Cullen Jenkins has been one of the Philadelphia Eagles’ most consistent players on the defensive line. Jenkins, Eagles defensive tackle, had a big game in the Eagles’ 19-17 victory over the New York Giants. He had five solo and seven total tackles including two hurries.
The Eagles (3-1) will need another strong performance from him when they battle the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2) on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 1 p.m. (FOX Channel 29). The big key will be getting pressure on Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers brilliant quarterback. Although the Steelers have struggled in the first three games, Roethlisberger has been terrific. He has completed 80-of-120 passes for 904 yards with 8 TDs and just one interception. Jenkins knows this is a huge task with Roethlisberger’s size and ability to move around in the pocket.
“That’s when you have to be more discipline because you know that possibility is there,” Jenkins said. “For us up front, it’s just getting him down. If you can get him, you have to get him wrapped up and keep him from throwing the ball.”
Of course, Jenkins believes stopping the running is a factor as well. The Steelers have three solid running backs with Rashard Mendenhall, Will Johnson and Isaac Redman.
“It’s always the No. 1 goal each week going in to stop the run, keep the run contained and down and distance in our favor,” said Jenkins, a 6-foot-2, 305-pounder. “If you do that, you usually have pretty good success.”
Jenkins has 13 total tackles this season. He’s been very aggressive against the pass as well as the run. Jenkins has received plenty of help from middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, safety Kurt Coleman and others.
“Just playing together as a team,” Jenkins said. “Everybody just being accountable for their gaps and assignments, it’s just a team effort. There’s definitely a level of trust out there and I think we have that this year. You’re confident the guy next to you or the guy behind you is going to take care of their assignment and you know that you just need to care of your assignment to make it easier on that person.”
The Eagles have won three of four games by a grand total of four points. Jenkins has been impressed with the way the team has been able to win these close games.
“Because we’ve been fighting, fighting through the whole game,” Jenkins said. “It’s never any doubt in us. It’s never any let up. Guys aren’t pointing their finger out there. You know, heck, if the offense doesn’t have the best day, the defense tries to step it up for them and then again if the defense is struggling late in the games, you know, we’ve given up some points and allowed teams to get the lead, and the offense steps it up for us and they come right back and get the lead back. This has been a great team effort so far this year where everybody has each other’s back.”