Don't mention the word "repeat" around Malcolm Jenkins.
The Pro Bowl safety doesn't want to think about the Eagles trying to repeat as Super Bowl champions with the start of the regular season still more than four months away. Unlike most of the players on the Eagles' roster, Jenkins has been in this position before. Jenkins won a Super Bowl as a rookie with the New Orleans Saints in 2009. The Saints returned to the postseason the following year but lost in the Wild Card round to the Seattle Seahawks in the infamous Beast Quake game where Marshawn Lynch's 67-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter caused a celebration so loud that it registered on a local seismometer.
Jenkins is more experienced and much wiser the second time around.
"For me, being through it once before, I kind of know some of the pitfalls but it's one of those things that it's a short offseason. We played for a month longer," Jenkins said. "I just think it's important over the next month or so that the veterans set the pace, just like any other year, you set the pace for what your offseason is going to be like and what mindset the team is going to start so it's important as quickly as we can put last year behind us and focus on the here and now and what it's going to take to win with the guys that we have and accomplish something with this team in particular."
Jenkins candidly admitted that "success is a lot harder to deal with than failure."
"I thrive off of people telling me I couldn't do it, I'm not good enough, that (type of) motivation. You can easily start believing the hype when people here in April start telling you why you're the favorite to repeat. You lose focus of the day-to-day grind," he said. "That's up to the veterans like myself, other guys on the team, the coaches to make sure we're not looking or listening to anything else out there other than what's going on today, how do we improve, and get better in the daily grind and enjoy that process throughout the year. Same thing as we did last year."
Jenkins, who is a couple of weeks removed from thumb surgery, doesn't think complacency will be an issue in this locker room.
"We've got a really good group of guys that are thinking bigger than themselves and would really want to create something special and know how to go about doing that," he said.
The Eagles must realize that they are going from the underdogs to the hunted. And while most of the core players return, there have been changes to the roster since the Eagles captured the Lombardi Trophy in early February. Three of the newest Eagles are veterans who are over the age of 30 - defensive linemen Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata, as well as wide receiver Mike Wallace.
"Most of the time when you get guys that are over 30, they've played long enough in the league that they know what it takes to win and they have a huge desire to win now," Jenkins said. "A lot of them chose to come here because of what we've established from a culture standpoint over the last few years. I think as a veteran it makes it a lot easier to lead when you have that veteran presence to lead a young, talented team. I think that's what helped us last year having some veterans in key positions and I think that's the same this year."
In addition to acquiring new veterans, the Eagles will reload internally after injuries took away players at key positions. Quarterback Carson Wentz, linebacker Jordan Hicks, and tackle Jason Peters are three starters rehabbing to get back on the field in 2018.
"I think what it'll do is add more competition because we had a lot of guys step up last year in those spots," Jenkins said. "To me, it's going to be that injection of some real competition especially when we get to Training Camp seeing who is going to be on the field and I think competition breeds excellence."
Training Camp, like the regular season, is still months away. Right now, it's about setting the foundation to put the team in the best position to succeed when it's time to defend the Super Bowl crown.