Malcolm Jenkins is focused on winning, not wages in 2019

Malcolm Jenkins is focused on winning, not wages in 2019

As training camps get underway across the NFL, several star players are holding out for new contracts. Ezekiel Elliott. Michael Thomas. Melvin Gordon.

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins would’ve been in great company. Instead, he opted not to join the list.

Jenkins did show displeasure with his contract situation in the spring, choosing to skip voluntary workouts with his team. But when push came to shove, the three-time Pro Bowler was at mandatory minicamp in June, and the expectation was he would show for the first day of training camp, too.

It didn’t sound like it was a very difficult decision to make, either.

“It’s important to me to win,” said Jenkins following Thursday’s practice. “At the end of the day, I owe it to my teammates, I owe it to myself to be able to come out and compete, and it’s what I love to do.”

To be fair, he’s in a very different situation than the aforementioned holdouts, all of whom are on their rookie contracts and not paid in line with the premier players at their respective positions. Jenkins currently carries the fourth-highest cap hit for a safety in 2019, fifth in terms of base salary.

But Jenkins’ 32nd birthday is approaching in December, 2020 is the final year of his current deal and — in addition to his generally stellar performance — he’s played something like 99 percent of the defensive snaps since joining the Eagles in ’14. He has both the urgency and a strong case to try to force the organization’s hand.

Rather than pout, Jenkins downplayed the topic.

“I’m not talking about the contract stuff,” Jenkins said. “At this point, I’m here looking forward to getting better individually and making this team better.

“It’s not about me when I step out here.”

One season removed from a Super Bowl championship, the Eagles also enter this season as a trendy pick to make it back to the big game. Their odds certainly increase with the versatile Jenkins, whose role in the secondary includes playing safety, nickel cornerback and a hybrid linebacker of sorts.

Yet, Jenkins was even cagey discussing the team’s talent level and ceiling, stating that it’s too early to say everything will come together the way it did in 2017.

“Obviously on paper we’ve got a lot of great names, a lot of guys that have played a lot of ball, but that wins you nothing,” Jenkins said.

“We don’t win games based off of what people say about us, we don’t lose games based off what people say about us. We win or lose with our preparation and what we do on this field, so that’s where the focus is.”

Jenkins is all business. But now that the calendar has turned to July and football season is fast approaching, that business is hoisting another Lombardi Trophy — not adding to his bank account

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Eagles reportedly have a new secondary coach

Eagles reportedly have a new secondary coach

Marquand Manuel is the Eagles’ new secondary coach, according to a tweet by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

The 40-year-old Manuel replaces Cory Undlin, who had served in that role since 2015, first under Chip Kelly and the last four years under Doug Pederson. Undlin was named Lions defensive coordinator two weeks ago.

Manuel and Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz go back a ways. Manuel played for the Lions in 2009 when Schwartz was their head coach.

Manuel was not in the NFL this past year. He spent the previous four years under Dan Quinn with the Falcons, two years as secondary coach and two years as defensive coordinator before getting fired following the 2018 season.

The Falcons reached the Super Bowl in his second year in Atlanta, losing to the Patriots in Houston.

Before Atlanta, Manuel spent three years working under Quinn with the Seahawks, holding a variety of titles on the defensive staff.

Manuel, who played for Steve Spurrier at Florida, was the Bengals’ 6th-round pick in 2002 and spent eight years as a safety in the NFL with six different teams — the Bengals, Seahawks, Packers, Panthers, Broncos and Lions.

He played in 116 games, starting 58, with two interceptions and a pick-6 while he was with the Packers in 2006 off Jon Kitna of the Lions.

The Eagles also reportedly interviewed Browns defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker for the position.

The Eagles already have a safeties coach on the staff, former Eagle Tim Hauck. He was Pederson's teammate with the Eagles in 1999 and has been on Pederson's staff since 2016.

Quinn had this to say about Manuel on the Falcons’ web site back in 2018:

From the time I've met him from now, one thing that's cool to see that has stayed consistent is the energy and enthusiasm he has for players. He made the transition from player to coach really seamlessly because he knew the boundaries of coach, but he also stepped across to say, I can push you. That's not easy to do. He's always had mental quickness of a quarterback or someone who gets concepts really quickly. That transferred into this coaching fast. He can communicate concepts and ideas quickly to people on the run, in the moment, that's a really valuable asset as a coach.

The Eagles still have openings to replace the three assistant coaches Doug Pederson fired: offensive coordinator Mike Groh, wide receivers coach Carson Walch and defensive line coach Phillip Daniels.

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Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Just a few days ago, it seemed like the Eagles weren’t going to lose Vice President of Football Operations Andrew Berry because it looked like the Browns were going to hire someone else.

Well, that someone else has dropped out of the race.

Vikings assistant GM George Paton has taken himself out of the running to be the Browns’ next general manager, which means Berry is now the new favorite, according to Cleveland.com

This is certainly an interesting turn of events.

According to Cleveland.com, “Paton was reluctant to accept the initial interview because he assumed the job would go Berry.”

Now it might.

It would have made plenty of sense for the Browns to hire Paton, who has a long-standing relationship with new head coach Kevin Stefanski from their time together in Minnesota. But according to reports over the past few weeks, it seems like Berry has been a favorite of ownership and the front office.

While Berry and Stefanski have never worked together, they did get to know each other during the coaching search in Cleveland a year ago. After that search, the Browns hired Freddie Kitchens and Berry left for Philly. But now, Berry and Stefanski might actually get a chance to work with one another.

The Harvard-educated Berry, 32, was with the Browns from 2016-18 as their Vice President of Player Personnel before he joined the Eagles last season in a role they created for him. Berry initially came up in the Colts franchise, first as a scouting assistant and finally as a pro scouting coordinator. He’s been a quick-riser in the NFL world.

Earlier this offseason, the Eagles reportedly denied a request from the Panthers to interview Berry for a Vice President job. The reasoning from the Eagles was that it wasn’t a general manager position and he wouldn’t have had final say on personnel matters.

Final say is something Berry will likely never have here in Philadelphia. Despite a few missteps in recent years, Howie Roseman has pretty solid job security and he isn’t going anywhere. If Berry is going to become a GM, it’s going to be in another city. And it seems like that day might be coming soon.

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