Malcolm Jenkins is a Super Bowl champion and veteran NFL safety. He sits down with CBS Philly’s Joe Santoliquito every week. All of Jenkins’ Post Snap interviews are archived at CBSPhilly.com/Jenkins.
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Malcolm Jenkins envisioned this. A week ago, Jenkins said the Eagles could be the class of the NFC East. The Eagles’ team leader and veteran safety said the Eagles could be sitting at 3-1 at the quarter mark of the NFL season. And the Eagles could be making strides in looking even better than they have in September.
It appears after the Eagles’ 26-24 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday that everything Jenkins perceived has come to fruition.
“We’re 3-1, 2-0 in the division and getting ready to hit a stretch of home games, so we’re obviously in a great spot,” Jenkins said. “We still have some things we could be better with and clean up some mistakes as we go along. For the most part, I think everyone is happy where we are.
“The turnover early [against the Chargers] obviously was big for us. We were getting off the field on third downs. We stopped the run really well. The biggest thing that hurt us were the big plays. We pretty much dominated for the majority of the game. But with one play here or there, that’s what we have to clean up. That’s been the story in all of our games.
“We’ve had a few plays get through and slip in the fourth quarter. We’re still learning how people are going to attack our defense. As the game goes on, they’re starting to adjust later in the game to what we’ve been doing. We’ve been a little lax in execution one play here or there where we don’t stop a run, or we let a ball go over our head. The next thing you know, it turns into a big play. Those are small things that are correctable.”
The Eagles have given up 11 touchdowns this season—7 of the 11 have come in the fourth quarter. The Eagles are currently 31st in the NFL in points allowed in the fourth quarter, which is 52 (7 TDs and a field goal) and averages out to 13 points a game allowed in the fourth quarter. Only the Tennessee Titans are worse, with an NFL-high 14=point average in the fourth quarter.
But over the last three games, a disturbing trend has surfaced. The Eagles have averaged an NFL-high 17.3 points a game in the fourth quarter, which two more than Tennessee’s 15.3 fourth-quarter average.
“We need to do better at the end of games and put together that complete game,” Jenkins said. “Arizona comes in and they’re a very good team. They have an opportunistic defense and a veteran quarterback in Carson Palmer that make you pay if you make a mistake, and in one of the all-time great receivers in Larry Fitzgerald.
“What we need to do is what we did against [the Chargers]. What we did real well is create a lot of negative plays in first and second down that left the Chargers in a lot of third-and-longs, which gives us a better opportunity to get off the field. A third-and-eight and a third-and-10 leaves us in good position to get off the field.
“We’re heading in a good direction.”