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Game Vs. Patriots: Eagles Defense

Safety Malcolm Jenkins

Q: They passed it to their running back – that kind of got down there, so it was first-and-goal at the one…

MJ: We have seen in multiple games where they get a big play that is close to the goal line and if he feels like the defense is slow to get back, he will hurry up to the offense and they run the same play most of the time. They try to get a quick run and catch you off guard, no matter what the personnel is and so we were prepared for that. We did a good job of getting everybody lined up and really I just shot up the gap and just was hoping to get a negative play and I thought that was huge. And then the interception, I probably owe Walter Thurmond a Christmas gift because I am on [Danny] Amendola and he did a good job of really just beating me inside. I knew I had some help in there, but it wasn't a true double team. But Walter saw kind of the position I was in and he took it and was able to tip the ball up and I am right there to pick it, so he really, in my mind, made that play in my mind. I just kind of took the glory for it.

Q: Malcolm, after the way you guys played over the last couple games, and losing three straight, not a lot of people would give you guys a shot to come in here, especially the way Brady has played at home. What does it say about the guys in the locker room for you to come up here and win a game and keep the season alive?

MJ: I think it just shows that we are a resilient group. We believe in what we are doing, we believe in the guys that we have in the building, and it was just a matter of playing the way we are capable of playing. And we know, for our team to win, everybody has to contribute. It's not just going to be the defense, or the offense, or special teams. We've all got to play together to get a win and we came here and beat a really, really good team, beat the best quarterback in the league. And that's a tall task; they don't lose at home. But this was a game that we needed to win, we needed this momentum, we needed this spark to kind of carry us on through the season and games don't get any easier for us going forward.

Q: There was a lot of talk about the confidence being pretty low after the last couple weeks. How does this win get back the confidence in this team?

MJ: I mean, I think anybody who said our confidence is low is probably outside of our building. I think the entire time, even though we weren't getting the results we wanted, guys were confident in themselves and we were confident in the scheme and I think it was obvious that we needed to change some things. But we were confident in what we could do because we have seen it in the past. And I think really that was Chip's message from the beginning of the week, is just reminding us of who we have been. Defensively we have been great, until as of late. Offensively we have been able to move the ball. Everything that people have said we can't do, we have done before, and really we just needed to get back to whatever that is. I think guys started to believe in themselves, the morale of the week was higher than normal. We didn't need a huge rah-rah speech, our guys just went to work on the game plan and came in and executed.

Q: Malcolm, you spoke out this week and got some feedback. What kind of feedback did you get from your teammates about what you said about the meetings and do you think it helped in any way coming into this game?

MJ: I don't know if what I said helped, but what I can say is, the vibe around the building felt a lot different. I don't know if it had anything to do with what I said, but it was just different. Guys did a great job of really detailing their part of the game plan, really taking ownership in what was going on. There was a lot of feedback going back and forth, and everybody had input. We were preparing and we felt really good about our plan and we felt like we could come here and get a win. And it's been different from previous weeks. Not that we haven't been confident, but it's just a different feel. So whatever that is, we are going to try to feed off that and keep going. 

Q: Do you feel like guys felt prepared because you had spoken up?

MJ: Possibly. I mean, you know, there is a little bit of personality that comes out. When somebody, especially one of your leaders, speaks out … Not that I was calling anybody out or anything negative. There are no problems in our building, but I think it does kind of shock the system. It starts conversations. It starts to open guys' eyes as far as taking ownership and really taking a look at what is going on, what we have been doing, and how we can get better. But like I said, whatever that spark is, hopefully our leaders will continue to lead and continue to set the example, and we will continue to build on top of this.

Q: After speaking up, do you feel the need to back it up yourself, too?

MJ: You know, the main thing really where my comments came from was just myself. You know, I feel like I play better when I am coached harder, and when you start to play at a high level and you are one of the leaders, a lot of the time you don't get coached as hard as some of the rookies or some of the guys that aren't your main guys because they expect you to know it, they expect you to kind of correct yourself. But, you know, I am human, too, and can let some things slip, so I think my coach definitely challenged me all week. You know that I was going to have a huge match up and have to play a big part in this game for us to have success. And so I had that challenge earlier this week. I think just as a team, we all played great.

Q: Chip praised you because he said you took the risk to turn an interception into a touchdown. Talk about your mindset in making that play?

MJ: I mean, anytime I get the ball in my hands, I am trying to score. It's that simple. I mean, there is no other option. There is really no risk in it at all. I got the ball, thankful to Walter Thurmond because he tipped it up. I think I made one of the linemen miss and there was some pursuit coming from my left so I just cut back and it was just a footrace.

Linebacker Brandon Graham

On the win...

"You can't know the feeling unless you go through it and it felt good because we played against a great team. I don't care who didn't play today they are still a great team and a great coached team. We knew we were going to have to play 60 minutes."

On playing through adversity...

"We were talking to each other and we were making sure that nobody got discouraged and nobody was getting down on themselves. I think we were talking more about coaching each other during each drive. Every time something happened, we would talk about it. I love the communication we had today. As far as rallying together and the adversity of them scoring twice in the beginning, in the end we just had to make one play, one play this drive and we can get off the field like a turnover or stop them on fourth down like we did."

Safety Chris Maragos

On the execution of his block during today's game...

"Honestly, it's just been great execution all week. Coach (Chip Kelly) had a great plan and put together a really good scheme, but my teammates made the block for me. (Bryan) Braman had a great look where he got off the ball really fast and grabbed the attention of the guard. Ed (Reynolds) stayed really wide for me, which allowed me to get through the hole so that I could slip in there and make the play. " 

On how he blocked the punt...

"I got through the hole pretty clean and I dipped my shoulder. Once I figured I could get through the guard I knew that I would just have to make sure I finished the play. A lot of mental visualizations of myself taking the ball off of his foot all week went into this play. It's something I mentally prepare for all week and not just for this game. When it comes to me, I'm putting my hands and my eyes in the right spot and just trusting it, which helped me come through with the block."

On today's win as a team...

"It's what we are capable of doing. When we execute we really feel like that as a team we're really hard to beat. We have guys contributing in all phases. In offense, defense, special teams, and every other player who is really doing their thing within their roles has made us a really tough group and we know what we can do."

Cornerback Byron Maxwell

On coming to Foxborough and getting a win against the Patriots...

"It's definitely something you can build on. That's what we have to do, build on this one. This is not the end of the road, on to the next one." 

On how much the pass rush helped out the defensive backs...

"That's always the case, when they get to the quarterback, it makes our job a lot easier. He [Tom Brady] started getting happy feet back there. Tom Brady is the best of all time, but even when he gets hit a couple of times, he's going to try and get the ball out earlier."

On the impact of not having to game plan for Rob Gronkowski...

"It's going to have an impact with him out, but it didn't impact our game plan, we had things in there we would have done even if had played."  

Safety Walter Thurmond...

On preparing for Rob Gronkowski...

"We were prepared as if he was going to be there because you just never know in this game. It doesn't change who is injured and who is not, they still run their game plan. They just put another guy in there and run the same concepts. We had some coverage that we put in that were specifically for him but in the end they were just good coverage all the way around and we still ran those because they were good and we were able to capitalize on some situations and make some plays." 

On the defensive play...

We able to just play sound and discipline technique and some of the contest get kind of repetitive during the game. We did a great job of studying and preparing this week to play some of those routes. Our defensive line had a bunch of hits on Brady and a bunch of sacks and that was tribute to the preparation from the back end to be able to play tight coverage and make him [Tom Brady] hold the ball."

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