The Rams game Sunday was another breakthrough for a guy who at the end of last season became the Green Bay Packers’ starting right defensive end and performed so well he earned a four-year, $16 million contract. After a good start to the season against Philadelphia (five tackles, four quarterback hits, one tackle for loss, one pass defensed), Jenkins has not been right physically, suffering from wrist, rib, knee and ankle ailments.
None of them have been serious enough to cause him to miss a game, but they have been nagging enough to rob him of his best tool: an explosive first step. The worst were ankle and knee injuries he suffered against Washington when he got “high-lowed” by a pair of blockers and twisted up his right leg.
The ankle hasn’t been the same since. His defensive line coaches, Carl Hairston and Robert Nunn, have pushed him to play through the pain and to understand that he can be a productive player, even if he’s not 100%. Jenkins, who has one sack this year and 16 quarterback hits, has had trouble getting through it, in part because he’s never been hurt before.
Posts Tagged ‘Cullen Jenkins’
Good post over at Cheesehead.tv on Cullen Jenkins and his disappearance this year. Aaron writes:
Over the years, he’s developed a killer first step that has allowed him to penetrate into the opponents backfield at least two or three times a game to blow up whatever play the offense was trying to run. But this season, those plays have been completely absent. I’m not sure if it’s because teams are combo-blocking him more on the inside (which I doubt) or if he’s playing through some pretty significant injuries (which I suspect is the case). Either way, the Packers haven’t had a sack in two games, and that is disconcerting heading into the playoffs. If teams can just set up a tight end to Kampman’s side and a back to KGB’s side, without fear of getting a push up the middle, the Packers could be in trouble. They have to figure out a way to get pressure from the interior of the line, including from Jenkins or Corey Williams, or it will come back to bite them come playoff time.
I think Aaron is right. Jenkins has reportedly been battling injuries all year and his coaches has noted this several times in explaining his drop-off in play from last year and training camp. That said, he was not on the injury report again this week.
There is another possibility: Is Jenkins the new Cletidius Hunt? Packers fans remember Hunt’s lack of motivation and playmaking the year after he signed his big contract. This off-season, Jenkins signed a four-year, $16 million deal that ensured he’d stay in Green Bay. Is he letting up now that he’s gotten paid?