New Orleans Saints Safety Malcolm Jenkins
Video Call with New Orleans Media
Thursday, December 31, 2020
You were a guy who transitioned from corner to safety in the NFL. And we've seen P.J. Williams be able to do it in the middle of a game, how difficult is that transition to make?
"Yeah, it's tough because everything changes from the things that you see, what you have to see, your eyes, the angles of the game change. So it's a bit of a transition, but when you're a guy who's in that backup role and you're versatile, that's a very, very important job, and you've got to know kind of all these different spots and makes you more valuable to the team as well. So it's a little bit tough, but we're not asking P.J. to do a lot based on our lineup and the depth that we have."
What do you think it is about you that makes you excel in those, like down in the box plays, making plays behind the line of scrimmage, sacks, that sort of thing?
"I mean, for me, I put a lot of emphasis on my preparation, and just visualizing the game and get a feel for what blocks look like. What do people's demeanor look like, when they're getting ready to pass or run and just those small details that allow me to play fast and trust what I see. I think, really, that's the biggest thing is preparing enough that when I get out there, things are moving fast. As a smaller guy who's in the box, I don't have time to waste, steps to waste. So a lot of preparation goes into being able to play fast and make plays. For me, I've got to continue to do that to help our defense."
So would you say that that's something that you've gotten better at as your careers progressed than just is you've kind of gotten, I guess, more experience with that as a player?
"100 percent. I think early in my career, I played more of the kind of nickel, free safety positions, but as I've transitioned to more nickel, slot and down safety, I've been able to kind of adjust and get a real good feel for just being down in a box. It puts me around the ball, keeps me engaged, it's just something that I think benefits my skillset."
You guys are getting ready to start the next season. Do you think you were brought here to win those games? And when those games start, what can you bring as far as experience or know how that you can contribute in those situations that you know are coming up?
"I think the first part of your question, everybody who's on this roster was brought here to help us win a championship, point blank. I've got a role just like anybody else. I think my message to all of the teams that I've been on that have going into this situation is just really it's no different than any other game. Right now we are not even thinking about playoffs. We've got to win this game in front of us and that's really the mentality going forward. You don't change and turn on a switch once you get to the playoffs or get to games that mean more. It's the teams that allow the situation to change them that usually fold under the pressure. So for us, it's just about how do you stay consistent with what we've done all year. Prepare during practice, have fun and go compete on a Sunday wherever it's at and what the situation is. The pressure of the game shouldn't change your preparation or how you approach it."
A couple guys were talking about kind of the midseason point being like kind of a turning point for the defense and I'm just wondering if there, you were just talking about like there's not like a light switch, but was there just something that just kind of clicked for you defensively that has made you into this top five unit?
"I think a lot goes into that. Commitments and adjustments from individual players, from coaching staff and scheme, all of that I think. A season is not about a race. You do not show up week one your best self and then maintain that throughout. You usually gradually build, gradually improve. And I think for us, that is what it was. We figured out how to play better with each other, how to complement each other, how to communicate better, what schemes fit the personnel that we have. And as we continue to fine tune that each week, we play better. And so for us, we know what that formula is, and it's still changing depending on the lineup. And so for us, it's just about those details. How do we make sure that every time we step on the field, our communication, our scheme, and our understanding of what we're trying to do is not complicated and something that we don't have to second guess."
Obviously, Ohio State is coming here to play. You played in a championship game for Ohio State in the Superdome. Do you talk to them virtually? Do you still reach out to people? I assume you'll be watching or will you not have time given the game Sunday for you all?
"Yeah, I'm sure I will watch the game. But no, I haven't been in touch with anybody on this team. It has been a while since I've been back and especially this season has been so crazy. But I'll definitely be watching. Once a Buckeye, always a Buckeye. Everybody wants to act like we didn't deserve to be in there. So we'll take care of business."