December 27, 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.
Nigel Bradham kept shaking his head and repeating it over more than a few times: “All we have to do is get in, all we have to do is get in,” the Eagles’ linebacker said. “We get in (the playoffs), we’ll be a dangerous team. Why? Because we have a Super Bowl pedigree and we have leaders like Malcolm (Jenkins) who won’t let us get down and will never quit. That’s why we’re in this spot right now. We’re still alive.”
That was said on an early Tuesday morning, after the Eagles’ 28-13 win over the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday Night Football — when the Eagles were faintly alive, on the periphery of the playoff picture, clinging to a 6-6 record.
What Bradham was talking about, what Lane Johnson touched on after the same game, “We got leaders like Malcolm and Chris (Long) who wouldn’t let this team sink,” the right tackle said.
The reason why the Eagles are sitting at 8-7, playing a meaningful game in the season finale at Washington this Sunday at 4:25 p.m. at FedEx Field — other than the play of Nick Foles — is the constant push forward by the leaders of this team.
It’s a contribution Jenkins won’t openly acknowledge.
On the field, the 31-year-old safety who’s in his 10th NFL season is the only Eagles’ defender who’s been on the field 100 percent of the defensive snaps. He leads the team with 75 solo tackles (the second most in his career) and is tied with Bradham for the team lead with 93 combined tackles. Jenkins has played 993 snaps, by far the most on defense (Bradham is a distant second at 874) and second overall on the Eagles behind right guard Brandon Brooks (1,016 snaps). He’s the only player on the team that’s played 100 percent of the snaps on his side of the ball in 2018. In fact, 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).
Off the field, Jenkins has been the one who wouldn’t let his teammates get down or dwell on the negative. After the New Orleans’ debacle, his message was to still have trust in one another. Going into the Los Angeles Rams game, he openly thought the Eagles had a good chance to win — and meant it.
“That’s just the way he is, it’s the way he’s always been since I’ve been here, and it’s why when there’s been some bumps, and we’ve had many this season, we look to him, this whole team looks to him when the heat gets turned up,” Jalen Mills said about Jenkins.
Jenkins, of course, wasn’t about to take credit for anything.
“It’s a simple message to everybody about just competing, everybody doing their job, and keeping up the details of their work and just believing,” Jenkins said. “It’s not a complicated game. People around the game try to make it a complicated game, but it really isn’t. If everyone does their job to the best of their ability, and there is a lot of talent on this team, I believe in the guys we have in this building and on this team, we’ll most likely win the game.
“I don’t know why guys listen to me. I try to be consistent enough where words mean something. Hopefully, someone can see it in my play and how consistently I try to give it all I have, how I consistently try to be prepared, how I consistently pay attention at meetings, how I consistently work hard every day at practice and consistently doing what I have to do in the weight room, and that reflects in my play.
“So I think in times when doubt is creeping in and we didn’t have the kind of success we thought we would have, people are going to look at the leaders and what they’re doing, or if they’re taking plays off or not sticking to their routine. And I know that, and it’s why I try to stay consistent and try to keep things the same and keep them consistent. That consistent message allows the leaders, and not just me, Chris Long speaks up, Fletcher Cox, guys that just keep it the same. It doesn’t matter, high or low. That helped us weather the storms we had this season.
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