He might not be a part of the long-term, master plan in New Orleans, but he’s a darn good player and will be missed.
The loss of former New Orleans Saints cornerback Janoris Jenkins was necessary for the young team to move forward in building a new supporting cast around a younger team. But he undoubtedly leaves a hole of production behind that won’t be a cake walk to replace.
This isn’t the only quality player the Saints had to let go of to save money, as Malcom Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Kwon Alexander were both cut this offseason. But Jenkins was especially valuable and super-reliable when it came to stepping up in times of need.
Jenkins provided #1 corner-esque play when Marshon Lattimore was getting toasted in the first half of the season, while consistently producing in the second half of the year as a #2 corner.
It’s obvious that this is a good player the Saints are losing to the Titans. But what exact skills and contributions will need to be filled to replicate his production at an important position next season?
Here’s my two cents on the most vital ingredients he added to the team:
Right after JJ was signed, former Saints defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn said in a presser that Jenkins’ presence allowed him to be more creative in matching up with opposing receivers. He said he preferred Janoris on smaller, shiftier guys, while he liked Marshon on bigger receivers.
We saw this play out against the Buccaneers, where Lattimore was obviously stuck on Mike Evans and Jenkins was sticking with the smaller Antonio Brown.
He has the tracking speed and lateral quickness to execute these tasks successfully, more times than not, only allowing a 60% catch rate on 12.9 YPC last year.
On the play displayed above, they have a 3×3 zone look with Lattimore locked on to Mike Evans. They like to do this when they feel comfortable with Lattimore’s matchup, as it basically cuts the field in half if he can hold up.
But another reason they felt comfortable doing this is because they no that no matter what, they #2 receiver probably isn’t going to out-class Janoris. And AB isn’t able to here.
He also does a good job of communicating with Marcus Williams to take the post deep over the top, while Williams cracks down on the intermediate route. After that first half of the season, they really cleaned up their communication errors and were very sound on the back end.
And Jackrabbit was a huge part of that.
This one’s pretty straightforward. The guy gets his hands on the ball.
In 2020, he recorded six pass break-ups and three INTs, according to PFF. And for his career, he has a whopping 76 PBUs, to go along with 26 picks.
Some picks are fluky, but that consistent production is anything but. He has a burst for the ball when breaking on curl or out routes, and he has great ball skills when attacking the pigskin in the air.
Him, combined with Williams and Lattimore created a trio that was liable to pick any pass off at any time.
You can be a good corner without lucrative INT and PBU totals, but those plays that take a possession over for your team can’t be understated. Teams who win the turnover battle usually win the game. So hopefully, whoever takes Jenkins’ place at that #2 corner spot next season is capable of bringing in some of those game-changing picks.
What did you think of these guys, and how easily do you think they can be replaced? Let us know in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, follow us on Instagram at @SaintsCSC and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @AndrewBell_98.