Kris Jenkins and Geoff Hangartner will have plenty of time to reacquaint themselves with each other Sunday at the Meadowlands. Jenkins, the 6'4", 360-pound nose tackle in his second season with the Jets, and Hangartner, the 6'5", 301-pound center in his first season with the Bills, were Carolina teammates from 2005-07.
"He was known as a real hustle guy. He'd grind it out and does whatever he can to make some things happen," Jenkins said of Hangartner. "It's kind of cool because you see guys like that, especially when you get older, and you get to kind of see where they're at as far as their career is concerned, so I'm definitely looking forward to it."
At 30, Big Jenks is actually only three years older than Hangartner. But the Green & White figure to have a huge advantage in the interior Sunday because it's going to be a tall order for Hangartner and the Bills' rookie guards, Eric Wood and Adam Levitre, to contain Jenkins. He can't be blocked by one man and Jenks surely has to make Trent Edwards a little uneasy after his 1.5-sack, three-hurry performance up in Buffalo last November.
"With 'Han' — and I say Han instead of Hangartner — they kind of at this point don't have the gears under them. It's a younger group," Jenkins told newyorkjets.com. "They like to fly around a lot more. They're going to hustle and try to show why they deserve to play at this level. They're going to definitely fly around and try to make plays and things like that. They look like they work real hard."
Jenkins, a three-time Pro Bowl starter now in his ninth professional season, has been a dominant force throughout the Jets' 3-2 start. He's been moved around a lot more in the past and received a game ball after his 4.5 stops behind the line in the win over Tennessee. He has been credited with 12 tackles, five tackles behind the line and four QB hits on the season.
Frankly, the Bills' rookie guards have a mammoth challenge in front of them.
"I know when I was that age, I got up for games like that. Those were things that excited me and that's one of the things that I've experienced since I've gotten older," Jenks said. "This is not to pat myself on the back, but when I play against people, I'm going to get their best because they want to go out there and say you know I did this or I did that. It's actually me who has to make sure that I maintain doing things at a certain level because I know that they will be trying to show their stuff."
Edwards has been sacked 18 times on the season, the second-most sacks of a QB in the league. Conversely, the Jets are tied for last defensively with just four sacks. Something has to give and you'd be crazy to think that Rex Ryan isn't thinking of sending everything but Fireman Ed at Edwards on Sunday.
"If we can do it, we definitely need to get some pressure," Jenkins said. "I think that's something we can definitely improve on because I don't think the amount of sacks we're getting is up to par."
If Edwards feels the heat, he'll look to check down early to both Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson. The Bills, who own the NFL's 10th-ranked rushing offense, rely heavily on their backs in the passing game. Edwards has absorbed a lot of hits and he's not going to stay patient with vertical routes run by Lee Evans and Terrell Owens if the pressure is there. Jackson's 20 catches out of the backfield lead the Bills.
"I think they're one of the top tandems in the league and it shows," Jenkins said of the Bills backs. "They make a lot of plays, so why wouldn't you use those guys? Especially with our division, now you can see teams are going outside the box to do whatever works for our team and whatever works for them to have the best success on the field. Miami has the Wildcat and Buffalo has the no-huddle approach, where they're doing a lot of things to open things up for their running backs to get things done."
The no-huddle hasn't worked to this point and it wouldn't be a shock if the Bills scrapped that approach or even attempted to run some Wildcat with Jackson and Lynch manning the controls. But Hangartner and the Bills will have to find a way to slow down Jenkins, and that's easier said than done.