Gunn-on-One: Jalen Mills talks leadership, Odell Beckham Jr., more

Gunn-on-One: Jalen Mills talks leadership, Odell Beckham Jr., more

In this week's "Gunn-on-One," which you can see Sunday on CSN's Eagles Pregame Live, Derrick Gunn chats with defensive back Jalen Mills:

Gunn: Before the Chiefs game, you got to break down the huddle in front of all of the veterans. How did you get that role and what was it like to get these guys fired up for a game?
Mills: It all kind of happened last year and we were kind of going through rotations and guys were saying what they were feeling. I don’t remember what game but Jenk (safety Malcolm Jenkins) tapped my shoulder and I looked at him and he told me to let the group hear something. When that time comes, all of the anticipation comes out from waiting to play and you get ready.
Gunn: What aspects of your game are a lot better this year compared to your rookie season?
I mean, my play recognition. I am seeing a lot of plays come out a lot slower, I am seeing formations and where the quarterbacks are looking as well as run and block shedding.

Gunn: You have been tested a lot through the past two games. Honestly evaluate your play so far. 
Mills: I am very critical of myself. Knowing my capabilities, out of 10 I would give myself a six. I don’t think the game against the Chiefs was my best but there is always room for improvement.
Gunn: There is a chance the secondary could be depleted this Sunday, how does that change how you all approach the game on the back end of the defense?
Mills: You have certain guys who do things well. We also have a great room. We all study together and we are communicating a lot at practice. The communication is there and we all see the same thing at the same time. I don’t think there is going to be a big difference.
Gunn: How surprised are you that the Giants are 0-2?
Mills: Very surprised. Especially with the pickups they got. They got Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram, who I played against when I was at LSU. It is a long season and anything can happen. They are not going to come in and lay down. They are hungry to win.

Gunn: Giants coach Ben McAdoo said they are going to “change some things.” How do you prepare for the unexpected?
Mills: We have to trust the scheme. Whatever it is, whether it is a new running back or wide receiver, we have to stay committed and just play fast.
Gunn: Do you agree with this assessment? The worst opponent to play is sometimes a wounded opponent.
Mills: You know they are itching and hungry for a win and they will do whatever they must in their power to get that feeling. At the same time, we can’t think we are going to run over them because they will come after you.
Gunn: You played with Odell Beckham Jr. for two years at LSU. Give me your breakdown of the pluses and minuses of Odell.

Mills: Pluses: I know a lot of people see things in the media and they push a negative cloud on him. He is a great teammate who works hard. He has great passion and a great love for the game. I don’t have anything negative to say about him.
Gunn: Do you talk to Odell leading up to the game and throughout the season? Is there any trash talk there? 
Mills: I don’t talk to him that much during the season. We do talk a little bit in the offseason. We both know what is at stake and we are out here to compete and win. There is not too much trash talk there with Odell.
Gunn: Is there any way to get him off of his game? 
Mills: I think Josh Norman got him off of his game last year and got him frustrated, but it calmed down after that. Not much gets him off of his game.
Gunn: Rasul Douglas could be getting his first professional start. It wasn’t long ago that you were doing the same. What do you tell him to get ready? 
Mills: First, if he does get the start, he has to trust himself. If you are out here, the coaches and players trust you. You have to believe in yourself. 
Gunn: Malcolm Jenkins said the Eagles are the team to beat in the NFC East. Do you agree?
Mills: Yes.
Gunn: I saw you were on the injury report with a hand injury. Is your wagging finger fine? 
Mills: My wagging finger is definitely fine.

Gunn: Who has the better hair? You or Odell? Why?
Mills: Me of course. My hair is green and I think I pull it off pretty well.

Gunn: If Rasul or Patrick Robinson guards Odell, what do you tell them?

Mills: Stop Odell. There isn’t a certain formula because everybody’s body is different. I would just say do what you do best.

10 random Mike Wallace stats

10 random Mike Wallace stats

In Mike Wallace, the Eagles are getting a veteran wide receiver who’s now playing for his fifth team in the last seven years.
Wallace has put up fairly consistent numbers since the Steelers drafted him out of Mississippi in the third round in 2009.
And we all know what a veteran wide receiver means. Lots of stats!
So let’s get to know Mike Wallace with 10 Random Mike Wallace Stats That You Didn’t Know (And I Didn’t Either Until I Looked them Up!):
• Since entering the NFL in 2009, Wallace ranks ninth in the NFL with 8,072 receiving yards, behind only former teammate Antonio Brown (9,910), Larry Fitzgerald (9,570), Calvin Johnson (9,532), Brandon Marshall (9,316), Julio Jones (9,054), Demaryius Thomas (8,653), DeSean Jackson (8,575) and A.J. Green (8,213).
• Wallace’s 57 touchdown catches since 2009 are seventh-most in the NFL during that span by a wide receiver.

