By Joseph Santoliquito

PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) — As the Eagles were going through their whirlwind of drills, position breakdowns and walk-throughs, Eagles  safety Malcolm Jenkins, now in his second year with the team, came to a very quick conclusion.

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He noticed his teammates came to camp already in shape, hungry to compete and something else…

“It’s early, and last year we had some question marks on the defense, whereas this year, we’re looking at the defense and it’s safe say we are ahead of where we were on defense this time last year,” Jenkins said. “Even though we have a whole new secondary for the most part, we as a unit have a better grasp of the defense.

“The first day of training we had the entire playbook up, as opposed to starting back to Day One last year when we didn’t. I think that’s a testament to the coaching staff and to the guys on this team and the amount of work they did this off-season.”

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The Eagles were 28th last year in total defense, giving up an average of 375.6 yards a game—264.9 average yards a game through the air.

Philadelphia ranked 31st in the NFL in pass defense in 2014, giving up a total of 4,238 yards passing. The only team worse was Atlanta, which gave up 4,478 passing yards. Compounding that was the fact that the Eagles gave up 72 pass plays that went for 20-plus yards, the most in the NFL (Chicago came a distant second at 65), and 18 plays of 40-plus yards, another NFL high.

Against the run, however, the Eagles ranked a respectable 15th, yielding an average of 110.7 yards a game.

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“Guys haven’t missed a beat,” Jenkins said. “We know what we’re doing and we know what we have to do. I’d say right now we’re ahead of where we were last year as far as knowing the playbook and the schemes. We’ll have to see how that translates on the field.”