Jets OLB Jordan Jenkins' strong finish in 2016 helped kick off his sophomore campaign on a high note.
"I feel like it really set me up for going into this season," Jenkins said. "I was rushing a lot smoother, I was setting a lot better, making more tackles and being a lot more effective on the field. Honestly, I just let loose, let my aggression take over and just play football."
The Georgia product registered 17 tackles, four tackles for loss/no gain, 2.5 sacks and seven QB hits in Weeks 14-17. The exclamation point came in the season finale against the Bills when he strip-sacked QB EJ Manuel and recovered the ball.
In addition to completing his degree in insurance risk management, Jenkins worked with former NFL player Chuck Smith throughout the offseason with the hopes of improving his pass rush. Plus, the second-year player has a tremendous tutor in OLBs coach Kevin Greene.
"Kevin Greene is the kind of coach I always love to have," Jenkins said. "He's intense all the time. He gets after it and we feed off of each other. He's just like an old school guy. He went to Auburn so we have that SEC love, but I talk trash with him all the time. He's a great coach and I just watch him and try to replicate his technique. I've been learning how he wants things done."
Outside of soaking in Greene's knowledge through individual drills and practice during spring ball, the 6'3", 259-pounder popped in some tape of his Hall of Fame coach.
"K.G. was a monster," he said. "He used to destroy cats. He had good technique and he got after it. He wasn't the most athletic, but he was relentless, played hard and refused to be blocked."
Even though it's tough to evaluate physical positions without wearing pads, Greene liked the progression he saw from Jenkins in OTAs and minicamp, who ran with the first team defense.
"I think he's coming along," Greene said. "He's got some stuff to him, he's got some skill to him. ... I like what he brings to the table. He's tuned in."
Jenkins joked the best part of not being a rookie is he "doesn't have to go to rookie meetings all day," but he recognized his comfort level is noticeably different, something he began to feel at the end of last season.
"Even though all the all the older 'backers in the room still call me a rookie, it's a great feeling having that first year under your belt," he said. "I know the defense, I know what the speed is like and I can only try to build upon what I did last year, and try to get better this season."