The Eagles look to finish the 2011 season with a four-game win streak and hope that the momentum will carry into the 2011 season.
Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins not only believes in the momentum factor, but has first-hand experience with it. Jenkins was a member of the 2006 Green Bay Packers team that won their last four games to finish 8-8, which will be the Eagles' record if they beat the Redskins on Sunday. The Packers just missed out on making the playoffs in 2006, but went 13-3 in 2007 and lost at home in overtime in the NFC Championship game.
"It was huge for us," Jenkins said of the 2006 team's finish. "How you finish off the season can have a big effect on what happens the following season."
The 6-2, 305-pound Jenkins is wrapping up his first season with the Eagles and eighth in the league. It has been arguably Jenkins' best season as he was named a first-alternate to the Pro Bowl on Tuesday. Jenkins' 56 tackles are a career best. His 5.5 sacks are second-best among NFC defensive tackles. Jenkins is tied for the team lead with seven tackles for loss.
"It's an honor first to even be voted in there for alternate. It's a first time I've ever been on the list for anything," Jenkins said. "It gives me a little motivation too. You'd like to get up there in the top three, but I know there's plenty of things I could have done better this year to get up in there so it's something I'll keep with me going into the offseason."
Two of the three interior defensive linemen selected to represent the NFC in the Pro Bowl are on playoff teams - San Francisco's Justin Smith and Jenkins' former teammate in Green Bay, B.J. Raji. The third, Dallas' Jay Ratliff, could also be going to the postseason depending on Week 17's results. If one of them makes it to the Super Bowl, Jenkins said he would gladly accept the invite. Jenkins has been to the Pro Bowl festivities once as a fan of his brother, Kris, who made the Pro Bowl four times as a member of the Carolina Panthers and New York Jets.
Jenkins was signed by the Eagles to a five-year contract this past offseason as a part of the amazing flurry of free agent moves made by the Eagles. Originally a rookie free agent, Jenkins doesn't believe that he lived up to the contract because "that's kind of admitting you've peaked." The mentality of scrapping for a roster spot continues to serve Jenkins well.
"I just don't consider myself the type of person that ever just does something to go through the motions," Jenkins said. "The financial part of it doesn't make you who you are. I can't go home and preach to my kids the importance of working hard or the importance of trying to be the best at something if I don't. That's my approach with it."
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