Eagles

Malcolm Jenkins taking game 'to the next level' with another pick-6 vs. Giants

Malcolm Jenkins taking game 'to the next level' with another pick-6 vs. Giants

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.”

Zach Ertz's urgent message if there's no high school football

Zach Ertz's urgent message if there's no high school football

Pennsylvania high school football is in jeopardy, and Zach Ertz wants to make sure all the kids who are likely to miss out on the experience are OK.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday “strongly recommended” that high school football – and all interscholastic sports state-wide – be postponed until Jan. 1, 2021, at the earliest.

The Pennsylvania Scholastic Athletic Association, the governing body for Pennsylvania high school sports, met Friday and decided to delay the start of fall sports until Aug. 24 but has not yet decided whether all sports will indeed be cancelled for the rest of this calendar year.

During a Zoom call Friday, Ertz brought up the situation without being asked and emphasized how important it is – based on his own experiences as a teenager – that if high school sports are cancelled for kids to be provided other opportunities to learn, to grow, to develop and to keep them off the street.

I just want to talk a little bit about high school football and my experience,” Ertz said. “I was 15 years old, my parents separated, I was the oldest of four boys, and the only thing that I knew how to do, the only way I could express myself -- I was so frustrated inside -- the only thing I could do was play football. All I did was lift weights, play football, play basketball, and that allowed me to kind of release my internal stress and pressure that I had built up. 

“And Tom Wolf  came out with the recommendation that there is no fall football or fall sports in general. And the adversity I faced when I was 15 is about 1-1,000th of what many kids in this state in particular are going to be facing if they don’t have an outlet, if there is no football in the fall for these kids, and I would just really challenge everyone if the decision is no football, there’s got to be an alternative where we (don’t) just allow these kids to go about their days with no guidance, with no further investment. 

“Obviously, football costs money. So if they were to disband football, where is that money going to go? I’d love to see it invested in these kids to make sure that they’re OK and taken care of and not on the streets from 3 to 7. Because that’s what I was fortunate enough to do. I had organization after school with football and basketball and I couldn’t imagine the path that I would have gone down if I didn’t have football to express myself. 

“I want kids to be healthy, first and foremost, that is the primary goal, and if that is the decision to really think outside the box and how we can keep these kids safe.

Ertz grew up in Danville, Calif., and played football and basketball at Monte Vista High School. He earned a scholarship to Stanford, where he spent three years before joining the Eagles in 2013.

He ranks 13th in NFL history among tight ends with 525 receptions.

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The 10 greatest NFL players who became irrelevant Eagles

The 10 greatest NFL players who became irrelevant Eagles

They’re all-time NFL greats. And they’re former Eagles.

But they were never both at the same time.

We thought it would be fun to come up with a list of the 10 greatest NFL players who finished their careers in obscurity as Eagles.

Two rules: They weren’t allowed to spend more than one season with the Eagles and their final NFL game had to be in an Eagles uniform.

That eliminates guys like Mark Bavaro, Roy Green and Greg Townsend.  

But there are some pretty notable players - including three Hall of Famers - who finished their brilliant NFL careers as mediocre and forgotten Eagles.

Interesting to note that seven of the 10 played for the Eagles between 1993 and 1997!

Tomorrow, we'll do the opposite top-10 list ... the 10 greatest players who began their career in obscurity with the Eagles! 

1. DE Richard Dent

Before he was an Eagle [1983-1996]: Four-time Pro Bowler with the Bears and an all-pro and Super Bowl MVP in1985. One of only six defensive players named Super Bowl MVP.  Ranked 3rd in NFL history with 133 sacks through 1996 (behind Reggie White and Bruce Smith). One of only four players in NFL history with consecutive 17-sack seasons (White, J.J. Watt and Mark Gastineau are the others). Was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.

As an Eagle [1997]: Had 4 1/2 sacks in 15 games with no starts playing for a 6-win team. Finished third on team in sacks, behind Rhett Hall [8.0] and William Thomas [5.0]. 

2. WR James Lofton

Before he was an Eagle [1978-1992]: Eight-time Pro Bowler with Packers and Bills. 

Held NFL record with 13,821 yards when he signed with Eagles and ranked 3rd with 750 catches [behind Art Monk and Steve Largent]. Had 18.4 yards-per-catch average, 4th-highest in NFL history. Had 6th 1,000-yard season at 35 years old. One of seven players in history to average over 20 yards per catch four times. Named to NFL team of the decade for the 1980s. Inducted into Hall of Fame in 2003.

As an Eagle [1993]: Played nine games. Caught 13 passes for 167 yards and no TDs. Final career reception was 32-yarder from Bubby Brister against 49ers on final day of 1993 season.

