NEW YORK, NY — There is a glimmer of light from this lost New York Giants season. It may be difficult to locate through all the embarrassing moments (boy there have been plenty, including Sunday’s 31-21 loss to the previously winless San Francisco 49ers), but it is there waiting for them on the horizon where it will manifest itself in April.
The Giants (1-8) will have a really high pick in the 2018 NFL draft, possibly even No. 1. With that comes the dream of Sam Darnold, Saquon Barkley the top offensive lineman or a quarterback of their choice. It’s an enticing consolation prize from one of the worst seasons in franchise history.
The Giants are in a three-team race with the Cleveland Browns (0-9) and 49ers (1-9) for that top pick.
The past five No. 1 overall picks have been Myles Garrett, Jared Goff, Jameis Winston, Jadeveon Clowney and Eric Fisher. The No. 3 overall pick has produced Dion Jordan, Blake Bortles, Dante Fowler Jr., Joey Bosa and Solomon Thomas. So it can make a difference.
“It’s football. Played to the best of my ability. It wasn’t lack of effort,” he said. “I just think it was lack of technique and just staying focused.”
Jenkins’ critics during and after the game didn’t seem to agree with that assessment. The Pro Bowl cornerback didn’t seem affected.
“They question one game? Question the other 36. Question the other 36 games,” Jenkins said, referring to the rest of his career. “It be like that. Sometimes you don’t have the best game. Everybody knows that. One out of 36 games? I don’t care what they say.”
Whatever happened on that field Sunday prompted a meeting between Jenkins and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo earlier this week. Jenkins admitted the two were direct with each other.
The Giants’ lack of desire to finish consistently also forced McAdoo to hold a meeting Wednesday where he showed questionable moments from Sunday’s loss. Jenkins appeared on the screen, and not in a good way.
“He obviously agreed he didn’t have the best game. And he realizes that,” Spagnuolo said. “We had a good talk. Really good. He wants to do that. He’s ready to go. I love that guy.
“He’s all-in. He gives everything he’s got. He missed a few tackles. It was more technique than anything we thought looking at it. I’m sure he’ll be better this week.”
The Giants need Jenkins to resemble the player that made his first Pro Bowl last season in the first year of his lucrative new contract, not the player they saw on Sunday. Jenkins allowed an 83-yard touchdown to Marquis Goodwin and missed a tackle on Garrett Celek’s 47-yard score.
Jenkins also barely laid a hand on 49ers running back Carlos Hyde on two others plays and had miscommunication with safety Landon Collins on at least one second-half completion. It was like the player wearing No. 20 in blue wasn’t the same player from last year.
Sunday was a disastrous afternoon for Jenkins and the Giants defense, which has allowed 82 points in the past two weeks combined. Jenkins still has no regrets.
“If I do, then it might happen this week. Nah, I don’t regret them. It happened,” he said. “Can’t take it back.”
Jenkins is brushing it all off as part of his profession. Play poorly and criticism comes with the territory, he said.
He did realize it wasn’t his best game, otherwise he would’ve have needed to meet 1-on-1 with the defensive coordinator. Jenkins took blame for Goodwin’s touchdown. He said he was trying to knock the ball loose and force a fumble on one of the missed tackles. He blamed poor technique for some of the others.
“It’s always tough but as a pro you have to own up to it,” Jenkins said. “You have to understand that is a part of football and move forward.”
Jenkins will have an opportunity to make amends Sunday when the Giants host the Kansas City Chiefs. The Giants expect more from their $62.5 million cornerback.
“Overall I think he can play better,” Spagnuolo said. “He believes he can play better. He knows. We need him to play better.”