With slot cornerback Ron Brooks out for the year, the Eagles have a big hole in their secondary.
And safety Malcolm Jenkins is happy to fill it.
Jenkins, the Eagles’ Pro Bowl safety, said he hopes to replace Brooks as the Eagles’ slot corner. Brooks went on injured reserve Monday after rupturing his quad during the win over the Vikings Sunday.
Jenkins spoke Monday evening on CSN's Quick Slants from his Malcolm Jenkins Foundation fundraiser at Union Trust.
“I played 60 percent of my snaps last year in the slot so it's a position that I'm very, very comfortable with and that I prefer as opposed to playing deep,” Jenkins said. “So I'm comfortable in that role.”
With Brooks out, the Eagles are thin at cornerback, with only Nolan Carroll, Leodis McKelvin and rookies Jalen Mills and recently activated C.J. Smith.
Carroll can play in the slot, but Doug Pederson indicated Monday that he’s leaning toward using Jenkins to cover the opposing slot receiver, like he did Sunday, after Brooks got hurt.
“Yeah, I would think that it would be very similar to what we've seen with Jalen on the outside and then Malcolm coming down inside and playing the nickel spot, and Jaylen Watkins being back there a little bit.
“And with Leo being healthy now, (it) gives you a little more depth. But we've got to continue to look at getting C.J. some more reps probably during the week to have a full complement of secondary help.”
Mills is a rookie seventh-round pick, and Smith is an undrafted rookie who spent the first seven weeks of the season on the practice squad.
McKelvin has missed three games this year but appears healthy now. Mills started Sunday but McKelvin played the bulk of the snaps.
Sunday will present a huge challenge for whoever mans the spot since Cowboys slot receiver Cole Beasley is so dangerous. He’s the Cowboys’ leading receiver with 33 catches for 390 yards and three touchdowns.
Beasley caught nine passes for a career-high 112 yards against the Eagles in the second meeting last year. He’s one of six receivers in the league this year with at least 50 yards in six games.
Jenkins said there are a number of ways the Eagles can defend the slot this weekend in Dallas.
“Now that we’ve got Leodis McKelvin back, it's another option,” he said. “We could put Jalen Mills in there. Just basically depends on matchups and what we want to do.
“I think the coaching staff right now is weighing those options and we'll see [Tuesday] or Wednesday what that package is really gonna look like.”
Brooks played 228 snaps in the Eagles’ first five games, or about 46 per game. That was fourth-most in the secondary before he got hurt.
“It's a tough loss,” Jenkins said. “But we've got so many guys that are interchangeable on our defense that it won't affect anything that we're doing.”