PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Malcolm Jenkins just started a new period of his life when he hosted his annual football camp last June. One year later, Jenkins led his camp at Piscataway High School emboldened by a season in which he was one of the most important players on the Eagles' defense and one of the leaders in the locker room.
"I remember last year, I wanted to set a good impression in everything," Jenkins said Friday on the first day of a two-day free camp for nearly 400 children.
"I was a new father, I was on a new team, in a new city, doing stuff in business that was new, and I wanted to put my best foot forward. I felt like I did that. Going into this year, it's really about establishing myself."
Jenkins finished last season with 80 tackles and a career-high three interceptions. He was the most consistent player in an inconsistent secondary, playing a team-high 1,153 snaps. He now must adjust to a defensive backfield that will include three new starters.
"It's easy to be motivated when you're the new guy on the block and you have something to prove," Jenkins said. "But now, even for myself, my expectations are so much higher."
Jenkins is respected in the locker room. Quarterback Mark Sanchez, wide receiver Jordan Matthews, linebacker Najee Goode, and long snapper Jon Dorenbos made the drive up the New Jersey Turnpike on Friday to support Jenkins.
"He's a great spokesman for the team," Sanchez said. "He's well-spoken, he's prepared, he's a great example of what Chip [Kelly] wants as an Eagles player – the mentality, the mind-set. He's not afraid to put himself in an uncomfortable position and talk in front of the team, and he's not shy about bringing up his opinion."
On the field, Jenkins said he has more confidence and is more comfortable in his technique and understanding of how to play safety.
"I'm very confident," Jenkins said. "And I also understand that it doesn't exclude me. I'm just as dispensable as anyone else on the team. And I'm OK with that, as long as I know all the moves are in the team's best interest."