Malcolm Jenkins is pissed off.
Speaking in the Eagles’ locker room on Tuesday, the 30-year-old defensive captain was not shy to question the team’s effort in their 48-7 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Via ESPN’s Tim McManus:
“It was just embarrassing, quite frankly. It was one of those things that, I didn’t feel like — as a team — we had a lot of fight. I’d rather get thrown out of a game then just lay down and take it. And you know, it was a ton of frustrations. One being me obviously going back to New Orleans, it was a game that meant a lot to me. But just the demeanor of the team really bothered me. And then just the frustration of having guys that you work hard with and spend a lot of time with get injured. It’s just a rough day overall. But at this point in time, we need to figure out some things about ourselves.”
“Some things are just non-negotiable. We can deal with guys getting beat. Mistakes happen. If you don’t win at the point of attack, cool. But if you don’t know what you’re doing or if you’re not giving us everything you’ve got, especially when our backs are on the wall, then I think that’s something as leaders of the team we need to nip in the bud because we’re at that moment where we can’t carry non-essential personnel.”
These aren’t just empty words from Jenkins. His actions indicate that he was really, really mad about how Sunday’s game went.
Jenkins was caught flipping the bird to Sean Payton following the Saints’ decision to throw deep for a touchdown on 4th-and-7. Alvin Kamara had beaten Jenkins on the play. After the game, Jenkins denied he was seriously mad at Payton. But Jenkins sure didn’t look happy when cameras caught him slapping his helmet down into the field on the Eagles’ sideline.
Another unusual occurrence from Jenkins is that he declined to speak to the media during postgame locker room availability. Usually he’s always willing to answer questions from reporters, whether the Eagles win or lose. ESPN notes a few reporters eventually caught up with Jenkins in the tunnel, but his answers were “short and in some cases sharp,” which is out of character for him.
The feeling here is that it’s good to see Jenkins, one of the team’s five designated captains and arguably the biggest vocal leader, calling out the team. It’s good to see one of the team’s most prominent players as frustrated as the fans are.
The hope is that the Eagles can channel this anger and use it as motivation to play better. We’ll see how the players respond to Jenkins’ challenge when they take on the Giants this Sunday.