MALCOLM JENKINS embodies the culture Chip Kelly is trying to create. Nobody works harder, gives back to the community more, presents himself with greater professionalism, takes more of a leadership role on and off the field, or gives coaches less reason to worry about what he's up to when he leaves the Eagles' practice facility than Jenkins, the sane, mature voice of the secondary.
So when the team's ideal culture warrior goes off the reservation, you know things are bad.
Jenkins spoke on 94WIP Monday evening about a lack of accountability on the squad, which is 4-7 after losing three in a row, the last two games by a combined score of 90-31. He also spoke about a hectic, regimented, compartmentalized daily approach that he said might not be conducive to thoughtfully and thoroughly addressing recurring issues.
Jenkins' day to speak with reporters at NovaCare is Tuesday, so there he stood behind a lectern less than 24 hours later, trying to limit the damage, after defensive coordinator Bill Davis joked, "Malcolm had a nice night, huh?"
The most striking thing about what the safety said Monday was, these were not words hurled in postgame embarrassment, the bruises still fresh from Thursday's 45-14 trouncing in Detroit. Jenkins had four days to think it over, before appearing on the "Locker Room Show" and critiquing the way the team is run.
"As a player and a leader, the one area on our team that we don't do a good job (in) is really holding guys accountable for what they do on the field. We'll talk about it in our specific units, in the defensive back room, d-linemen, o-linemen, whatever, but as a team, we never really hold anybody accountable for what they do on the field," Jenkins said.
Asked by host Howard Eskin why this was the case, Jenkins replied: "I think sometimes I think we get a little too caught up in trying not to point fingers, but, at the end of the day, there's a job to get done, and I think everybody needs to own whether they're doing their job or not.
"That makes it hard on leaders to really call somebody out, or to have that voice where you can try to get somebody, to light a fire under them, because . . . the coaches are who own that. They set the bar, and it's the leaders who follow suit. It's a little hard, with what we've got going on, to ever call anybody out."
Later in the show, after center Jason Kelce also talked of accountability, and of "tough conversations" that need to be held this week, as the Eagles try to fix problems he said have dogged them all season, Jenkins agreed that they'd been chasing some problems all season, and said: "This is the one time that I think our (daily) tempo . . . hurts us. This is the time when we need to slow down, identify some things, reset, and then move forward."
Jenkins spoke of feeling problems had been "brushed under the rug."
"Let's stop and come up with a real plan - 'These are the problems, and this is what we're going to do to fix it.' "
Jenkins spoke of not wanting to "show up on Sunday hoping that the guys in 'this' (position) room made their decision to change it, and the guys in 'this' room got it corrected."
By Tuesday afternoon, after meeting with Davis to discuss what Jenkins said, Jenkins definitely had a solid grasp on his coaches' approach to corrections, whether he agreed or not.
"From a coaching style, I was brought up a little bit different," said Jenkins, who won a Super Bowl his rookie year with the Saints and Sean Payton. "Most mistakes that . . . players make were brought up more in a team setting. But the approach here is more in the individual (position) rooms, and that's by design."
Jenkins noted that if the defensive backs make a mistake, "it's dealt with in the DB room. A d-lineman might not know, necessarily, what the (DBs') mistakes are or what we need to get better at . . . For me, I'm a bit of a control freak. I like to know what the mistakes are and what we're trying to get better at. Obviously, Billy and the coaching staff feel that's not necessarily my place, and that's their right, and they handle it a lot different than what I've been used to."
Asked about the daily routine, Jenkins said: "The way the schedule is set up allows us to get a lot done, but it doesn't give you an opportunity to have a long, extended meeting in the team setting . . . I don't think that's a bad thing. I think we get more accomplished, when you talk about the time on task, I think we probably would get more than anybody . . . but those mistakes or corrections or just communications are kind of saved toward the end of the week, as we tighten through our game plan, and it's a lot more mental."
Jenkins said he and Davis talk often.
"I've definitely been open about how I feel, but I'm not a coach, and that's fine. I think at this point, everybody's obviously frustrated and looking for answers, but I think everybody's working hard to get it corrected."
Jenkins said he doesn't "think it will be a problem" going forward that mistakes aren't corrected in front of the whole team.
"That approach isn't always right," he said.
Indeed, outside linebacker Connor Barwin, another exemplar of the Kelly culture, said the Texans did it Jenkins' way when Barwin played there, and "I've seen that have very negative repercussions . . . It can really go the wrong way."
"I think guys are held accountable" on the Eagles, Barwin said.
"When you're losing three in a row, maybe it's human nature, everything is examined, probably a little bit more than it needs to be."
"Everybody's entitled to their opinion," Davis said Tuesday, asked specifically about Jenkins suggesting the team was too predictable in the red zone. "I respect Malcolm, his opinion. I respect all the guys and their opinions. I actually enjoy getting the feedback from all the guys and seeing how we can make it better."
Tuesday, Davis really didn't seem to be enjoying it all that much, though.