We're back with Part Two of today's Around the AFC East feature, in which we interview - and are subsequently interviewed by - our most heated rivals' bloggers. Joining us now is Brian Bassett of The Jets Blog, who is here to discuss the Jets' new big man anchoring their 3-4 defense:
You've spoken about Alan Faneca and Tony Richardson as important off-season additions for the Jets (and I'm not disputing that), but I thought by far their most interesting import was NT Kris Jenkins. Can Jenkins stay healthy enough to play your defense's most important position for the foreseeable future? Do you see him having an impact?
The Jets Blog: The contract that the team put in place with Jenkins has many incentive bonuses and one specifically where he is weighed over 10 times a year to make sure that he's no higher than 360 pounds. Jenkins has responded well to the incentive and has been keeping his weight where the team wants him, and he's noted how much better he feels and how he feels it will extend his career. Anything can happen, but at least the Jets have put the right motivators in place, and Jenkins has responded.
As far as his impact, he's the type of player that the team has needed, even before they switched to the 3-4, and over the past two years has proven even more so. Job Gruden gave Eric Mangini a "big hug" when he saw him shortly after the trade, saying he was so relieved to have Jenkins out of his division. Jenkins will free up Kenyon Coleman and Shaun Ellis, allowing them to contain the run better, along with the inside backers. This team has struggled against the run, and as of this year, there will be no excuse.
I'm not convinced. Jenkins is ultra-talented - in fact, he might be the most talented defensive tackle in the league - but he hasn't played like it in a few years. Maybe a team swap will serve as sufficient motivation, maybe not. Jenkins got a huge new contract for pretty average defensive tackle work, so that motivation may be removed. I'm not comfortable with him in the division, but I doubt Turk Schonert is having sleepless nights, either. Jenkins is a bit of a gamble by the Jets, but he is certainly an upgrade over Dewayne Robertson.
One more installment of Around the AFC East coming this afternoon, as we'll talk with MaPatsFan of Pats Pulpit.