New Orleans Saints Malcolm Jenkins
Video Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
I assume you didn't know C.J. Gardner Johnson very well before you became his teammate, but what's something you've learned about him since then that maybe fans don't know?
"I just learned…I didn't know much about him until I got here…But I just learned that he and I share the same birthday. That's about it. You can see it on tape that he's an active player, talks a lot of trash, has a lot of fun, very energetic on the field, and that's something I think we all feed off of."
It seems he has the unique ability to get under the opponents skin. Is that harder to do than you would thing? I feel there's not a lot of people that can do that. Jalen Ramsey can do that. But it's almost like a talent other than his on-the-field talent.
"Yeah, I tell him all the time, keep doing what you're doing. It's not like he's getting penalties or anything. Everything he does is within the game. It takes a lot for people to get rattled. He seems to have that figured out."
Have you ever interacted with Kwon Alexander prior to this week and what was it like having him out at practice today?
"Not really before this, but seeing him out there today at practice, he moves well, you can tell the natural ability that he has, picking up on the defense really well, especially this week where the offense and what we are presented with is a little complicated. So, I definitely think it's (presence) is going to make us a better defense."
You said a couple weeks ago that you felt you were pretty close to putting it together. Did you sense last week that you guys had solved the minor things you had to solve? At one point in the game, did you feel that was the game that you guys had in you?
"I don't think anybody predicted that to have that kind of game. Outcome is never what we focus on. Each week we focus on the process and trying to get better and (this) week we have an opponent that beat us and presents some really unique things on offense and for us it's about figuring about what we can improve on and stacking those up as we go. The finished product is not today. It's down the road and this entire season is a journey to get there. For us, we're not really focused on the outcome, we're just trying to get better and better each week."
Was that the best mental game to date?
"Obviously we had a lot of success, guys played disciplined, did their jobs, won their matchups, as a team we did a great job. There are things we can get better at and again, we turn the page and look at this opponent, the 49ers a whole different gameplan, something that is going to challenge our discipline, all the things that hurt us earlier in the year. For sure, this will be a greater test of how we've improved as a defense."
As reporters even we had a hard time putting a finger on what specifically was plaguing the defense sort of a variety of issues throughout the season. What was the thing that you had to clean up most and that you have and that you think you can sustain?
"I don't think it's one thing. I think each game took a life of it's own. One week is big plays, next we need to tackle better, next communicate better. With all of that we had to take time in this process. Obviously we didn't start as fast as we wanted to, but it's not about how fast you start. As long as we continue to improve and we've been seeing that well before this past week, every week even though it wasn't what we wanted we saw confidence (go up), that's all we can ask for."
You kind of adjust the big picture, but it seems that for you in that Chargers game you hit your stride and have been playing better and better every week. What was it for you, just feeling more comfortable and then once you settled in, things have gotten easier?
"Yes, I think for me personally a lot of it has been transitioning into the scheme, understanding exactly what my role is and getting used to playing with the guys, us taking a little more time than I wanted to. But us also playing a little more disciplined in my own game and continuing to improve. I'm not exempt to that process that we're talking about."
How would you evaluate the pass rush element of the defense, which I know you take part in sometimes and have a lot of sacks, what do you think is the driving force to it?
"I think pass rush and coverage always go hand in hand, you show me a great d line that can get a rush on the quarterback, I'm going to show you a secondary that doesn't give a quarterback quick options. We have to earn the right to pass rush. That takes one, stopping the run on first and second down, but also DBs also have to do a good job of covering earlier and not allowing quarterbacks to get rid of the ball quick. Both of those things go hand in hand, when we play well as a secondary, our D-line can win. We have to make sure that each week we give them an opportunity to get after the quarterback."
How do you evaluate the pass rush so far, do you think it's been good, just satisfactory or where?
"I think it's been great."
Is there any challenge with incorporating a player into a defense in the middle of a season, like you are doing with Kwon Alexander?
"Rosters rotate every week whether through injury or whatever. The lineup is based on the plan, is it something they can digest, can they make the calls, can they get up to speed. We're seeing that Kwon's a guy that's played a lot of football, very talented and so far, after one day of practice seems like he can pick it up a well. All week he'll continue to digest the plan, but we feel good about it."