Philadelphia, PA (CBS) — Chip Kelly couldn’t contain himself when it was broached what more he would like to see from free agent veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins.
Jenkins adds another dimension to the Eagles’ defense, Kelly feels. That comes with six years experience. But above everything else, Kelly likes the way Jenkins sees the field, and his leadership off of it.
“I think from what I’ve seen—he’s really done a great job of stepping in at that other safety spot opposite Nate [Allen] and being real decisive in terms of what he’s doing,” Kelly said about Jenkins. “He’s been a great leader in the locker room and meeting rooms, has a really, really good football knowledge.
“I think he’s done a great job with our staff of asking a lot of interesting questions in terms of, ‘Hey, maybe we can fit it this way,’ as opposed to the way we are fitting it. I think he’s really fit in, I think maybe better than anybody on our staff thought he was going to fit in just because we were not familiar with him. But he’s a football player and he adds a lot of stability to the back end out there.”
Jenkins, for his part, likes the way the Eagles have accepted his ideas. It’s unique for an NFL coaching staff to intake and implement different schemes from a new player. But Jenkins has such high respect from the Eagles’ coaching staff and defensive coordinator Billy Davis that his thoughts have been a welcome addition.
“This is my fourth d-coordinator and I’ve been around the block a little bit and I prepare enough to know when I come to [the Eagles’ coaching staff], I don’t make random suggestions,” Jenkins said. “I do my research and give the why. So when you have veterans that can do that, there’s that open dialogue. Not everything I say gets taken, but it’s good to have suggestions going back and forth.”
Jenkins said his comfort zone heightened considerably about a month with the team. The first weeks were a feeling-out process. Since then, Jenkins’ voice began to be heard.
“It’s not just me, everybody has a voice,” Jenkins said. “As we continue to work these defenses out and figure out how we put it together, I think the more input we have from everybody the more comfortable guys are and the more they buy in, because they feel own it and have a hand in the defense.”
Jenkins has embraced Kelly’s open-door philosophy. He said not every NFL coach would be as willing to accept input from players.
“I’ve been with some guys who are really stubborn and don’t want to hear anything,” Jenkins said. “They want to do it the way they know it. I’ve been around a lot of prideful coaches that don’t want to hear anything. So to have a staff that’s willing to hear you and take suggestions, and if they don’t, they give you a reason why. It helps me learn defenses and helps everyone else build up together. It is unusual [for a coaching staff] to hear suggestions. We don’t feel it’s a dictatorship. We love playing for coaches like that. It’s not Madden where you can set your players. We’re the ones who have to execute what the book tells us.”
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