McMullen: Jenkins’ Emotion Was Off Base But it Shouldn’t Have Been
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The emotion from Malcolm Jenkins was understandable but his message was demonstrably incorrect.
"We ain't sneaking in [to the playoffs] -- we're kicking the m!@#$%f@#%ing door down," Jenkins boated to teammates in his postgame speech caught via Instagram after the Eagles topped Washington and got some help from Chicago to reach the playoffs. "We're in this party. Nobody wanted us in, but guess what, they've got to deal with us now, man."
Actually, the Eagles opponent in the wild-card round, the 12-4 NFC North champion Chicago Bears, had every opportunity to avoid playing the reigning Super Bowl champions by playing their backups in Minneapolis.
Instead Bears coach Matt Nagy said full steam ahead, playing his starters in an attempt to eliminate his division rival, the Minnesota Vikings. The impact of that was the Eagles visiting Soldier Field instead of the very flawed Vikings for the back end of a home-and-home.
To put it kindly that seems like a bad trade from Chicago's perspective and most observers do actually believe Jenkins' words with one caveat -- no one "should" want the Eagles.
Call it guts, confidence, swagger or even arrogance but the Bears didn't care about any Eagles-Vikings trade and they will have every opportunity to prove that was the right decision on Sunday afternoon.
“We didn’t care who was going to be — we’ve been through so much already this season, we’ve been battle-tested — it doesn’t matter who comes to Soldier Field, we’re ready to play them,” Bears left tackle Charles Leno told NBC Sports Chicago. “Just let us know what day it is. We’ll be there.”
The Eagles will also be there, handed a lease on life they never should have gotten by an opponent who doesn't understand the difference between a Super Bowl MVP quarterback who is setting records on a weekly basis and a signal caller who is 4-25 vs. teams with a winning record.
... An opponent who doesn't understand what Jim Schwartz will throw at a second-year QB in his first playoff game. An opponent who evidently doesn't understand strength vs. weakness [the Bears' dominant defensive front vs. the Vikings' OL] is better than strength vs. strength [that same front vs. an Eagles' OL with Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson]. And an opponent who believes the stress Doug Pederson places on an opponent due to his aggressiveness is somehow equal to the dated 1970s stylings of Mike Zimmer.
Success often breeds hubris and few lessons are learned during 12-4 seasons for first-year coaches. Come January, however, everyone who is still playing reboots to 0-0 and Nagy might be about to learn a thing to two about self-inflicted adversity.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen