January 11, 2019
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.
Malcolm Jenkins leaned in to hear. The Eagles’ veteran safety and one of the leadership cornerstones of this team the last five years then smiled at what was relayed to him.
New Orleans Saints’ coach Sean Payton, during his media session with the Philadelphia media on Wednesday, mentioned that letting Jenkins go in 2014 as a free agent was not a wise decision by he and the Saints organization.
“He’s a fantastic, fantastic player and just as good of a person,” Payton said about Jenkins. “I’ve said this, and I just said this recently, but probably one of the bigger mistakes we’ve made. And I think you’ve got to be able to look at him and say ‘How did that happen?’ Letting him out of the building certainly wasn’t a smart decision.”
“I would agree with that,” said Jenkins, laughing. “No. really, I have a great amount of respect for Sean, obviously. We go way back and I learned a ton from playing under him. I love him as a competitor and as a man. I enjoy competing against him. That was the same way when I was there, so I’m looking very much for this opportunity.”
What is still fresh in the minds of many Eagles is the 48-7 thrashing they took in New Orleans on Nov. 18.
But this is a different team, a far different team than when the Eagles suffered the worst loss of any reigning Super Bowl champion in NFL history.
“Well, we are a lot different and certainly have a lot more wins than when we played (New Orleans) last,” Jenkins said. “I think we have a better sense of our own identity since then. We’re a little healthier. I mean all of those things are on paper. When it comes to winning games, you have to perform.
“For us, the scheme is the same. It’s about executing and winning matchups and performing.”
One thing that’s not on Jenkins’ mind is the 48-7 score of the last game, a game in which many Eagles claimed Payton was running up the score against them.
“For me, I’ve been part of teams that have tried to run up the score,” Jenkins said. “I’ve been on teams that tried to put up 50. We tried to put up 50 as much as we can. I’m one of those guys who didn’t think they ran it up on us. I’m one of those people that if you think that the other team is running up points on you, then stop them.
“It’s as easy as that. Stop them. It’s as honest as that. This is the NFL. It’s not Pop Warner, where they have mercy rules and stuff like that and they’re trying to teach sportsmanship. The NFL is different. If you don’t want them to put up 50, then stop them. The frustration about that game was internal against ourselves.
“We couldn’t do anything for our own cause. That was tough to take that on the chin for a lot of guys on this team. There are a lot of prideful guys on this team.”
Another huge difference in the Eagles is the secondary. It was beat up and bludgeoned by Drew Brees for 363 yards and four touchdowns.
Cornerback Cre'Von LeBlanc was playing in only his second game as an Eagle. The Eagles were also relying on practice squad players like De'Vante Bausby to make plays. Bausby was in on 24 snaps against the Saints. Rookie corner Avonte Maddox got 17 snaps in that game, and Tre Sullivan saw minimal time.
It’s a group that as a whole has changed their overall demeanor. Rasul Douglas, who played 51 snaps against the Saints, almost seems like a completely different than he was two months ago.
“We saw the maturation of lot of these guys, because they learned by being on the field and doing,” Jenkins said. “As the young guys have gotten better, our defense has played better. Cre’Von has saved us on the back end, and Rasul Douglas has made some big plays. Avonte is playing games at corner and he’s played some safety, and he’s doing a lot for a young guy.
“I like all of these guys, because they’ve stood up like men and went to work. I like these guys because they’re tough and they’re not a front-running group. We’re a lot different than the last time Drew saw us.”
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