Malcolm Jenkins defends Doug Pederson amid former NFL GM Mike Lombardi's criticism


Malcolm Jenkins shed some light on Doug Pederson's coaching style Monday when asked about Mike Lombardi's comments blasting Pederson.

Lombardi, a former NFL executive and TV analyst, said over the weekend that, "Everybody knows Pederson isn't a head coach," and added, "He might be less qualified to coach a team than anyone I've seen in my 30-plus years in the NFL."

Lombardi, a one-time Eagles front office executive, is not currently employed by an NFL team.

Pederson is, and Jenkins eloquently came to his coach's defense Monday, as the Eagles began their preparation for Sunday's season-opener against the Redskins.

"I think he's on the right track," the Pro Bowl safety said. "I think he knows and understands that this is a players' league and so a lot of the ownership and a lot of the responsibility for wins and losses around here falls on the players. He's willing to allow us to have input on where we see the team going. He leans on his leadership a lot, keeping the pulse of the locker room, and I think those are things in my experience that make really good head coaches.

"Guys that can give ownership to the players and have them buy in just as much as the coaching staff, and then your players will follow you anywhere. I think he's off to a good start. He's definitely got a good grasp of the locker room, good relationships with his veterans, so I'm excited about it."

Pederson, whose only previous head coaching job before last year was at the high school level, played for four teams in his NFL career and was the Eagles' opening-day quarterback in 1999. He was on Andy Reid's coaching staff both with the Eagles and Chiefs before replacing Chip Kelly as the Eagles' head coach after the 2015 season. The Eagles went 7-9 last year after a 3-0 start.

"Any coaches, you understand whether they're a veteran coach or a rookie coach, they have to establish a culture, and that's the hardest thing to do," Jenkins said. "Usually there are two methods of doing that. Some are authoritarian, where they say, 'You're out of here (unless) you do it my way.' And then there's some that just build it organically, where they'll kind of grab the hearts of the veterans, and once you have the veterans in the locker room and have the leadership following you, then the rest of the team will come along.

"I think Doug took the latter of that, and he really made a concerted effort to really have a relationship with the leaders on the team, and that in turn kind of set a culture pretty quickly."

Jenkins said Pederson meets weekly with the Eagles' leadership council to discuss concerns the players have and also concerns Pederson and his coaches have.

"He'll sit down with the players, with leadership, and we'll be able to take any concerns that we have as leadership or from the team and bring it to him or vice versa," Jenkins said. "So we're always on the same page. We always have input and we always feel responsible for everything we do."

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