Eagles

Eagles

He’s done it four times now in just 47 games as an Eagle.

Malcolm Jenkins’ pick-six Thursday night against Eli Manning and the Giants was his fourth as an Eagle, just one fewer than franchise record holder Eric Allen.

Allen had five pick-sixes in seven seasons as an Eagle. Jenkins is just finishing his third.

Jenkins has become one of the top touchdown-producing defensive backs in the NFL and a true playmaker on an Eagles team that doesn’t have very many.

He had two pick-sixes in five years with the Saints — off Sam Bradford and Carson Palmer — but had one each in his first two years with the Eagles — victimizing Colin Kaepernick and Tom Brady — and now two this year, off Kirk Cousins and Manning.

With six career INT TDs, Jenkins ranks 17th in NFL history,  eighth among safeties and second among active players, behind only Aqib Talib, who has nine.

“Every time I get the ball I’m thinking I’m going to score,” Jenkins said. “The tough part is getting the ball. 

“But it’s one of those things, if you can score as a defense, the chances of your team winning goes out of the roof.  So every time we get an opportunity to catch the ball, pick up a fumble, we are thinking about putting it in the end zone.”

Jenkins certainly makes the most of his interceptions. He has 14 career interceptions and six touchdowns, and no other player in NFL history with 14 or fewer career INTs has as many as six TDs.

 

Also, Jenkins is one of only 11 players in NFL history with six or more INT returns for a TD in his first eight seasons. The only other active ones are former Eagle Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie of the Giants and Talib of the Broncos.

Jenkins and Talib are the only players in the NFL with at least one pick-six in each of the last three seasons.

Jenkins is the first player in Eagles history with a pick-six in three straight seasons.

Jenkins probably dropped five interceptions last year and could have had a couple more pick-sixes. This year, he’s catching the ones he’s getting his hands on.

“I think I’ve done a better job of kind of capitalizing on those,” he said. “That was one of the emphasis coming into the year, just making sure I take advantage of any opportunities that I have.

“Really, the Steelers game was probably the only game that I feel like I left some on the table. Just been patient all year, just trying to wait for those opportunities.”

Jenkins, a first-time Pro Bowler last year, said he was committed coming into this season to hang on to the balls that he got his hands on.

“You work on it,” he said. “It’s one of those things where you don’t let it bother you too much. I was completely fine with the way the season was going. Hindsight, when you review the season and look at things you can get better at, that was probably one of my top things on my list. 

“When you talk about the potential to take your game to the next level, I think that is the area. And which you start really changing momentum of entire games.”

Jenkins, who had the Eagles’ first two-INT game in four years in the win over the Giants, has been splitting his time in the slot and at safety.

It all depends on the matchup.

“I want to be wherever the ball is,” he said. “The Giants have a really good slot in (Sterling) Shepard. He gets a lot of balls and makes a lot of plays. So this week I was going to be in the slot. 

“But when we play someone like the Redskins, where Jordan Reed is kind of their premier player, I’ll be at safety so I can matchup there. 

“But I like being down closer to the ball, wherever that is. If I play deep too long, a lot of times I get bored. It gets me in the action, keeps me active. So I think it’s a comfortable position for me.”

Jenkins, now finishing his third season with the Eagles, is already in the conversation of the best Eagles safeties of all-time not named Brian Dawkins, along with Bill Bradley, Wes Hopkins, Andre Waters and Randy Logan.

 

He’s an unquestioned team leader, he’s consistently productive and he’s durable — one of only three Eagles to start every game since opening day 2014 (with Connor Barwin and Fletcher Cox).

This has been a miserable season for the Eagles, who will finish with a losing record for a second straight season for the first time since 1998 and 1999.

The Eagles, who finish a week from Sunday at home against the Cowboys, haven’t even made the playoffs since before Jenkins got here.

But in the wake of the win over the  likely playoff-bound Giants, Jenkins felt a lot of optimism about the future.

“Winning these type of games this late in the year, although for us nothing counted, it sure had that feel,” he said.

“That’s something that with all the young players that we have, that experience carries over. Even for our coaching staff, it all kind of translates.

“No wins that we accumulate this year count for next year, but it’s experience and opportunity for our team to grow close together in adverse times and challenging games.

“To find a way to come out and win is lessons that everybody needs to learn.”