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Transcript - Malcolm Jenkins Conference Call 9/30/20 | Week 4 vs. Lions

New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins talks about his community efforts in Louisiana and the preparations for Week 4 against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on Sunday, October 4, 2020.

New Orleans Saints Safety Malcolm Jenkins
Video Call with New Orleans Media 
Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Opening Statement: "Yesterday, the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation kicked off one of our initiatives this year we're doing in South Jersey and in New Orleans. We're trying to feed people as COVID and tropical storms and things like that hit Louisiana, there's a huge need for food insecurity and we're trying to get people fed. So I have an initiative, 'Feeding the 504' where yesterday we fed 557 families with over 25,000 pounds of food through our partners Winn-Dixie, Second Harvest Food Bank and Broadmoor Improvement Association Pantry. And we're just encouraging people to continue to support the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation, they can donate at or directly to Second Harvest Food Bank or Broadmoor Improvement Association Pantry. What we're trying to do throughout the year is feed 504 families per month, as we move throughout this year, and just all of this food insecurity that's going on. One in four children are dealing with food insecurity and that is a huge piece. So, I'll open it up to questions." 

Were you and your foundation able to receive feedback from the families on how they were positively impacted by yesterday's event?
"Well, we've done things around food almost every year. We call it our 'Get Ready Fest' and this year it's just a huge emphasis. And oftentimes, a lot of people are dealing with need and being able to get those resources directly to them and bringing it to them, oftentimes help. Sometimes people have trouble getting access to some of the resources that are out there and that is especially significant and important at this time, where people are dealing with unemployment and dealing with the stresses of COVID. Getting those resources directly to them is a huge help."

Because of COVID and the restrictions and everything, has that been more challenging to kind of do these initiatives?
"A little bit, there's a lot more logistically that you have to work out and myself, I'm so used to being directly hands on and I haven't been able to do that throughout the offseason, and of course, now during the season, but that's why you have teams. I think the foundation and all of our volunteers, Winn-Dixie, our food pantries that we have been supporting have done a great job of facilitating this initiative to be able to get these resources to these families in need. Because while it's tougher to connect and do these things logistically, the need's even more than it's been before. So, it's important work."

After the game, you mentioned a little bit about some of the issues you guys were having on defense, just getting stuff sorted out. Just having a couple days to look at it, have you been able to pinpoint maybe a couple things that might help with the eye discipline and making sure you guys are making the switches and stuff you need to make?
"Yeah, I think it's really just being intentional about how we go about practice and the things that we're improving on week to week. I think as the dust settled and we had a few days to look at the tape and digest it, we were encouraged, because we felt like we played with more energy and played faster than we did the week before. And there were definitely improvements. But there were, five, six plays where we didn't have much discipline, we didn't do things that we wanted to do when against a really good team and good quarterback. Those things cost you so it's about just narrowing down and fine tuning some of the finer details, tighten down the communication, making sure that we limit those plays."

For a veteran team that's played together for a while I know you're kind of coming back in, but how does something like that get away from a team when it really hasn't been an issue the last couple years with mostly the same guys?
"I am the new guy in town, but those things you can't take for granted. Communication, eye discipline, things like that are not things that are just automatic. You've got to continue to work at it, continue to change and as defenses evolve and the intricacies of your defense evolve, so do those things, the communication. And so, it's just something that we have to dive back onto because like you said, this is a veteran group that's played together for a while, but sometimes those things happen."

You are staying in the tunnel during the national anthem, just wanted to ask you about your choice behind doing that giving you a platform to comment on that.
"Yeah, I just think there is too much dialogue about the symbolism of the anthem, what is right, what is wrong, who is doing what, who is not doing what, and it takes away and distracts from the actual issues and calls to action that are very, very necessary right now. And so, I don't want to participate in creating any kind of distraction."

You listed the causes, communication and the discipline, but is there one issue that is the one thing you think the defense or the secondary has to get fixed most in particular? It seems it's been kind of rotating issues, it was the tight end (Darren Waller) in week two, it was the deep pass in week three, are PI penalties standing out? Or is there any one or two issues that are on the top of your must fix list?
"No, I think there are plays here or there that I think the biggest thing we see is the communication. And just making sure for 80 plays, 90 plays, whatever it is that for all of them we have tight communication, we don't have these five, six plays that got away from us. I think another thing just as a team that we're dealing with, and especially defensively, is penalties, but when we go back and watch a lot of them, especially some of the pass interference calls, it's really hard to coach the guys to do anything different. We don't want to slow ourselves down and stop competing, we just try to do it in a way that doesn't draw flags. Some of those calls we'll live with, we're not going to tell guys (to stop) competing. So, the biggest thing that we can control is our communication and making sure that our eyes are disciplined in some of those play actions." 

Also the most interesting horse collar penalty you've ever seen?
"(Laughter) Yeah, it is one of those (where) you just have to move on to the next (play). Those guys are human too. And so they miss them sometimes." 

You've been on the on the wrong side of it fairly recently. I'm just wondering when Alvin (Kamara's) going is good as he's going right now, how hard is that for a defender to just try to be in his path?
"Yeah, he showed I think last week why he's such a danger, not only as a running back, but out of the backfield as a receiver as well, just being elusive in open space and it's really just looking effortless. I think that's what makes him such a special player. Obviously, he's been kind of the beating heart of our offense, and we'll continue to lean on him to make those plays."

I know you've said you're the new guy kind of again on the block, but you were brought in here for your leadership. Do you feel like you have a good pulse of the locker room of knowing when you have to make the fiery speech to yell? Or when you have to pat guys on the back? Do you feel like you kind of have an understanding of how to read the room through the difficult times so to say?
"I think I'm still getting a feel for it, but the thing that I noticed immediately with my arrival is that there's already some really strong leadership here. A lot of my role's really assisting those guys and leading in the right direction. I don't think it's really necessary for me to come in and try to take over from the leadership standpoint, because I really believe in the leaders that we already have. I'm a compliment and an additional veteran in the room that can give some good perspective. So, that responsibility is a shared one, but I definitely take a lot of pride and responsibility to handle the DBs and that's one group that I think, specifically on me, that needs to be a better job of making sure that we're accountable to the team."

You've been a part of Sean Payton-coached teams before and these attention to detail items that are kind of cropping up with you all right now is really uncharacteristic of his teams. I know he made you all delay your departure from Las Vegas to watch the tape, (and) kind of address those issues early after the Raiders game. What's been his message to you all this week as you get ready for the Lions?
"Well, we just move on to next week. Our process never changes, right? We believe in our process that we're going to prepare during the week, do everything we need to do in practice, have a good game plan, trust each other, go execute and the outcome, win or lose, shouldn't change your belief in the process. So, while we haven't gotten the result that we wanted in the last two weeks, we're looking for areas of improvement. Did we get better in this place? I think there are places that we've gotten better in and it's places that we need to continue to work. And so that's what we'll do. All week, the coaches will come up with a gameplan that puts the players in the best position to make plays, players will digest that, make the communications to understand it and then we'll go execute and see what the result is on Sunday." 

Is there a sense of urgency this week you feel like just with this team being 1-2 right now?
"I think so, but the urgency is this is the next game and the only game that we have control over. And so, we very much want to make sure that we put our best effort out on the field. There's urgency every day to get better. So, I don't think there's a sense of panic or anything like that or doubt, but we also understand this puts us almost a quarter of the way through the season. A lot of these games, the season moves fast, games get away from you. You can't afford to drop ones, especially ones that you feel like you're supposed to win. There's definitely a little bit more urgency in getting things corrected, but far away from panicking."

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