Ballhawk Jenkins is Eagles' 'ace in the hole'

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Malcolm Jenkins

Allen Park — The Lions praised Charles Woodson's ability to make plays all over the field before last week's game.

This week, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins will be the defensive back the Lions have to keep an eye on as he's capable of disrupting any play.

"He's always around the ball," Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "He's making plays on the ball whether it's a pick or a tackle or knocking the ball out. He's a very versatile guy. He can line up and cover a tight end, he can cover a wide receiver or a slot guy, he can cover a back. They move him around.

"He's kind of their ace in the hole."

Now in his second year in Philadelphia after five years in New Orleans, Jenkins leads the Eagles with 67 tackles and has three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, six passes defensed and an interception.

On an Eagles defense that ranks third in takeaways with 21, Jenkins is often the catalyst.

"He makes plays," Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. "That's probably the best way to describe him. He can tackle, he can cover, he can anticipate, he's got range, and typically, when you put that together you get a pretty good football player."

Ranking 16th in points allowed and 25th in yards allowed per game, the Eagles defense has had mixed results this year, and giving up 45 points to the Buccaneers certainly hurt their statistics.

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But, with players like Jenkins and linebackers Connor Barwin and Mychal Kendricks, and a productive defensive end in Fletcher Cox, the Eagles are capable of making big plays on defense to get the ball back to their up-tempo offense.

And Barwin said Jenkins is one of Philadelphia's most, if not the most, consistent defensive players.

"When he got here two years ago, he brought leadership to our backend (and) to our defense," Barwin said of Jenkins. "Obviously, he's a playmaker; he's made a bunch of plays for us already this year."