By Peter Gleason
When you want to get the real deal from an Eagles player, you go to Malcolm Jenkins.
The Birds’ safety has become the go-to guy whenever there has been a mini-controversy:
Shady McCoy’s claims that Chip Kelly is a racist; or that Riley Cooper shouldn’t be on the squad. And now Terrell Suggs’ cheap shot on Sam Bradford (above).
Rarely before has a hit that could have resulted in an injury but that didn’t result in an injury created so much consternation and conversation. But that’s what has happened in the aftermath of the impact absorbed three days ago by quarterback Bradford from Ravens linebacker Suggs.
On Monday, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins chimed in regarding the lingering controversy.
“If I take myself out of an Eagles uniform, I’d probably do the same thing,” Jenkins said, via Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com.
While Jenkins noted that he wouldn’t do exactly the same thing because he wouldn’t hit a quarterback low, Jenkins would hit a quarterback in order to get the opponent to stop running read-option plays.
“As a defender, my way of scaring you out of that run concept is hit your quarterback,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins also joined the list of Philly players who dispute the notion that the play the resulted in Bradford taking a hit that could have blown out his ACL again wasn’t a zone-read run.
“It is a zone-read run,” Jenkins said.
Told that coach Kelly said it wasn’t, Jenkins laughed and said, “Well of course, according to the head coach.”
Even if that specific play didn’t give Bradford the option of keeping the ball, the formation and execution looked like a zone-read run, with the shotgun snap, the ball placed into the stomach of the running back, and an instant of hesitation during which the quarterback could have pulled the ball back and done something else with it.
“I’m just saying as a defender, if I was game-planning for the Eagles, I probably wouldn’t go low for the quarterback, but that’s where there’s a little bit of discretion from a player’s standpoint of where you hit somebody,” Jenkins said. “But if somebody’s running a zone-read and I want to scare them out of it, I’m gonna hit the quarterback.”
Kelly is surely smart enough to know that. The question now is whether he’s smart enough to not use plays that look like a zone-read run with Bradford under center — and whether he’s smart enough to not give a guy like Suggs a free release at the quarterback.