3. WR Art Monk

Before he was an Eagle [1980-1994]: Held NFL record with 934 receptions when he signed with Eagles and ranked 4th with 12,607 receiving yards. Set NFL record with 106 catches in 1984 all-pro season. Won two Super Bowls. Had over 1,000 yards in postseason. Named to NFL team of the decade for the 1980s. Inducted into Hall of Fame in 2008. 

As an Eagle [1995]: Played in three games. Caught six passes for 114 yards. Final career reception was a 36-yarder from Rodney Peele in Christmas Eve loss to Bears at Soldier Field. Monk broke his arm on the play while being tackled by Mark Carrier. He never played again.

4. PR-KR Mel Gray

Before he was an Eagle [1986-1997]: Three-time all-pro and three-time Pro Bowl returner with the Lions. Had six kick return TDs and three punt return TDs. Led NFL in kick return average in 1991 and 1994 and in punt return average in 1987 and 1991. One of four players in NFL history to average 10 yards per punt return and 24 yards per kick return and one of only four players with 3 TD returns on both punts and kicks. Was named to the team of the decade for the 1990s second team as both punt returner and kick returner.

As an Eagle [1997]: Played in three games. In his first game called for a fair catch of a Brad Maynard punt at the Eagles’ 5-yard-line.  Returned two punts for an 8.5 average and one kickoff for 8 yards. 

5. WR Mark Duper

Before he was an Eagle [1982-1992]: Had 511 catches for 8,869 yards and 59 touchdowns with the Dolphins, made three Pro Bowls, had five straight years averaging at least 18 yards per catch and as of the end of the 1992 season had a 17.4 yards-per-catch average, 6th-highest in NFL history.

As an Eagle [1993]: The Eagles actually signed him on Aug. 18, two days after Carter retired. He was released 12 days later (along with Casey Weldon, Siran Stacy and Ephesians Bartley). 

6. DT Michael Carter 

Before he was an Eagle [1984-1992]: Three-time Pro Bowler and all-pro defensive tackle with 49ers. Starter on three 49ers Super Bowl teams. Olympic silver medalist in the shot put in 1984.

As an Eagle [1993]: Signed with the Eagles on July 15 and retired on Aug. 16. 

7. DT Haloti Ngata

Before he was an Eagle [2006-2017]: Ngata made five straight Pro Bowls as a Raven and two all-pro teams.  He was a starter on the Ravens’ Super Bowl-championship team in 2012. His teams made the playoffs in 9 of his 13 seasons. His 19 career playoff games are 2nd-most in NFL history by a defensive lineman (Vince Wilfork played in 24). He’s already been inducted into the Ravens’ Ring of Honor. 

As an Eagle [2018]: Played in 13 games starting nine for the 2018 Eagles. Played 368 snaps and had 17 tackles. Retired after the season.

8. RB Chris Warren

Before he was an Eagle [1990-2000]: Warren was one of the most accomplished running backs in the NFL in the 1990s. He made three straight Pro Bowls for the Seahawks, had four straight 1,000-yard seasons and during the 6-year span from 1992 through 1997 was the 3rd-leading rusher in the NFL, behind only Hall of Famers Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith. 

As an Eagle [2000]: With Duce Staley out for the season and the running game ineffective, the Eagles signed Warren late in the 2000 regular season. He rushed for 42 yards in the regular-season finale against the Bengals, then was 22-for-85 in the playoff win over the Bucs - the Eagles’ first playoff win under Andy Reid. In Eagles history only Wilbert Montgomery has more carries in a playoff game. Warren ran for 11 yards against the Giants a week later in his final NFL game.

9. DT Keith Millard 

Before he was an Eagle [1985-1992]: Two-time all-pro defensive tackle for Vikings. Had 54 sacks as an interior lineman. Set NFL record for defensive tackles with 18 sacks in 1989. His 51 sacks remains 2nd-most in NFL history by a defensive tackle in his first five seasons (behind Aaron Donald’s 59 1/2). 

As an Eagle [1993]: Played in 14 games, starting six on a defensive line with Andy Harmon, William Perry, Mike Floes and Clyde Simmons. Played his final NFL game on final day of 1993 season - also Lofton’s final NFL game. Sacked Steve Bono on the final play of his career.

10. WR Carlos Carson

Before he was an Eagle [1980-89]: Caught 353 passes for 6,372 yards and 33 touchdowns with the Chiefs and made the Pro Bowl in 1983 and 1987. Had three 1,000-yard seasons, and in 1983 finished second in the NFL to Mike Quick with 1,351 yards. Piled up 6,431 scrimmage yards in a Chiefs uniform.

As an Eagle [1989]: In his first game as an Eagle, against the Redskins at the Vet, he dropped a perfectly thrown pass from Randall Cunningham that would have been a long touchdown. He finished the season with one 12-yard catch and minus-nine yards on an end around for three scrimmage yards.

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