By Joseph Santoliquito
Malcolm Jenkins is a Super Bowl champion and veteran NFL safety. He sits down with CBS Philly’s Joe Santoliquito every week. Don’t forget to listen to Malcom live each Tuesday at 5 with Ant & Rob on 94WIP. All of Jenkins’ Post Snap interviews are archived at CBSPhilly.com/Jenkins.
PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) — There were a few things, Malcolm Jenkins said, that were revealed in the Eagles’ 34-28 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
For one, the Eagles’ defense is far better when it’s attacking than when it’s sitting in a zone and reacting. It’s the only way, it seems, the Eagles can play defense effectively. When they pressured Rams’ quarterback Austin Davis, the Eagles’ defense picked up four sacks for the second-straight week, created three turnovers and scored a defensive touchdown.
When the Eagles secondary sat back in a zone, Davis chewed the Eagles up with 21 unanswered points—scoring on three successive drives—transforming what was a close game into a narrow escape.
“There are a couple of things we can take away from this game, some are positive, some aren’t so much,” Jenkins said. “One thing we’ve learned is that when our pass rush and secondary go hand-in-hand the best is when we do a great job in the secondary taking away the quarterback’s first read and make them try to go through their progressions and resets in the pocket. Our pass rush gets home; they force errant throws and get sacks. It’s a lot easier for us if we can cover early, they can pressure late.
“I think our identity on defense going forward is to be more aggressive and covering guys early. The last two games it’s proven to be a winning formula for us and something that we have to continue working on.
“We did back off. The more you pressure, there’s a chance for a big play. When you’re up big, like we were [against the Rams], the tendency is to play more zone, protect the lead and keep the ball in front of you. Our defense seems to play better when we’re pressuring the quarterback. We’re more a pressure team than a zone team. That last drive we went back to pressuring and you saw what happened.”
Aside from leading the Eagles with a career-best three interceptions, Jenkins has also played a vital role in the Birds’ special teams play. Jenkins has played special teams throughout his career and embraces it, unlike some prime starters could.
Jenkins was in a position to pick up the loose ball on the James Casey blocked punt in the first quarter, which resulted in Chris Maragos’ first career NFL touchdown.
“I really enjoy special teams, especially punt return,” Jenkins said. “We’ve proven really the whole season that special teams can win you games when offenses and defenses are well matched. What sets you apart is when you have an elite returner like Darren Sproles and guys that can rush the kicks. Over the last five games, we’ve done a real phenomenal job on special teams. We blocked a field goal, two punts and scored three touchdowns on special. And all in five games. That’s what some teams do over a whole season.”
As for scooping up the ball and scoring on the blocked punt, Jenkins said “I saw Maragos heading to the goal line and instead of both of us running into each other, I decided to let him take it. He had a better angle at the ball than I did. It doesn’t matter who scores the touchdowns, as long as we score.
“But later in the game, I was waiting for Cedric Thornton to pitch me back the ball on his second fumble recovery. He was moving a little slow, but I have to be a little less selfish when I should have been blocking for him. It’s not who gets the touchdown, it’s as long as we get it.”
The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation is launching an exclusive apparel campaign kicking off with Malcolm’s “NoPhlyZone,” starting Friday, October 3rd. Purchases will support the Foundation’s programs supporting youth and families in under-served communities. Visit www.themalcolmjenkinsfoundation.org.
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