For a few years now, Tim Jennings has been "the target" around here. Just as Rob Morris in years past seemed to take his yearly lumps from us fans, Tim Jennings is now the guy we target as the player who always seems to screw up. Most of the time, the criticism is inaccurate. However, the notion that Tim gives too much cushion as a DB, and that opponents zero in on him when they are throwing the football, are not necessarily notions that are easily dismissed.
All that said, Tim Jennings was kind enough to sit down with Stampede Blue during yesterday's press conference and talk specifically about some of the criticisms media and fans have levied against him.
BBS: How does this Super Bowl appearance compare with last time around?
Tim Jennings: It’s a little bit more calm, a little bit more relaxed.
BBS: Are you more calm or is the team more calm?
TJ: Well, me. I’m a little bit more relaxed, little bit more calm. Just the fact that I’ve been here, same setting [as Super Bowl 41]. So, I kind of know what to expect and how to act. But, the team seems very excited. The guys that have been here, you can tell they’ve been here before because, you know, the way they carry themselves; they help the young guys, showing them around. So, you know, everyone is just grateful to be down here, excited to be here, and we just can’t wait to play on Sunday.
BBS: These last two years for you have been kind of up and down. You’ve seen a lot of playing time because of injuries to teammates. It seems that, on many occasions, you’ve risen up and made big plays, like the Pittsburgh game last year with the big INT. Yet, for whatever reason, whether it is fans or whether it is media, you’re sometimes the target a little bit. What do you think about that? Because, from my vantage point, I read comments on Stampede Blue like "Jennings is in the game! They’re going to throw it at Jennings! We KNOW they’re going to throw it at Jennings!"
That kind of stuff. What do you think about that? Because when I watch you, and readers tell me to watch you because they say you give up too much cushion, all I see is effort. I see hard effort all the time. What is it that you do to block out all this negative criticism?
TJ: Well, I mean, it’s kind of tough. But, I try and stay away from it as much as I can. I know it’s kind of been an up and down season. I just try and block things out, try and stay away from it, try and stay away from stuff, like what the media is saying, stuff the public is saying. I just try to go out there and just continue to work hard. I know what I need to do. Try to get better, and just try and go out there, just to be at practice, and just try and work on something. Whether it is fundamental things, or [other] things I need to work on. That’s the only way I’m able to try and block some of the [criticism] out. Just go out there and try and make plays. I’m fortunate to still play here, on a great team, which is what this organization is, able to compete every Sunday. Every chance that I get to come out here and try and have a chance to play with these guys, and a chance to win, it kind of helps, you know. It kind of helps with the motivation. Still, you want to be able to compete and help your team come out with a victory.
BBS: What do you think of the new defensive style Colts defensive coordinator Larry Coyer has implemented this season? Do you like it?
TJ: I enjoy the defense a whole lot. It’s more of a different defense, an attack-style defense more of an aggressive style. I think its in general, I like it with what Coach Coyer is doing. I feel like I could be utilized a little bit more different in the defensive package but, right now, we just have to go out there and execute the plays that he calls. I just have to go out there and make plays. I like the defense a whole lot. I just feel there are a few things we could switch around to make things a little but more easier for me. But, I never complain about it. I just go out there and do what coach asks me to do. And just go out there and compete.
BBS: Would you want to blitz more?
TJ: I would love to!
BBS: Off the corner?
TJ: Well, not off the corner. But, maybe if I get in the nickel package a little bit, go against the little quick wide receivers than being out there with the 6’4, 6’5 guys. I mean, I think that would be more helpful. I mean, coming off the corner, blitzing off the corner, I don’t think we’ll be doing that too much. (Laughs.) The nickel match-up, I could be on the smaller, quicker guys and do that. That’s where I think I’d be helpful. But, like I said, everything that Coach Coyer [does], I like everything he’s doing, and every time [I’m asked] to go out there and compete, I go out there and compete.
BBS: Who is the toughest guy you've ever had to cover?
TJ: Besides the guys on this team, I mean, besides Marvin Harrison, hes gone already, I'd say guys like Andre Johnson. He's big. He's fast. He's strong. I'd probably have to say Andre Johnson.
BBS: What do you do to cover a guy like that? Because, you’re NOT 6’3, 220 pounds.
TJ: Not a all. Hopefully, Coach Coyer designs the defense where I've got help somewhere. (We laugh.) And, I could just take away one thing from the receiver and have help from the safety. That’s how I'm able to stop guys like that.
Many thanks to Tim for his time and for being honest in talking about the criticism.