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Slauson vs. Jenkins Battle Has Some Plot Twists

Posted by Randy Lange on October 27, 2010 – 5:20 pm

A number of intriguing matchups are presenting themselves for Sunday’s Jets-Packers tangle at the Meadowlands. One of them involves a guard that Rex Ryan has elevated on the praise meter going up against a defensive tackle that Kris Jenkins thinks the world of. More explanation follows.

The guard is Matt Slauson, and the Jets head coach presented him today with one of his Rexy awards.

“I think Matt’s as good a left guard as there is in our division,” Ryan said at today’s news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “So when you put him up against the Miami kid, Incognito, or the kid at Buffalo, the short-armed kid, Levitre, something like that, Slauson’s right there with them. Now if New England gets Logan Mankins back, he’s clearly the best guard, but right now Slauson, in my opinion, I’ll take him over any of these guards in our division.”

Slauson probably doesn’t have an incentive in his contract for being the best starting left guard in the AFC East according to his head coach. But the second-year man is pleased just the same.

“It was a nice thing to say, it was a great thing to hear,” he said this afternoon in front of his locker. “But I know I’m still young and I know I can be playing so much better. I have a lot of growing and I’ve just got to keep on working.”

The work this week in some part involves preparing to go up against an NFC defensive tackle on the rise in Cullen Jenkins. The last name is no coincidence — Cullen is the 6’2″, 305-pound, 29-year-old kid brother of Big Jenks, the 6’4″, 350-pound, 31-year-old Jets DT.

Kris, we all know, is on injured reserve for a second season, but he’s doing well in his early left knee rehab, he’s coming off a terrific turn on the CBS NFL Today panel before Sunday’s games, and he had a bit of a scouting report on his brother as he visited with reporters today.

“Cullen’s always been a lot quicker than me, more naturally gifted,” Kris said. “I know a lot of people look at me as being a beast or whatever when I’m on the field. With the type of athletic ability he has, he definitely has the potential to be a high-caliber player in this league.”

“I know he’s a great player,” said Slauson. “Obviously he’s Kris’ brother. I know what Kris does, and if he’s half of what Kris is, he’s going to be a handful and a half.”

But there are two wrinkles in this potential interior line slugfest. One is Cullen Jenkins’ calf injury. He aggravated it during warmups before the Sunday night game against Minnesota and wound up as a DNP against the Vikings. And he is listed on the Packers’ injury report today as limited at practice with the injury.

Kris says as far as he knows, Cullen will be ready to roll on Sunday.

“I think he thinks so,” Big Jenks reported. “But he’s honestly not going to share that with me just because I’m the enemy for this week and he is the younger brother, so he always tries to take advantage of the situation to be able to show up his brother.”

Slauson said he’s preparing for perhaps a three-headed DT — Jenkins as well as second-year man Jarius Wynn and rookie C.J. Wilson.

As for picking Kris Jenkins’ brain on how to approach Cullen, Slauson said, “I don’t really want to get into any of that because you never know. Players change on a weekly basis. There’s been a lot of times where I’ve watched film and I say, ‘OK, this is this guy’s go-to move,’ and I get into the game and he doesn’t do it at all, or he uses it twice.”

“I don’t know sometimes what to believe when it comes out of his mouth,” Big Jenks said of Little Jenks. “I just take it all with a grain of salt and I tell everybody to make sure you watch film and see what he’s going to do.”

One thing is certain: Slauson’s been doing everything the Jets had hoped and more in stepping in for Alan Faneca between C Nick Mangold and T D’Brickashaw Ferguson. He got beaten for a sack on opening night by Baltimore’s Haloti Ngata. But as Ryan said, “I’ve got news for you — Ngata makes maybe everybody look average. He’s got a chance to be Defensive Player of the Year, in my opinion.”

And ever since, Slauson has been improving in leaps and bounds. He’s a great story to document, one minute admitting he was “scared every day all throughout the offseason” about not wanting to be the line’s weak link, the next minute saying, “I knew in my heart that I was going to win the job.”

“My goal wasn’t to come out and be mediocre. It was to come in, replace a Hall of Fame guard and play as good as he did,” Slauson said. “Last year we were the No. 1 rushing team in the NFL, a great pass-blocking team, and I didn’t want to take a step back., And I feel like not only have I not done that but that we’ve gotten better as a group.”

Rex Cetera

Ryan lists only three players on today’s first injury report of the week: Calvin Pace (foot), limited, and Mangold (shoulder) and CB Darrelle Revis (hamstring) as full practicers. “We’re healthy coming off that bye week and ready to roll,” said Rex.

The Packers list nine injured players, including eight starters who were limited or worse at today’s practice: Out — ROLB Brad Jones; Did Not Practice — WR Donald Driver (quad) and LDE Ryan Pickett (ankle); Limited — LT Chad Clifton (knee), RT Mark Tauscher (shoulder), CB Charles Woodson (toe), FS Nick Collins (knee) and Jenkins.

