Anyone who has played a competitive team sport knows more than one trash talker.
Just last week in the NBA Finals, watching the interactions of the Warriors and Cavaliers stars in between plays was nearly as entertaining as the game action itself.
If you watch the Eagles on the practice field this season, you’ll see the same thing. The dirt is being dished, and according to safety Malcolm Jenkins, the team is better for it.
“The type of guys we have started to build around as a team are ultracompetitive no matter what the situation is and that breeds for everbody a culture where the game gets elevated on every single snap,” Jenkins told the media after the conclusion of the teams final minicamp practice Thursday. “We have prideful guys and some trash talkers and it hasn’t always been like that.”
The coaching styles of head coach Doug Pederson — who says he is dedicated to creating an intense and competitive training camp in July and August — and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz have been reflected in in-your-face players who use the practice field as a proving ground.
“There’s more [trash talkers] now and there is an elevated performance because of it,” Jenkins reiterrated. “The type of perosnalities we have been able to acquire over the last couple of years is a different vibe for the team.”
It resembles an old-style football, the kind that grinds and makes opposing offenses fight for every yard. And pehaps the Eagles can get in the heads of their opponents through the art of trash talk. So who are the biggest culprits?
“Myself and Brandon Graham,” Jenkins said smiling as he scanned the room. “Rodney [McLeod] is a guy who is hypercompetitive, we’ve been able to get Zach Ertz going a little bit, Carson [Wentz] will indulge every now and then, and the coaches get into it sometimes too.”
The Eagles, as well as the rest of the NFL, will take a five week vacation from organized practices with the coaches going silent as the players relax and work out on their own. Jenkins, entering Year 2 of the Pederson era, know exactly what to expect when he returns to the NovaCare Complex on July 24.
“This year we know its going to be a tough, physical camp,” Jenkins said.