The Eagles have only played three games, but it looks like they’ve solved their safety problems. I haven’t seen two safeties in the National Football League playing any better than the Eagles Malcolm Jenkins and Walter Thurmond.
They seem to have a clear understanding of what every offense they’ve faced is trying to do and they’ve been making plays. If the entire team was playing the way they have been, the Eagles would be 3-0 with three lopsided wins.
They’re probably two of the most versatile safeties in the league and right now they’re doing everything well. I see both of them out there making contributions on Special Teams as well.
Jenkins has been a leader on the football team, since Chip Kelly and crew signed him a few of years ago. Like Thurmond, Jenkins is a converted cornerback, so he’s been asked to cover wide outs man-to-man when the situation warrants it. Thurmond is playing safety for the first time in his career, so you know he has no problem walking up on a receiver and covering him.
I don’t know why, but Jenkins has been playing especially focused and aggressive in the first three games, when he walks up on the line of scrimmage. He was the only defensive back, who was able to match up the strength of Julio Jones in the Atlanta game. Jenkins successfully attacked the quick screen in the Falcons game and should have had a couple of interceptions.
Yesterday in the Jets game, Jenkins grabbed big wide receiver Brandon Marshall of the Jets and threw him six yards into the backfield. The Jets lost about five or six yards on the play. I’ve never seen a defensive back manhandle Marshall like that. He was also the guy who shot the gap in the Falcons game and made the tackle in the backfield on the 3rd down and short play to give the Eagles offense another chance to win it.
Jenkins leads the team in tackles with 22 total stops with 20 solo tackles and two assists. He picked up a fumble last week and took it down inside the 30-yard line to give the Eagles offense a great chance to score late in the game.
Thurmond got his second interception of the season yesterday and it sealed the Birds first victory of 2015. The game was on the line, he got the opportunity to make a play and he did it. That’s what you call winning football.
The interception was a nice play because he grabbed the football that had been tipped by Marshall and he made sure to get both feet in bounds before leaving the field of play. Thurmond also had a nice play defending a deep pass to Devin Smith along with teammate Nolan Carroll. They could have picked the pass off, if they hadn’t gotten in each others way in pursuit of the football. Their coverage was very good.
The former Seahawks cornerback, took hold of the open safety position during the offseason and he hasn’t looked back. His quickness shows up when the ball is in the air or when he shoots up from secondary at the last split second to make a tackle on a ball carrier.
Thurmond is fifth on the team in tackles with 15 total with nine of them being solo tackles and six are assists.