Eagles players seemed surprised, angry, and puzzled when they learned, at the end of practice Friday, of former teammate Orlando Scandrick’s comments criticizing the organization and the locker room, on FS1′s Undisputed show.
“I don’t give two --- about people who ain’t here,” said safety Malcolm Jenkins, who was singled out by Scandrick as “selfish.”
“You ask anybody in the locker room who I am as a player, who I am to this team -- I think one of the things he said was that I didn’t take accountability for certain plays.," Jenkins said. “Anybody goes and looks at any of my comments, I immediately take credit for all of the mistakes I make.”
Scandrick indicated that he thought Jenkins caused Rasul Douglas to be blamed for an assignment error that led to a touchdown against Minnesota. In fact, Jenkins made it clear the mistake was his.
“For us to move on as a team, we can’t have ---ers like that in the room,” Jenkins said.
“For us, I think it’s exciting [that] we’ve had a good week of practice. We feel good about the guys we’ve got in the locker room, and what we’re trying to move forward with, everybody taking their role serious. That’s what we’re focused on."
Defensive end Brandon Graham walked past the gaggle of reporters surrounding Jenkins and yelled: “Man, those people ain’t got a ring, man. -- 'em.”
Scandrick was cut twice by the Eagles, at the end of training camp and then Monday, in the wake of the 37-10 loss to Dallas, the team Scandrick played for in 10 of his 12 NFL seasons. Scandrick was released along with veteran defensive tackle Akeem Spence. He said his release “felt really, really scapegoatish. The problem in Philadelphia is much, much deeper than me.”
His most direct criticisms were of general manager Howie Roseman and of Jenkins. The Eagles said Roseman had no comment.
“I don’t believe anything that Howie says,” Scandrick said. “Howie is one of the people that if he told me it was raining outside, I’d probably get some shorts, just in case. He put it to me that they wanted to play some younger players, they’re a mess on defense, they needed to get some more defensive linemen, and we’ll see how that works for them this weekend up in Buffalo.”
Then Scandrick referred to the coverage mix-up at Minnesota.
“On defense, they have stuck together pretty good," he said. "But I think there’s some selfish people on that defense. Rasul Douglas, who is a good friend of mine, he took some unwanted heat for some blown coverages on some other people’s selfish play. And we don’t have to say names at all. They know who they are.”
Hosts Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless then went into an extended shtick in which they suggested the selfish player was Jenkins.
“When you wear a 'C' on your jersey, it’s your job to bring guys along,” Scandrick said. Jenkins is a defensive captain. “Sometimes you need to take the hard down, you need to take the hard job, and you need to, like, bring the thing together. I don’t know if that’s the case. Look at everything that happened -- you hold out for a contract [Jenkins sat out optional OTAs, did not hold out], you come in, you’re not really making any splash plays, and you [blow the coverage]. That’s not a rookie we’re talking about here, that’s a two-time Super Bowl champ.”
The Eagles on Friday afternoon tweeted a video of Jenkins, wearing a microphone, forcing a fumble late in the Minnesota loss, and Scandrick telling him on the sideline: “That’s exactly why you’re the captain of this defense, bro, the way that you ---- conduct yourself, first snap to the last.”
In subsequent Fox media appearances Friday, Scandrick sharpened his criticisms of Jenkins, implying that Jenkins had something to do with the release of linebacker Zach Brown.
Cornerback Jalen Mills said Scandrick was wrong about Jenkins.
“There are no leadership problems here,” Mills said. “Especially not with [Jenkins]. That’s one person that you don’t have to worry about having leadership problems. Jenk helps everybody from defense to special teams to offense, practice squad guys. ... I don’t know why he would feel like that. We were all in the same room. That’s just something you don’t do, you don’t go talk to the media.”
Mills said Scandrick never said any of these things when he was here.
“Jenk is on what, year 11? He’s a guy who still goes out there on scout team kickoff and runs full speed. ... He’s racing all the undrafted guys who are four-core special-teams guys, he’s out there helping practice squad guys, getting extra reps. Anybody who has questions as far as the defense, there may be a second- or third-string guy, he’s answering questions for them. So it’s no selfishness at all.”
Scandrick, who has never played on a team that went to the Super Bowl, said his theory is that the Eagles “are having a tough time dealing with success. Whenever you got to say, ‘Oh, we got to get it together, oh, nobody believes in us, oh, it’s about us,’ you’re already doomed.”
Asked by Bayless about dissension in the Eagles locker room, Scandrick said: “Let’s just say, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”
“That locker room is different,” said Scandrick, who said he told Eagles players: “I still feel like they’re living on that Super Bowl high. It’s over. You’re living in the past.”
Scandrick said right tackle Lane Johnson’s comments after the Dallas loss about lateness to meetings and practices no longer being tolerated were directed at “somebody of some significance,” but then he said he didn’t know who that might be and acknowledged that “I wasn’t there long enough to even dive into that. That comment was made, I was released the next day.”
It’s rare in the NFL to release veterans who played substantive roles in a game, the day after that game, but the Eagles have done it the last two weeks, with Brown and then with Scandrick and Spence. This is the sort of thing that sows bitter feelings, and controversy.
Scandrick also said that Johnson shouldn’t have said what he said to the media.
“Orlando’s a good dude,” Johnson said. "Obviously he’s not happy about [being released]. It is what it is. As far as what he said about me, I probably messed up, on my comments. I didn’t mean any ill will toward any teammate. Didn’t mention any teammates’ names. We just have to play better."
Johnson said all he meant was to emphasize that everyone, including him, needs to be more disciplined.
Carson Wentz said he had heard about Scandrick’s comments but didn’t know the specifics, and had other things to focus on. “I’m sure I’ll hear all about it,” Wentz said.
Scandrick didn’t directly criticize Wentz, except to extol Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott’s work ethic, and to suggest that Wentz and his receivers working after practice during times of struggle somehow implied that they weren’t doing that earlier. Scandrick played only in the blowout win over the Jets, in which he had two sacks and two fumble recoveries, one for a touchdown, and the blowout losses at Minnesota and Dallas.
Scandrick, 32, played for Andy Reid in Kansas City last season and then the three Eagles games this season. He made his ultimate loyalties clear to hosts Bayless and Sharpe.
“I never really felt at home” in the other locker rooms, he said. “If I could take back one thing, if I have one regret, it’s that I didn’t stay with the Dallas Cowboys organization.”