Players like to say that the film doesn't lie. But to Janoris Jenkins, the truth about his film from Sunday is open to interpretation.
Because while almost anyone who watched his performance in the Giants' 31-21 loss in San Francisco questioned his effort, and some even suggested he quit, Jenkins saw something completely different.
"I played to the best of my ability," the Giants cornerback said on Thursday. "It wasn't like lack of effort. I just think it was lack of technique."
Maybe that's true, or maybe he just believes that, but even he didn't try arguing that his play was good during that game. He got caught several times seemingly not going all-out for a play he could have made. And he got burned for a long touchdown pass to Marquise Goodwin, made what looked to be a weak effort on a tackle on a 47-yard touchdown by tight end Garrett Celek, and seemed to avoid contact entirely on a long run by running back Carlos Hyde.
After the game he refused to speak the media. The next day, back in New Jersey, Giants coach Ben McAdoo held his "brutally honest" team meeting where he showed clips of some of their bad plays. One player said Jenkins' misplays were featured in that film show. And defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said he even pulled Jenkins aside to talk about his bad game.
Given that the game marked Jenkins' return from his one-game suspension of not returning on time after the bye week (and not bothering to call the Giants to explain why he was late), it was easy to assume Jenkins was just giving up as the Giants were on their way to losing to the winless 49ers. But Jenkins bristled at anyone who would question his effort.
"They questioned one game? Question the other 36 games," he said. "Sometimes you won't have the best game. Everybody knows that. One out of 36 games? I don't care what they say.
"People don't know football so they don't understand," Jenkins added. "They just go off of what they see."
Of course, even his coaches saw what everyone else did - even if they wouldn't say publicly that Jenkins lacked effort. The performance was enough, though, for Spagnuolo to seek him out for a one-on-one talk.
"He obviously agreed he didn't have his best game," Spagnuolo said. "He realizes that. We had a good talk. Really good. He's ready to go. I love that guy. He's all-in. He gives everything he's got. He missed a few tackles. It was more technique than anything we thought from looking at it. I'm sure he'll be better this week."
Jenkins agreed that it was all about technique. He explained his miss on Celek's touchdown by admitting "I was really thinking to try to strip the ball." And when he made what looked to be a non-effort on Hyde, he said "I think my fight got caught up under me a little bit too much and I just reached with my left arm."
Jenkins insisted he had no regrets about his performance or effort on Sunday. "It happened, baby," he said. "I can't take it back."
He also insisted that neither his play in San Francisco nor the controversy over his effort would motivate him this Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
"No, I stay motivated," Jenkins said. "I'm self-motivated, baby."