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Posted in Randy Lange | 14 Comments »

14 Responses to “Slauson vs. Jenkins Battle Has Some Plot Twists”

  1. By Arte Old School Section 327 on Oct 27, 2010 | Reply

    Well it looks like the beginning of our season on Sunday all over again JetNation.. We are ready to rock n’ roll with a full, healthy squad on Halloween.. I see our best game this year this Sunday.. I see Mark getting back to his consistent play.. ie NO int’s.. I see the defense setting a standard for the rest of the year by establishing itself as the #1 in the league once again.. What I mostly believe is how Darrell will pick-off (literally) where he left off last year as the best player in the NFL.. When we shut them down on third (and long) down, we are pretty much unbeatable.. This game will be in our hands from the first play on and we will control both sides of the ball.. 1Loss All Year By 1Point.. See you in Dallas :-)

  2. By IRA on Oct 27, 2010 | Reply

    Slauson deserves all the credit that Rex talked about. All those that were worried about Faneca look at how this has worked out. Callahan knew what he had and did a great job getting him ready. Ducasse will be moved back to his natural position next year at RT.

  3. By KENO on Oct 27, 2010 | Reply

    We’re well on our way to being 10-1 and all i can say is GO JETS!!!!!!!!!!

  4. By Hans on Oct 27, 2010 | Reply

    Arte, ya can’t realistically expect the Sanchize to not throw picks. Not saying it wouldn’t be hella nice, but its part of the game. There WILL be picks, just a matter of when. Now what I WOULD realistically expect is for him to maintain his level head, let the two picks that happened in denver go and just keep ball control.

  5. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

    I’m not ready to declare Slauson an All-Pro yet. But I will say that like with all the other young guys we’ve recently asked to take on big roles early in their careers — Mangold, Ferguson, Revis, and now Sanchez and Greene — he’s shown that you don’t get anywhere in this league by trading for cast-off or overpriced veterans and fearing putting the guys you drafted on the field and seeing how they’ll do. So far we’ve been a lot more right than wrong about the guys we’ve drafted and given a chance to in the last decade or so.

  6. By Mike Jet Vet on Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

    Always knew Slauson would become a good guard from the way he filled in last year a few plays in one game or another he held his own against some very good players and now that hes plugged in full time he’ll only get better … Big jenks and Little Jenks Glad I didn’t have to feed them boys ouch ouch and OUCH

  7. By Jets Fanatic on Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

    Can’t wait to be in Dallas in the new stadium laughing at the people who under estimated us. Way to go Slauson.. 6-1 babyy it can only get better..

  8. By Arte Old School on Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

    “The biggest thing we talked about coming out of the bye was starting a new streak of being turnover-free,” Woody said. “We had a couple of slip-ups in the Denver game, so we want to start a new streak as far as eliminating turnovers. That’s going to be key against this team.” See you in Dallas :-) (PS..sssshhhhh :-)

  9. By Ray on Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

    Ira if I’m not mistaken that was mainly you and Frank that were bemoaning the loss of Faneca. In fact, you wanted us to keep Faneca until the end of the pre-season before cutting him. Imagine now if we had gone that route. By giving Slauson the whole pre-season, he was allowed to make his mistakes and learn before the games counted. Of course, the one mistake he made against Carolina was almost a major disaster, but since then he has been solid.
    Now, hopefully Rex talking him up doesn’t go to his head. Six games doesn’t a season nor career make. But if he keeps developing like he has and if Ducasse pans out at RT…… we have a line that could be together and dominant for years!!

  10. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

    NIce one on Slauson to Ira, Ray. I love Ira and all Jets fans but he punked a little on this one.

  11. By Mike Jet Vet on Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

    Yep agreed Ray 100% and Tom 64 same 100% just once I’d like to see (and I mean no disrespect) Ira take a stand and stick to it and stop apologizing for some of these guys who need a good kick start without the excuses on why there not earning there $$$ .. That said all in all Ira does bring good insight and contributes some interesting information to the blog

  12. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

    Similarly, MJV, though not directed specifically at Ira, I see that Rex admitted today that Wilson’s having trouble picking up our complex D and that we may have “rushed him in there.” So where are those folks now who didn’t think it was really bad that Wilson didn’t get to focus on only his nickel position this summer because with Revis holding out, he had to try to learn corner, too?

  13. By Ray on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    I enjoy everyones posts on here, even when I don’t agree with them. I only wish I could have Ira’s seemingly eternal positive outlook on everything Jets. We all have our moments in here. I tend to waffle on VG because he is an OSU boy and I am in Columbus. On the one hand I was happy they drafted him and had high hopes. On the other hand I, like everyone else, is frustrated and disappointed that he hasn’t, and looks like he never will, pan out.

  14. By mark from Rochester on Oct 31, 2010 | Reply

    If someone uses the excuse that the Jets were rusty you are treating them like children. They make big big money. They are professionals. 4 drop passes is unexceptable. Has anyone that has ever been shut out won a Super Bowl?

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