<
>

Jenkins admits his tackling needs work

Malcolm Jenkins has heard the criticism. Playing for New Orleans in 2012, Jenkins was one of three safeties in the NFL to miss more than 20 tackles, according to Pro Football Focus. Last season, the former first-round draft pick was one of nine safeties to miss more than 15.

Jenkins gets it. He played cornerback at Ohio State. The Saints drafted him 14th overall in 2009 to play cornerback. He transitioned to safety in 2010 only because Darren Sharper was injured.

Tackling isn't his strong suit.

"The biggest thing I need to work on: tackling," Jenkins said Wednesday night after meeting his new coach, Chip Kelly, for the first time at the Philadelphia Eagles' South Philadelphia training complex.

But, Jenkins added, "I don't see that as a problem" moving forward.

The Eagles should hope not.

A two-time defensive captain in New Orleans, Jenkins said that the Eagles sold him on the fact that they want him to be a leader on the defense. Kelly and defensive coordinator Bill Davis want Jenkins to be the voice of the secondary on the field. They want him to be versatile, to blitz and to cover. And, Jenkins said, they like the fact that he is "not your typical safety" but is more of a hybrid who can defend tight ends and receivers alike.

For his part, Jenkins said he liked that Philadelphia is close to where he grew up in North Jersey. He said he appreciated the fact that Kelly has a "vision" for what he wants his team to look like and is moving in the right direction after making the playoffs in his first season as head coach. And he was attracted to the fact that Kelly and Davis want him to be a leader.

Asked if he knew about Kelly's in-season routine that includes practice on Tuesday, typically the players' day off for most NFL teams, Jenkins said, "It's a little weird ... [but] that's fine.

"I'm sure there will be a lot of things I have to adjust to."

Like higher expectations. Eagles fans have been yearning for a hard-hitting safety ever since Philadelphia inexplicably let the beloved Brian Dawkins walk in free agency years ago.

"Me and Brian Dawkins are a lot different in styles," Jenkins said, before adding that he thinks Eagles fans just want a safety who is a playmaker.

As for the other questions about his coverage abilities and his tackling, the 26-year-old Jenkins said, "The years in which I was put in position to make plays, I made them."

Jenkins signed a three-year deal with the Eagles and said he drew interest from St. Louis and Oakland.