With his third season on the Green & White officially in the books, Jets outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins can look back knowing he made significant progress as a pass rusher.
“I guess one of the biggest differences is in the sack column. I had almost three times as many sacks as I had my rookie year, and that’s just the biggest difference,” Jenkins said. “That just shows all of the time and effort I put in this offseason and the past offseason.”
In his third professional campaign, Jenkins posted 7.0 sacks in comparison to his 2016 and 2017 seasons where he accumulated 5.5 sacks combined (2.5 in 2016, 3 in 2017). And although numbers aren’t necessarily everything, the 24-year-old adapted his approach and his production changed.
“It definitely took a lot of rethinking. There are times where it’s just like inside and you’re like, ‘Man I’m not getting sacks, I’m not getting these numbers. Am I really a pass rusher or am I just a run stopper?’” Jenkins said. “It’s really just staying focused and staying true to the technique that KG taught us and staying true to some stuff that I learned from Chuck Smith. Just trying to put it all together.”
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Jenkins has had the ability to acquire techniques and build on his skills with the tutelage of OLB coach Kevin Greene in two out of his three seasons as a professional. A Hall of Famer, Greene’s 160 sacks are the most produced by any linebacker in NFL history. The 6’3”, 259-pound Jenkins was part of a Jets defense this season that tied for 16th in sacks (39.0) but also finished just 26th against the run (126.3 Yds/G). Jenkins, who often lines up over the opposition's tight end, has a critical role on the defense of setting the edge and turning things back inside where the traffic resides.
“I definitely want to be more consistent in the pass rushing game. There are some games where I didn’t have one hit getting off the quarterback, or where I wouldn’t beat an offensive lineman,” said Jenkins, who tied Henry Anderson for the team high in sacks and also had nine tackles for loss and forced a pair of fumbles while being in on 660 plays. “There are also games where I’ve had misfits in my run. Next season I just want to fix that and be a consistent linebacker, consistent pass rusher game in and game out all season.”
While techniques can be modified, Jenkins believes motor remains the most important tool in his bag.
“In this year, I really learned that you can go out there and compete with the best of them. Even the greats. Honestly anybody can go out there and get sacks,” he said. “You don’t have to be the fastest, you don’t have to be the strongest, you don’t have to be the quickest. You’ve just gotta have a hunter’s heart and keep staying alive.”