Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant fired back early Friday morning at Janoris Jenkins for comments the Giants cornerback made in February. Ahh, the joys of social media.
Responding to a tweet yours truly posted on Feb. 9 that said, “Janoris Jenkins explains how he shut down Dez Bryant last season” with a link to a story with Jenkins’ comments, Bryant wrote, “Bra they play cover 5 damn near the whole time… put his ass 1 on 1 the whole game… I will embarrass him… (Giants defensive coordinator Steve) Spagnuolo know.”
That tweet was sent at 12:12 a.m. ET. Someone must have alerted Bryant that he was responding to a two-month old tweet because he deleted his inflammatory tweet (but nothing is ever really deleted on the internet). He then tweeted at 4:52 a.m., “I jumped the gun on my last tweet… I thought it was recent & thought he kept going on about it… I’m still looking forward to our battle.”
Bryant’s explanation is believable because my tweet from February got some traction on Thursday afternoon, presumably because the Giants are scheduled to play the Cowboys in the season opener.
But Bryant’s retraction doesn’t change his original message. He claims that he’d embarrass Jenkins if the Giants matched them up 1-on-1.
The Giants aren’t likely to change their coverage this season. They held Bryant to one catch for eight yards in the Giants’ 20-19 win in last season’s opener. Bryant then had one catch for 10 yards, which Jenkins promptly stripped for a crucial fumble, in the Giants’ 10-7 win over the Cowboys in Week 14.
Jenkins primarily covered Bryant in both games, but the Cowboys receiver isn’t wrong that there was typically safety help over the top. Here’s a breakdown of how the Giants shut down Bryant in the opener.
Jenkins was unusually candid in explaining how he had so much success covering Bryant during an interview with Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan before the Super Bowl.
“I played better than he played,” Jenkins said. “For real, though, to be honest, when you look at film and you break down your opponents and the receivers that you’re facing, you notice what they like to do. Take away the slant and the dig, and when they get in 21 personnel and Dez is inside the numbers, you take away the corner post. He doesn’t have nothing else.”
Jenkins said he was primarily concerned with a slant route when the Cowboys had third-and-medium. If the Cowboys had third-and-long, Jenkins knew a dig route was coming. If Jenkins pressed Bryant in man-coverage, a fade route was typically the response.
“Everything’s got to be a double move to get him open because he’s not fast,” Jenkins said.
Providing such detail about his approach could backfire on Jenkins.
“I’ve got to play Dez two times a year for the next five years so out of those five years, I’m not always going to have a lock-down game against Dez,” Jenkins said. “I understand that. When he does get the best of me, he got the best of me. I can’t be mad. But I’m going to see him again.”
Only 142 days until their next matchup.