After spending the first seven years of his career with the Green Bay Packers and the last two with the Philadelphia Eagles, the biggest adjustment that Cullen Jenkins needed to make as a member of the Giants was the jersey color.
"I actually like the blue. It's different," Jenkins told reporters on Monday. "My wife said the same thing, that they can finally get some jerseys this year that look a little better."
Jenkins has always been part of teams that had Super Bowl aspirations heading into the season, but last year's Eagles team was a big disappointment. Philadelphia went 4-12, which was the team's first losing record since 2005. The Giants are coming off a mediocre season of their own, but the expectations for 2013 could not be higher.
"I definitely like the fact that it's a winning environment and they expect so much," said Jenkins, "The past is the past and I wasn't here for a lot of it. But one thing I know is what's expected this year, and that's what we have to do."
If the Giants are to get back to the Super Bowl this season, improving the rush defense will be a key. Last season, New York allowed 129.1 rushing yards per game, which was eighth-worst in the NFL. That's why in the offseason general manager Jerry Reese brought in Jenkins and his Eagles' teammate Mike Patterson in free agency in addition to drafting Johnathan Hankins out of Ohio State. Rush defense is clearly a priority for New York, even with the NFL becoming a passing league.
"That's what you've got to do. I know firsthand what will happen if you're not stopping the run," said Jenkins, "If you're not getting the sticks in your favor, if you don't have the score in your favor in the game."
"The D-line is a pretty deep unit. Between the ends that can play inside or out, the tackles that can do the same and move around; there's a lot of different player types on this team. There's some great players in there. I really like the group."
That group is going to be very important if the Giants are going to improve their defense this season.