Malcolm Jenkins is one of the most vocal players on the Philadelphia Eagles roster. He always makes a habit of saying the right thing, and it's no secret he's considered to be one of the respected leaders on the team. Chip Kelly himself has publicly identified "Jenk" as a leader, including during his most recent press conference. It was interesting, then, to hear Jenkins openly criticize some of the Eagles' coaching philosophies in an appearance on the 94 WIP Locker Room Show on Monday evening.
"The one area on our team where we don’t do a good job is holding guys accountable for what they do on the field," Jenkins said. "We’ll talk about it in our group specific units, in the defensive back room, d-line room, o-line room … but as a team, we never really hold anybody accountable for what they do on the field."
"I think sometimes we get a little bit too caught up in not trying to point fingers," Jenkins continued. "But at the end of the day there’s a job to get done and I think everybody needs to own whether they’re sign their job or not. And I think that makes it hard on leaders to call somebody out or have that voice where you can try to get somebody to light a fire under them because at the end of the day the coaches are the ones who own that. They set the bar and the leaders kind of follow suit. It’s a little hard with what we’ve got going on to call anybody out because that’s just not what happens."
Jenkins didn't stop there. Later in the show, he had some more criticism for the team's coaches.
"I think our red zone defense has become a little bit too predictable," Jenkins said. "Teams are scheming us up. It was the same thing with Tampa Bay. They had specific schemes to beat what we’ve been in. So I think we could be a little bit more versatile down there. We’re very heavy in our blitzes. Teams are taking advantage of that. It just comes down to a combination of doing a good job of putting us in the best positions that we can be in, but as players doing your job because a lot of guys are just simply not doing that. And it’s hurting us when it comes to big plays and it’s hurting us when in key situations like third downs."
According to Howard Eskin (who was on the WIP show), the team felt the need to privately address Jenkins' criticism.
Jenkins spoke after practice on Tuesday, as regularly scheduled. The veteran defensive back expanded on his original comments.
"It’s really my own opinion," Jenkins clarified. "I was kind of … from a coaching style, I was brought up a little bit different where most mistakes that teammates make or players make were brought up more in a team setting. But the approach here is more in the individual rooms and that’s just by design and that’s on purpose. A lot of the times when things happen, say, on the defensive side of the ball … if the secondary isn’t playing well, the mistakes aren’t necessarily pointed out in front of the entire defense. It’s dealt within the DB room. So a [defensive lineman] might not know necessarily what the mistakes are or what it is that we need to get better at. So they’re probably … For me, I’m a big control freak. And so I like to know where the mistakes are and what we’re trying to get better at. Obviously, Billy and the other coaching staff feel that’s not necessarily my place and they were right and they handle it a lot different than what I’ve just been used to."
Jenkins continued to make it clear he's been used to different methods than how the Eagles run their operation under Kelly.
"I can only speak for myself. I think the way that the schedule is set up allows us to get a lot done," Jenkins said. "But it also doesn’t give you the opportunity to, like I said, have a long extended meeting in a team setting. We spend a lot of time broken up into our individual groups or broken up in offensive and defensive units. So there’s not a lot of meeting time with the entire team.
"But like I said, I don’t think that that’s a bad thing. I think we get more accomplished when we talk about the time on task. We probably get more than anybody. But anytime you move fast throughout the day, sometimes you don’t get that opportunity to double back. The way we do it is all our stuff gets done early in the week and then we have a lot of time later in the week. But that’s after practice has been done. So sometimes those mistakes or corrections or miscommunications are kind of saved toward the end of the week as we tighten through our game plan and it’s a lot more mental. Some people learn different. I’m more of a time on task type of guy. So I spend a lot of time here at the facility because I have to see it and know what I’m doing. So people don’t necessarily work like that. I think it’s all individual based. Me, personally, I came into the league and it was a team where we didn’t leave the facility until seven o’clock. But that doesn’t translate into success, it’s just how I learned."
As Jenkins notes, different teams do things differently. There might be other teams, good or bad, out there who operate similarly to how the Eagles do. Given the way the Eagles have struggled, it's fair to question if the team's preparation methods are most conducive to success.