Eagles

Eagles' DBs built in Malcolm Jenkins' image, but ready for 'Old Head' to return

Eagles' DBs built in Malcolm Jenkins' image, but ready for 'Old Head' to return

It was strange seeing the Eagles take the field for practice and not see a No. 27 flying around on defense. One would think it would be even stranger for a young group of defensive backs that at times leans on Malcolm Jenkins for guidance.

But while Andrew Sendejo and Tre Sullivan may have been the first-team safeties on Tuesday, it was business as usual for the remaining members of the Eagles’ secondary at OTAs – even if it’s not business as usual for Jenkins right now.

“I would say no,” said Sullivan, responding to whether the defensive backs room is any different without Jenkins. “The only reason I say that is because Malcolm, he does a great job being a leader, really just making us focus on every task at hand.

“It’s the same thing without him being in the locker room.”

Jenkins is a no-show at voluntary workouts so far, purportedly in pursuit of a pay raise. The three-time Pro Bowler has never missed a game in his five seasons with the Eagles. Prior to April, he had barely taken so much as a snap off during that span, much less skipped or been held out of a practice or meeting.

As much time as Jenkins has spent making plays that bring Lincoln Financial Field to a roar, he’s spent more setting an example for players in the locker room. He’s tutored young defensive backs, demonstrated how to handle success and failure in the NFL, been an outstanding citizen away from the field.

The 31-year-old safety has been the definition of a pro, and his actions appear to have rubbed off on teammates.

“Everybody holds each other accountable in that room no matter if we’re young or older,” said Avonte Maddox, reciting the line about accountability Jenkins has used often. “It doesn’t really matter.”

The DBs were putting in extra work after Tuesday’s practice and weren’t easy to track down in the locker room. Those who did speak didn’t sound your typical 25-year-old athletes with three-and-a-half seasons in the league – the average age and experience level of the group sans Jenkins.

Just another day at the office. They sounded like leaders themselves.

“It’s been kind of the same,” said Cre’Von LeBlanc. “We just have to keep focusing on what we can focus on today, the plays, we tell everybody who’s here. I wouldn’t say that it’s any different. The guys are the guys once the day is over.”

The room is not completely devoid of veterans, either. Sendejo, though he just arrived in free agency, is 31 with eight years NFL experience. And Rodney McLeod, who will likely start alongside Jenkins at safety, is rehabbing from injury and not practicing but is in the building.

Still, you can see Jenkins’ fingerprints all over this secondary. You could see it when a struggling, injury-depleted unit with Jenkins as its sole survivor turned its season around and became a strength of the team in 2018. You can hear it while speaking to younger players who sound wise beyond their years.

Without a doubt, Jenkins is far more valuable than what he brings to the Eagles defense as a multi-dimensional weapon that lines up at safety, cornerback, linebacker, wherever is asked – and he’s pretty good at all those things, too.

“When he is back, he makes his presence known,” Sullivan said. “Malcolm is a very vocal guy and outstanding leader. He’s a great guy to lean on.”

Right now, there’s no talk Jenkins might not return, or the Eagles might not reward him. Everybody seems to expect him back eventually, probably a little richer.

Then again, Jenkins has his troops trained so well and on such an even keel, it would be difficult to tell if there was a pang of concern.

“The room’s still the same,” said Maddox. “Still have energy, still holding each other accountable.

“Guys are still working together, laughing, playing around, so when it comes down to it, it will be great when he gets back in there and we’ll be able to have ‘Old Head’ in there.”

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Howie Roseman's 5 worst trades as Eagles GM

Howie Roseman's 5 worst trades as Eagles GM

Last week, we took a look at Howie Roseman’s five best trades, so today we’re looking at the other side. 

To be fair, when I came up with these lists, the good one was much longer than the bad. In general, Roseman is pretty good when it comes to trades. But they can’t all be hits. 

As a reminder, we’re looking at the following years: 2010-14, 2016-now. Chip Kelly was in control during 2015. 

Here’s my ranking of Roseman’s five worst trades: 

5. Trading for Golden Tate 
During the 2018 season, the Eagles needed a boost so Roseman pulled off a trade to get Tate from the Detroit Lions in exchange for a 2019 third-round pick. While the Eagles eventually got back a fourth-round compensatory pick to soften the blow, the acquisition of Tate never really worked out. 

Sure, you can point at the touchdown catch in the Double Doink playoff game in Chicago as a reason why this trade was actually a success … but let’s be real. This trade didn’t work out the way the Eagles were hoping. In the final eight games of the 2018 regular season, Tate caught 30 passes for 278 yards and 1 touchdown. He signed with the rival Giants in 2019. 

The lasting memory of this trade will probably be the unfortunate words from then-offensive coordinator Mike Groh, who admitted it had been “challenging to integrate” Tate into the offense during the season. 

