Eagles

Malcolm Jenkins unsure if he'll continue national anthem protest on Thursday

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Malcolm Jenkins unsure if he'll continue national anthem protest on Thursday

Just before 8 p.m. on Thursday, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins will stand on the visitors' sideline at Lambeau Field as The Star-Spangled Banner begins to play. 

He still doesn't know what he's going to do. 

"I woke up this morning like, 'Man, I think I gotta think about it,'" Jenkins said on Tuesday afternoon after practice, just a couple days before the preseason opener. "I don't know."

Last year, Jenkins participated in a near-season-long demonstration during the national anthem before games. Before the song played each week, the veteran raised his right fist into the air in an attempt to further a conversation about racism and social injustice in the United States. It was a move to show solidarity with then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began kneeling during the anthem. 

Looking back, Jenkins said the demonstration "definitely" worked. 

"It was a very effective demonstration in that regard, when it comes to starting conversation," Jenkins said. "It did exactly what it was supposed to do. But looking where we are compared to last year, I don't think we're any better. I think possibly worse. I think there's still a lot of work to be done. There's been a lot of work done by a lot of guys. It's one of those things that regardless of a demonstration or not, that work is going to continue."

Jenkins, 29, isn't sure if he'll continue to protest for a couple reasons. He definitely wants the conversation to continue but said he wants to make sure it's getting the results he wants. 

The biggest fear Jenkins has is that the demonstration will shift the focus to him instead of the progress he hopes will be accomplished and the actual work that's being done to get there. 

"I don't want the story to be about me and the NFL and its new political stance," Jenkins said. "I want it to be about the actual issues. And so it's about finding out what's the most effective way to message that. But at the end of the day, there's no bigger platform than the one I stand on and I want to make sure that I use it appropriately." 

Toward the beginning of last season when Jenkins began his demonstration, he was joined by several teammates. A couple of them — Steven Means and Marcus Smith — didn't continue to join Jenkins in protest, and Ron Brooks was lost for the season in October with an injury. 

Aside from just raising his fist before games, Jenkins has become extremely involved trying to bridge the gap between police officers and the minority communities they serve. He's spoken with local lawmakers and local police, and he joined a group of NFL players that visited Washington in March to discuss criminal justice reform. 

"A demonstration is one part of the grand scheme of things," Jenkins said. "Even though I might have been alone on that after a while, demonstrating, there were guys who took part in a lot of the things that we were doing. Ron Brooks and Steven Means went along with me with the police ride-along. A lot of guys this offseason have expressed interest in joining some of the efforts with local legislation and some of the other programs we have going on. There are guys partaking in projects, just not necessarily the demonstration. 

"And the demonstration is probably the most controversial part of it. It's the part of it that has the microscope under it and I understand why some people wouldn't want to put themselves in that crosshair."

Can't help but think about Nick Foles' future after a game like this

Can't help but think about Nick Foles' future after a game like this

LOS ANGELES — It's impossible to watch Nick Foles play football without wondering about the future.

You can't help it.

He's the Super Bowl MVP and he's stuck behind the Eagles' quarterback of the future, but every time he gets on the field, something special happens.

And it happened again Sunday night.

Foles, making his first start since Week 3, led the Eagles to a 30-23 upset win over the NFC West-champion Rams at L.A. Coliseum a year after he replaced an injured Carson Wentz and led the Eagles to a comeback win over a very similar Rams team.

That win propelled the Eagles to the Super Bowl. This one? Who knows.

But you'd be lying if you said you're not intrigued by Foles, Wentz and where the Eagles go from here.

Foles said he tries not to think about it, but sometimes he can't help it.

"That part does creep in," he said. "I do say there is a human side, but I'm very self-aware that those distractions don't do you any good. I really thrive in staying in the moment and just enjoying it. We'll see what happens but I really want to just enjoy the moment and just be in the present in all I do, and that's what I try to focus on daily."

Foles completed 77 percent of his passes (24 for 31) for 270 yards against the Rams, and although he didn't throw a touchdown and did throw an interception, the biggest thing he did was add life to an often mundane Eagles offense.

He led the Eagles to scores on six of their first eight drives and then left it up to the defense to hang on in the final seconds and get the Eagles back to .500 at 7-7.

Wentz started the last 11 games but is out — you would think for the rest of the season — with a fracture in his back.

The Eagles didn't announce until Saturday that Foles would start against the Rams, but Foles has known for a while, and he said it was a tricky week for him.

"It was really emotional," he said. "You hate for your teammate to get hurt. I feel really bad for Carson. We're tight in that quarterback room. But then you don't really know what's going to happen. You start taking reps, it's been a while (since I played), you go through the human emotions. I don't care what you've done in the past or what I've done in the past, it doesn't matter when you step on that field, it's a new day. So I was dealing with the emotions, prepping as hard as I could and then realizing I'm not alone. I have great teammates out there. All I have to do is spread the ball around and stay in the moment, and we were able to do that tonight."

The biggest difference in the offense was that Foles delivered big plays down the field. He connected with Alshon Jeffery on pass plays of 18, 26, 36 and 50 yards, and Jeffery finished with his biggest game in five years — 160 yards.

Foles just brought a lot of energy, a lot of juice, and it seemed to carry over onto the defense, onto special teams and onto the sideline.

It carried the Eagles to a huge win, and that's what Foles does. He wins. He's now 22-11 as the Eagles' starter.

Foles was asked if he thrives on being the guy who comes in and saves the day. And it sure seems like he does, even going back to 2013, when he went 8-2 after Michael Vick got hurt and led the Eagles to the playoffs.

And, of course, last year.

"I don't really thrive on it," he said. "It's just sort of the way things have fallen.

"It's not about me. Great teammates, great coaches, great organization, and we're able to rally together. That's the thing that I love about being an Eagle."

Can history repeat? Can Foles use a win over the Rams in L.A. as a springboard to a playoff run?

Stranger things have happened. And nobody knows that better than Foles.

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'Heart of a giant' Avonte Maddox helps save Eagles' season

'Heart of a giant' Avonte Maddox helps save Eagles' season

LOS ANGELES — Game on the line. Season on the line. 

Avonte Maddox was ready. 

With just four seconds left, the Eagles needed one more stop late Sunday night at the L.A. Coliseum to pull off an improbable win over one of the NFC's best teams. Maddox, lining up at his third different position this season, expected the ball to come his way. And when it did, the 5-foot-9 rookie was able to make sure the pass wasn't completed to 6-foot-3 receiver Josh Reynolds in the end zone. 

The ball fell incomplete. The clock ran out. The Eagles won 30-23 to keep their playoff hopes alive with two games to go (see updated playoff picture).

"He's a young guy that stepped up, man," Fletcher Cox said. "He's a little guy but he got the heart of a giant."

It's telling that the Eagles have relied so heavily on Maddox, a fourth-round pick out of Pittsburgh, this season. The myriad of injuries to the defensive backfield has given Maddox a bigger role than anyone expected. But the Eagles might just have something with this kid. He's been somewhat of a revelation all season. 

On Sunday, after missing the last three games with knee and ankle injuries suffered on Nov. 18 in New Orleans, Maddox was asked to start at outside cornerback. It's the third different position he's started at for the Eagles this season, after nickel cornerback and safety. He's played all three very well. 

Did he ever think he'd play three positions during his rookie season? 

"Nah. That was the last thing on my mind," he said. "I pride myself as a DB. Anytime I got to go out there and play a position, I'm going to go out there and give it my all and take some good pride into it and learn."

When it was suggested that maybe Maddox could rush the passer next week as a defensive end, the rookie just flashed a big smile. I certainly wouldn't bet against him. Wherever the Eagles have played him this season, he's been able to make plays. 

He made three huge plays Sunday night in his return after missing three games: 

• He intercepted a pass in the second quarter, his second INT of the season, which ties him for the team lead.

• As the clock was winding in the fourth quarter, he tackled Todd Gurley in bounds to keep the clock running.

• He had the coverage on the final play of the game on a receiver who is half a foot taller than him.

"He's a great young player," Chris Long said. "He always does his job and he's come up with some big plays with us this year. He's dependable and it was a welcome sight to see him back in uniform. And like clockwork, he made a huge play for us." 

Cox said he jokes around with Maddox because the young defensive back is just 5-9, but it's clear how much the veterans on that defense respect him. Cox said it says a ton about Maddox that, as a rookie, he's been able to successfully play just about every position in the secondary. 

In a defensive backfield that has lost Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Rodney McLeod and Sidney Jones, it's been a big help to have a rookie that has been able to get plugged in anywhere and be successful. He might be someone who has worked his way into the future in Philadelphia. 

So last play of the biggest game of the season? No worries. 

"I'm out there to compete," Maddox said. "When I'm out there, I want them to throw the ball my way so I can make a play."

He's made a bunch of plays for the Eagles this season. The ones he made on Sunday night helped save their season.

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