October 04, 2018
Malcolm Jenkins is a two-time Super Bowl champion and veteran NFL safety. Each week this season he'll sit down with PhillyVoice's Joe Santoliquito to bring you Safety Blitz.
In his five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, Malcolm Jenkins has become one of the heart-and-soul players of the team. The Pro Bowl strong safety has also become someone whose fingers have been on the pulse of the Birds since coming here from the New Orleans Saints in 2014.
In the time he’s been with the Eagles, Sunday’s 26-23 overtime setback to the Tennessee Titans has been one of the toughest.
And it can also be one of the most defining moments this season for the defending Super Bowl champions.
“Being 2-2 doesn’t sit well with me,” admitted Jenkins, who was amazing for the Eagles in overtime, making two crucial tackles for losses, only to have the Titans answer with three fourth-down conversions, one on fourth-and-15 at the Tennessee 31. “One thing I have learned is you can’t always expect things to turn out exactly the way you plan them. I can tell you this, a pro football player has an idea of what their season is going to look like and how it’s supposed to go.
“Everybody wants to go 16-0, but some things are out of your control, so right now, the focus is making sure that we learn from this game in particular, because this type of game can either destroy you or fortify you. That’s yet to be determined how we take it; how we approach this week; how we evaluate it; how we’re critical of ourselves, and how much can we improve.
“It’s the same approach that we took last year. We weren’t talking about Super Bowls, we weren’t talking about any of that. We were just talking about ways to get better and ways to win games. I think we’re still there. We have to still learn — those things can’t be assumed.”
Last week was one of the rare times when the Eagles found a way to lose, after having multiple chances to win.
“It won’t define this team,’ Jenkins said. “Though, you look down the road and hope [the Tennessee] loss doesn’t come back to haunt you in any kind of way.
“I think the biggest thing we learned, from a defensive standpoint, is to be better with situational football. It’s one of those things you really fight with all of the time. It’s a great learning experience for some of the young players we have, even for some of the veterans, to go through the exercise with the game on the line and how you go about defending a touchdown, what goes into playing this coverage on fourth-and-15, fourth-and-two, fourth-and-four, what route concepts we’ll see, what do we need to defend. All of those different things.
“We had a lot of different situations come up in this game that we did well. We had a four-minute situation, where we executed well. I think there is going to be a lot to learn off this game tape, but we have a lot of faith in ourselves and our [defensive backs] room, and we expect to make the plays that we had the opportunity to make, but we didn’t.
“That’s the disappointing thing.”
Up next are the Minnesota Vikings, a desperate team that may be playing for its season, at 1-2-1, led offensively by noted Eagle killer Kirk Cousins and another coach who knows the Eagles well, former Eagles’ quarterback coach John DeFilippo, now the Vikings’ offensive coordinator.
“It’s going to be the same as any other week — we’re going to evaluate, prepare and play really hard,” Jenkins said. “A big priority is that we win all of our home games. We put pressure on ourselves to win all of our home games, but the Vikings have a great team. “They may be playing for their season, but we’re playing for ours. Every time we step on the field, we’re playing for our season. We know this is a quality opponent and we understand the story line from last year [when the Eagles beat the Vikings in the NFC championship], but at the end of the day, if we’re prepared and ready, all we have to do is play on Sunday.
“I don’t think there’s a team out there that can beat us when we play our best.”
Each week, we'll take a moment to get to know the guy beneath that helmet and pads by asking Malcolm a random question about his life off the field. Today's topic? Pizza.
“I don’t have a local pizza pace I go to,” Jenkins said. “I like chain pizza for whatever reason. It’s easier. I stopped eating cheese, so I order cheeseless pizza. I’ve become a vegan; I watch what I eat. I do pizza with sauce, and I’ll do like a pineapple or jalapeño. I’m actually an introvert. I don’t like talking to people, so I usually go on line to order, or I’ll to go through GrubHub, so I don’t have to explain my order to somebody, so after they take my order, you don’t hear that, “What!”
Visit Malcolm's clothing store, Damari Savile: Born in the City of Brotherly Love, Damari Savile provides made to order suiting for those looking for a more stylish fit for their wardrobe. Located at 709 Walnut Street.
Follow Joe on Twitter: @JSantoliquito
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports