The Eagles have a good amount of recent playoff experience.
But as injuries have thinned the roster and forced a number of young players into significant roles, there are still plenty of players there who will be new to this.
Veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins had a simple message for them.
“The biggest thing is you want to convince young players that it’s no different [than the regular season], because it isn’t,” Jenkins said, via Reuben Frank of NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com. “The only thing that’s different is the fanfare and the looming doom of your season, but the game is all the same really just trying to convince them that it’s no different than the last month that we’ve been in and get them to focus more on the task at hand and the context of the situation.”
Jenkins said he fell into that trap in his first playoff game. His Saints team beat the Lions that day in 2011, but he played poorly and hasn’t forgotten the message.
“I made [that] mistake early in my career, trying to do too much,” he said. “You want to start making those splash plays and things like that, but it really comes down to who can execute the small things in the big pressure situations and oftentimes the hype and hoopla makes you lose site of just the small things, your technique, your details. . . . After that I realized it’s as simple as let the game come to you.
“Just doing too much. Just trying to make too many plays. Searching for things instead of just kind of letting the game to you, and you end up having a bad game, and obviously the playoffs aren’t the time to have a bad game. The way you do that is focusing on the task at hand, the small things that focused on to get you here, and not letting the circumstances and the pressure get to you.”
The Eagles have 26 players on the roster who have never appeared in the postseason, including five starters. That’s a remarkably high number for a team that won a Super Bowl two years ago, and the reason Jenkins is sharing his message now.