fifth play from scrimmage, a first-and-10 from the Saints' 49-yard line, receiver Miles Austin ran 12 yards and cut to the left sideline.

Jenkins, who had been running stride for stride with Austin, changed directions to try and cut him off. But Austin turned upfield, spinning Jenkins around, and broke free for a 49-yard touchdown pass.

The Washington Redskins burned Jenkins on a similar play two weeks earlier, hitting receiver Santana Moss for a 38-yard gain on third-and-2.
"I've been through it with so many different young corners and young safeties. But he's learning from all those mistakes," said Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who said the Saints had even predicted that Dallas would take a shot against Jenkins on that opening series.

"We do some things to where we help him in coverage on certain things, but then there's certain things where it is what it is. He's out there by himself, and it was a well-designed play," Williams said. "We've just got to grow through it. And he's going to have to grow through it.

"And as a coaching staff, we were talking about this the other day, he is a good football player, and he's going to be a real good football player because he cares. He puts in the time. He's here early, he's here late. He's smart. He's prideful."

Although they know he's going to take some lumps, Jenkins' coaches and teammates say they don't want him to lose that aggressive nature.

It's one of the things the Saints liked about him coming out of college, and one of the reasons he's made so many big plays this year - such as his two forced fumbles on special teams and his first career interception at Tampa Bay last month.

That same aggressive nature is part of what makes All-Pros like Saints safety Darren Sharper and Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson special.

"You can't (lose) that attitude in the NFL, because even if you play conservative you still might get beat," said Sharper, who knows of what he speaks.

Sharper has been burned a fair share of times in his 13-year career - most recently two weeks ago at Atlanta. But he's made more than his share of game-changing plays, with 62 career interceptions and 13 career defensive touchdowns.

"He can be as aggressive as he wants to be," Sharper said. "I'll have his back."

Williams said "passive-minded" cornerbacks who play soft in coverage don't last long in the NFL.

"I'm not going to tolerate you letting them complete all the other balls on you," Williams said. "There's a fine line, and that's experience and a learning curve that he has to go through and I've got to help him with. I don't want him to back off from his aggressiveness. I want him to play smarter.

"I'm hoping there was a particular point made this week that I've had to make with a lot of other corners I've had -- a lot of first-round corners that were very aggressive just like him. The light kind of clicks on when he sees where the moves are occurring. That's a switch that tells you it's a move, not a route. In our vernacular, you don't cover moves, you cover routes.

"It's hard. It's easy to talk about, but it's hard to do."

Jenkins agreed that he wants to stay aggressive but admitted that he might need to be more judicious about it - especially early in games when the offense and defense are still getting a feel for one another.
"At times, I'm going to have to give up a 10-yarder and just play the situation of the game," Jenkins said.

Jenkins described himself as a "perfectionist," so he admitted that he's beat himself up for some of the mistakes he's made. But he said that has come in the film room, not on the field, where cornerbacks don't have time to dwell on their mistakes.

He said he feels comfortable with the playbook and all of his assignments. And he feels like he's been able to keep up with everything he's been asked to do over the past two months, as injuries have thrust him from the No. 4 cornerback job to the No. 1 cornerback job and moved him around to different spots in nickel and dime packages.

"It's just the little things that you gain through experience that I'm still trying to catch up on," Jenkins said.

Come playoff time, Jenkins will ideally return to a backup role for the Saints. Assuming starters Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter return to full health, Jenkins and veteran Randall Gay will likely compete for snaps as the nickel back.

And by then, as the saying goes, Jenkins won't be a rookie anymore.
He said he's already a better player than he was six weeks ago, thanks to both the highlights and the lowlights.

"It's been a roller coaster," Jenkins said. "I've had a couple good games, a couple bad games. So I'm just trying to find that consistency and kind of level it out.

"I would hope I'll be an asset instead of a liability (during the Saints' postseason run). I'm working hard to be able to contribute and hold up my end."

Coaches, teammates want New Orleans Saints rookie Malcolm Jenkins to stay aggressive | New Orleans Saints Central - - NOLA.com

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Old 12-26-2009, 01:02 AM   #2
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Re: Coaches, teammates want New Orleans Saints rookie Malcolm Jenkins to stay aggressive

I notice that Harper's name wasn't mentioned in that article. He has left our corners out on islands more than a few times. Not the best pass coverage safety.
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Old 12-26-2009, 09:16 AM   #3
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Re: Coaches, teammates want New Orleans Saints rookie Malcolm Jenkins to stay aggressive

Originally Posted by saintpaul25 View Post
I notice that Harper's name wasn't mentioned in that article. He has left our corners out on islands more than a few times. Not the best pass coverage safety.
I understand wut ur say'n, but i don't care how good a player u are, ur gonna get caught up every now & then, it happen's. Sumtimes u see another CB need'n help so u push that way & then next thing u know, he's going opposit field & hit'n the other WR. So thats that, **** happen's, but if it continuiosly happen's, then there's a problem.
Anyway, i personally believe Jenkin's has really progressed as a better CB. Yea, he's been burnt a few times, but as a rookie against vet's, its gonna happen. Hell, even the besy DB's get burnt here & there, but on the most past Malcom has really looked pretty good. He WILL be one of the best DB's in the future, bottom line.
Im really look'n forward to see'n Greer & Porter back on the corner's together, that WILL deeinitly boast much motivation & confidence through out the defense & the team in whole... Can't wait, we will have alot of our key player's back for the pos-season, thats awesome... We need that!!!

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Old 12-26-2009, 11:17 AM   #4
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Re: Coaches, teammates want New Orleans Saints rookie Malcolm Jenkins to stay aggressive

Rest of the defence have let him down some. Heck, the kid is a rookie who will likely move to safety anyways. I support him when he is on the field.
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