- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Cullen Jenkins is still getting used to wearing blue.
“I’ve been green my whole career (with the Packers and Eagles), but I feel like I’m part of the team and I don’t even think about it anymore,” said Jenkins, 32, who signed a three-year, $8 million contract with the Giants in the offseason.
The Giants brought in the veteran defensive tackle to help stop the run; the Giants ranked 25th in the NFL in run defense last season (129.1 yards per game).
“I feel like with the players we have, we’ve got a good front to stop the run,” Jenkins said. “It’s just a matter of finishing a little better, when you’re in position, and making plays. You know we’re going to work hard and I feel like we’re going to be a lot better.”
Jenkins feels like he brings several different dimensions up front.
“Experience, and just the way I play is a little different style, a little more quicker style inside than just a lot more power and size. I’m just trying to bring in my strengths and fit in whatever way I can,” he said.
Asked where his quickness comes from, Jenkins said, “I guess just the fact that I wasn’t always big. I never played D-line until my second year in college and I never played D-tackle until the NFL. I always had quickness and kept putting on size and never really lost my quickness.”
Big Blue’s younger defensive linemen can probably learn a thing or two talking to Jenkins, who was a rookie in 2004.
“I don’t try to force my opinions on anybody, but I’m always willing to coach guys up if they want to and a lot of guys here will ask questions or different things,” Jenkins said, adding that he likes to lead by example. “I try to talk to them just from experience and perspective and just continue to do that.”
Jenkins choose to play for the Giants because of his familiarity with their defensive line coach, Robert Nunn, their scheme, and the organization’s history of winning. He also likes the fact that former Eagles teammate and fellow defensive tackle Mike Patterson is here, too.
“This is the place where I thought I fit in the best,” he said.
Nunn said he likes the toughness that Jenkins brings to the table.
Jenkins was cut by the Eagles following back-to-back subpar seasons. He’s hoping to have a bounce-back year in 2013.
“At this point in my career, I’ve been around and seen a lot,” Jenkins said. “There’s not too many new things that can be thrown your way. You know what you have to do, you know what’s expected of you, you just try to do it with a good attitude and work hard.
“The past is the past.”
So how does Jenkins feel?
“I feel pretty good,” he replied. “It’s a little hot out here right now, but I feel good. Training camps are never the funnest things, but for me at my age, I feel really good.”
2dMorty Ain and Stevland Wilson