January 04, 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 likes doubt. The 10-year NFL veteran and two-time Super Bowl champion thrives off of it. He had his doubters coming out of Piscataway High School. No major colleges were beating down the doors to get him, and he wound up grabbing the attention of the Ohio State coaches at a Buckeyes’ summer camp and developed into a first-round draft choice.
In New Orleans, Saints’ management to this day probably regrets letting Jenkins go in March 2014 to sign then-Buffalo Bills’ star Jairus Byrd. Jenkins signed with the Eagles and has been a cornerstone to a Super Bowl champion team. Byrd’s career was ravaged by injuries and he never turned into the player the Saints thought he would be.
Jenkins has become far better than what the Eagles anticipated.
Now comes this season. The Eagles’ secondary was torn apart by injuries. Jenkins’ leadership kept them together. When the doubters were trying to bang down the doors after the Eagles’ 48-7 debacle against the Saints on Nov. 18, Jenkins held out hope for the postseason. When no one thought that they would beat the Rams, Jenkins still felt they could.
And when the Eagles’ playoff hopes looked dead the last few weeks of the season, Jenkins, ever the optimist, staunchly said that this team would remain alive
Down 19-11 and with the New York Giants driving near the end of the half at the Eagles’ 27, Jenkins’ interception at the Eagles’ 2 of Eli Manning’s pass intended for Odell Beckham Jr. may have saved the season.
So go ahead and doubt the Eagles against the favored Chicago Bears in the NFC Wild Card playoff round this Sunday at 4:40 p.m. ET at Soldier Field.
More doubt means more fuel for Jenkins.
“We feel like we can play with anybody in this league,” Jenkins said. “That’s the way we feel. The only thing we can pull from last year is the experience of playing in a playoff game. Among ourselves, we talk about not making the playoff game more than it is.
“A playoff game is really the same thing as a regular-season game. Obviously, there is more on the line. The task is still the game. The rules are still the same. The field is still the same. Last year, we were at home for two games. But the players on this team have the mentality to take on that challenge (of winning on the road)."
Against Chicago, the Eagles know the task at hand.
“We have to stop the run," Jenkins said. "They do a good job of running the ball. They put their guys out in space. They have two running backs that are completely different (Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen), with two completely different running styles. They’re very balanced. They don’t tip off too many of their runs and passes with formations and personnel. There’s a lot we’ll have to get ready for.
“We’re going to compete. Whether or not people think we’re dangerous, at the of the day, we think we can compete with anybody in this league. What we’ve done prior to Sunday, none of that matters. It matters what we do [in this game] and be the best we can on that day.”
Jenkins just concluded his 10th season with a career-high 136 tackles, three forced fumbles, the crucial season-saving interception against the Giants and one sack. He played every one of the Eagles’ 1,039 defensive snaps this season. His durability was broached in Safety Blitz last week. Each season Jenkins has been an Eagle, he’s led the defense in snaps taken (1,158 in 2014, 1,212 in 2015, 1,018 in 2016 and 947 in 2017).
“With everything we’ve gone through this year, there’s been doubt, and there’s doubt here again (against the Bears),” Jenkins said. “It’s something we rally around. It’s fine with me. Go ahead and doubt. We have guys that have come off the street that have literally made us a better team.
“Guys are settled and they know where they’re supposed to be. That comes with experience. We are a stronger team. Hey, like I said, don’t count us out.”
So go ahead and doubt.
It’s nothing Jenkins and the Eagles haven’t faced before and overcome.
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.
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