No New Orleans Saints defensive player might have been more underutilized last season than safety Malcolm Jenkins. Jenkins lined up what seemed like a mile away from the line of scrimmage in the scheme architected by then-defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, essentially serving as the last line of defense. Nothing exotic. Nothing like he saw his first three seasons in New Orleans when he was most known for coming up with game-changing plays at nearly every turn in Gregg Williams' aggressive scheme. Jenkins described his role in 2012 as "cleanup duty" in center field. "That was pretty boring for me," Jenkins said. It also wasn't effective on a historically poor defense as Jenkins made an uncomfortable amount of tackles for a free safety, 94 total stops in only 13 games. Entering Week 8 of this season, there's probably not a better example of a player benefiting from the change to Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator than Jenkins. The performance of the team's first-round pick in 2009 is one of the major reasons for the defense's turnaround, which, in turn, has helped spur the NFC South-leading Saints to a 5-1 record as they prepare to face the Buffalo Bills (3-4) on Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Linebacker Curtis Lofton dubbed Jenkins' role in Ryan's defense as "Mr. Versatility." On any given series Jenkins might be lined up in a traditional safety spot; the next snap, Jenkins could be in press coverage against a slot wide receiver; another snap, he might blitz off the edge.
Saints benefitting greatly from safety Malcolm Jenkins' increased role on defense
New Orleans Times-Picayune | Oct 26