4. Dion Lewis for Emmanuel Acho 
In April of 2013, the Eagles dealt Lewis to Cleveland for Acho. While Lewis never played for the Browns because of injury, he eventually resurfaced with the Patriots in 2015 and showed off some of the talent the Eagles initially saw in him during the 2011 draft. 

He has never become a star, but from 2015-2019, Lewis has played in 62 games for the Patriots and Titans and has averaged 4.3 yards per carry. He has 2,139 rushing yards, 1,260 receiving yards and 17 total touchdowns during those seasons. 

Acho played two seasons for the Eagles and a total of 20 games with two starts. He became a special teams contributor for those Chip Kelly teams but played a total of 288 defensive snaps. 

3. Joe Mays for J.J. Arrington  
The Eagles drafted Mays in the sixth round of the 2008 draft but the linebacker played in just 13 games in 2008 and 2009 before the Eagles shipped him to Denver in July of 2010 for Arrington or a conditional draft pick. 

Arrington missed the entire 2009 season after microfracture knee surgery. He didn’t make the Eagles that year (he never played in the NFL again), so the Birds got back a 2012 sixth-round pick they ended up using on Marvin McNutt. 

While Arrington never played an NFL game again, Mays from that point on in his career played 65 games with 37 starts for the Broncos, Texans, Chiefs and Chargers. 

2. Stealing DGB from the Titans 
At the time, it seemed liked the Eagles fleeced the Titans by getting Dorial Green-Beckham for reserve offensive lineman Dennis Kelly. Turns out, it was the other way around. Sometimes if it seems too good to be true … 

The Eagles pulled off this trade in August of 2016 and upon first glance it was a major steal. Just a year earlier, the Titans took DGB in the second round and he had a really good rookie year statistically. In 2015, he caught 32 passes for 549 yards (17.2) and 4 touchdowns. 

At 6-5, 225 pounds, he was the ultimate size/speed guy with the potential to be a great player. But it became clear pretty soon after that trade that DGB wasn’t destined for greatness. He was a friendly guy but immature and didn’t seem to want it. He played that 2016 season with the Eagles, catching 36 passes for 392 yards and 2 touchdowns on talent alone, but the Eagles cut him the following June. 

Since then, Green-Beckham has been out of the league and has been dealing with some legal issues. He’s become a cautionary tale of wasted talent. 

Meanwhile, Kelly has played in 58 games (16 starts) for the Titans and got a three-year extension before last season. 

1. Dealing Chris Clemons for Darryl Tapp 
One of Roseman’s first trades ended up being his worst. In March of 2010, the Eagles traded Chris Clemons and a fourth-round pick to get Darryl Tapp from the Seahawks. Tapp was about three years younger than Clemons, who was longer and lankier. Before the trade, here were their career stats: 

Tapp: 4 seasons, 32 starts, 18 sacks 
Clemons: 5 seasons, 3 starts, 20 sacks 

So you can see why the Eagles made this trade. They thought they were getting a potential starting defensive end who was already better and had more upside in their defense. But they ended up losing pretty big. 

Here’s what they did with their new teams: 

Tapp: 3 seasons in Philly, 3 starts, 6 sacks 
Clemons: 4 seasons in Seattle, 59 starts, 38 sacks 

In his first three years in Seattle, Clemons ended up having 11, 11 and 11.5 sacks and started every game for the Seahawks; during that span, he was sixth in the NFL in sacks. Tapp was a role player in Philly. 

Honorable mentions: Trading away Sheldon Brown and Chris Gocong, trading away Asante Samuel for a seventh-rounder, trading away Eric Rowe for a fourth-rounder.

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 

Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19



Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Roger Goodell makes statement as NFL admits fault, says it supports players' right to protest

Roger Goodell makes statement as NFL admits fault, says it supports players' right to protest

A day after some of the NFL’s biggest black stars called on their league to condemn racism and support their fight, the NFL has responded. 

In a 1:21 video, commissioner Roger Goodell did just that. 

Goodell gave his condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives to police brutality and then offered up the following statement: 

While Goodell didn’t specifically mention Colin Kaepernick, it seems like the NFL will not fight players who wish to demonstrate during the national anthem. In fact, Goodell said the NFL will “encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.” 

Kaepernick began his peaceful protest nearly four years ago, back in 2016. 

This video from Goodell and the strong statement from the league comes just a day after Patrick Mahomes, Michael Thomas, Odell Beckham Jr. and more created a video asking for this type of response from the league. To the league’s credit, it came pretty promptly. 

In time, we’ll see what this means. It’s been an emotional week in the United States and this feels like a good start. But it also feels like a beginning for the NFL, a jumping off point. As far as players are concerned, this can’t be an empty statement. We’ll find out soon enough if there will be actions to back these words. 

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles