It was Oct. 31, 2010 -- Halloween evening in New Orleans. Steelers vs. Saints at the Superdome in a Sunday night national TV game.
It was nearly seven years ago, but Malcolm Jenkins remembers it clearly.
Because this week reminds him of that week.
Because that night the Saints played with six defensive backs. And on Wednesday, the Eagles practiced with six defensive backs.
With cornerback Ronald Darby out indefinitely with an ankle injury and safeties Corey Graham and Rodney McLeod and corner/safety Jaylen Watkins all out of practice with hamstring injuries, the only other defensive backs healthy enough to practice Wednesday -- four days before the Eagles' home opener vs. the Giants -- were cornerbacks Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas, Dexter McDougle and Patrick Robinson and safety Chris Maragos.
Just like seven years ago on Halloween.
"At one point we had myself and Usama Young playing corner, Pierson Prioleau was the dime, who played the nickel, we had Roman Harper, Darren Sharper … and the only active corner we had was Leigh Torrance," Jenkins recalled. "And he got a concussion at some point in that game.
"And we won (20-10). We actually played really well in the back end. So it’s one of those things. It’s a mindset. You can either let it distract you, let it slow you down, or you can prepare to win, and we’ve decided that whoever’s out there, we’re going to prepare to win.
"If we need to adjust, we’ll adjust. Obviously we feel that our D-line is one of those things that can equalize some of the depth that we have. If not, we’ll adjust as we go on."
Darby got hurt against the Redskins. The Eagles lost Watkins and McLeod in the second quarter in Kansas City Sunday. Graham also got hurt against the Chiefs but was able to finish.
Even though none of them practiced today, none of them have been ruled out for Sunday. Graham in particular seems likely to see action.
The Eagles did add a safety Wednesday, claiming Trae Elston off waivers (see story). He was released by the Bills on Tuesday. But he's not likely to figure into the Eagles' defensive plans Sunday.
But this is certainly as thin as the Eagles have been in the secondary in years. And remember, Maragos is essentially a special teamer -- he has one defensive snap the last two years. And McDougle has never played a snap in an Eagles uniform.
“We’re a little thin right now, but we have few backup plans in case somebody else gets hurt," Jenkins said. "We’ll have to get creative. But as of right now we’re game-planning with everything we’ve got, not changing anything. We’ll move forward and see what happens.
“We’ve got options. A lot of us are very, very versatile. (Special teamer) Chris Maragos is a safety, somebody who can slide in. We can put Kamu (Grugier-Hill, linebacker) back there or we can change the defense and put one of our corners there and move some guys in and out of the slot. Dex McDougle we can put in the slot or move Patrick. "
The biggest weapon the Eagles' secondary has is the defensive line.
The Eagles have eight sacks in their first two games, third-most in the league and most by an NFC team, and seventh-most in franchise history after two games.
“It’s going to come down to the play of our D-line," Jenkins said. "They’re definitely going to need to help us in that regard so we don’t have guys out there trying to cover some really good receivers for a long a long amount of time with a really good quarterback.
"But there’s some things we’re going to have to do in the secondary, especially covering early, giving our D-line some time to be disruptive and be able to get so many skill players on the ground."
Jenkins was asked several times at his locker Wednesday about the threadbare secondary, but he genuinely doesn't seem concerned.
“I’m not," he said. "I’m getting ready to play the Giants at home and I’ve got nothing in my mind but winning.
“We prepare, man. As a group, I’d be surprised if anybody we put out there flinched at all. Just the way we prepare, the way we challenge each other, we’ve got full confidence by the time we get to Sunday in whoever's out there.
“It might be a mindset. Honestly, we’ve got places we want to go, places we think we should be, and no matter who we got or what stands in our way, we’re going to get there.
"I can assure one thing - that we’ll go out and compete on Sunday. That’s the biggest thing. Whoever we put out there is going to play hard, they’re going to prepare hard throughout the week, and we’ll be ready to play. Will it be perfect? It’s never perfect. But we’re going to play hard and we have faith in the guys we’re putting out there."
Assuming the 22-year-old Mills and 23-year-old Douglas start at cornerback, it will be the youngest starting cornerback duo in franchise history.
In 2004, the Eagles started two 23-year-old corners -- Lito Sheppard and Rod Hood -- in one game, Week 14 against the Cowboys. And in Week 1 of this season, they also started two 23-year-olds -- Darby and Mills.
“Everybody’s out to prove something," Jenkins said. "Jalen has probably the most confidence in our room, out of any of the guys, and I think that’s what makes him the player that he is. Rasul also is a guy that has a lot of confidence in his ability and his preparation and plays with a chip on his shoulder and has something to prove.
"That’s all I ask for, guys like that next to me. If we have that attitude, no matter who we play against, we’ll go out and compete."