• With a 95-yard touchdown catch from Ben Roethlisberger against the Cardinals in 2011 and a 95-yarder from Joe Flacco against the Steelers in 2016, Wallace is one of just three players in NFL history with two career TD receptions of 95 or more yards.

The others are Gaynell Tinsley of the Chicago Cardinals, who caught a 97-yarder from Pat Coffee in 1937 and a 98-yarder from Doug Russell in 1938, and Pennsauken’s John Taylor, who caught a 95-yarder from Joe Montana in 1989 and a 97-yarder from Steve Young in 1991.
• Similarly, Wallace’s four career TDs of 80 yards or more — the two listed above plus catches of 81 and 82 from Roethlisberger in 2011 and 2012 — are fifth-most in NFL history behind Derrick Alexander, Lance Alworth, Bobby Hayes and Jerry Rice, who all have five.
• Wallace has had at least 725 receiving yards in eight of his nine seasons in the NFL. Since 2009, only Fitzgerald has had 725 or more yards more often than Wallace.
• Wallace’s career rushing average of 7.1 yards per carry is fifth-highest among active players (with 32 or more attempts), behind Cordarrelle Patterson (10.3), Tyreek Hill (8.0), Deshaun Watson (7.5) and Ted Ginn (7.1).
• Wallace had nine catches for the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV against the Packers after the 2010 season. That’s tied with several players (including Nelson Agholor) for eighth-most in Super Bowl history by a wide receiver.
• Since he entered the league in 2009, Wallace has 43 receptions of 40 yards or more, second-most in the NFL during that span behind only former Eagle DeSean Jackson, who has 56. Those 43 passes were thrown by five quarterbacks (Roethlisberger 23, Flacco 9, Ryan Tannehill 7, Charlie Batch 3 and former Eagle Dennis Dixon 1).
• During the same span, Wallace has 19 TD catches of 40 yards or more, again second-most in the league during that span to Jackson’s 26.
• In 2010, Wallace caught 60 passes for 1,257 yards, and his 20.95 average was sixth-highest in NFL history and highest in the last 33 years by a player with 60 or more receptions. Since 1965, only Hall of Famer and one-time Eagle James Lofton has had a higher average (21.95 in 1984).

2017 film shows Mike Wallace is still a burner

2017 film shows Mike Wallace is still a burner

Remember the offseason before the 2016 season?

Howie Roseman was making major moves, among them moving up to pick Carson Wentz, but he was also trying to find some cheap speed at the receiver position. The Eagles drafted Nelson Agholor the year before, but Agholor had a disappointing rookie season and the Eagles simply needed to get faster at the position. They really missed DeSean Jackson after Chip Kelly released him. 

So Roseman went out that offseason and signed T.J. Graham and Chris Givens. Two cheap and fast veterans. But neither had anything to give. Neither made the team. Then Roseman traded for Dorial Green-Beckham and claimed Bryce Treggs. Both spent the 2016 season on the roster but never really gave the Eagles that deep threat. It appeared the Eagles would have to pay a little more for their speed. 

Last offseason, Roseman did that, when he signed Torrey Smith to a little heftier contract (the Eagles also signed Alshon Jeffery, who offered more than speed). Smith was just alright and certainly wasn’t worth a $5 million cap hit in 2018, so he’s gone. The good news for the Eagles is that Agholor has grown into an important player who offers speed from the slot, but they still wanted some more outside, which explains the signing of Mike Wallace. Wallace is 31 but might still have something left in the tank. 

Since he entered the NFL, Wallace has 26 catches of 50-plus yards, second during that span to the 36 put up by DeSean, whose absence sent the Eagles looking for speed this whole time.

And if you’re worried that Wallace will be 32 by the start of the season, it’s a valid fear. But in 2017 with the Ravens, he still had the burners working. Wallace had three catches of 50-plus yards; the Eagles as a team had seven. 

Here’s a look at Wallace’s speed with Baltimore last year. We’ll look at all three 50-yard catches: 

There really isn’t much to this. This is the first play of the game from the Ravens-Raiders game in Oakland on Oct. 8. This is the first play from scrimmage; Doug Pederson isn’t the only coach who likes to take his shots. 

Just after the snap, Wallace uses a little stutter step. All he needs is for the corner to hesitate for a split second or get off balance and then he has him where he wants him. Now it’s off to the races. 

After 12 yards, Wallace has more than a step on the DB and Joe Flacco is letting it rip. The safety notices this, but he’s going to be too late getting over. This one goes for a gain of 52 yards down the sideline. 

-- -- --  

This next play actually happens later in the Raiders game. Wallace is circled. He’s not going to do anything fancy on this; just gonna turn on the burners. 

At this point, the Raiders’ DB picks up Wallace after he bursts off the line. But the corner gets turned sideways and Wallace goes right past him. The defender thought he had help, but the safety gets caught looking upfield, ready to drive on a short play. Not much help. 

By the time the safety realizes he needs to help, he's caught flat-footed and looking upfield. Wallace burns both defensive backs on this play for a 54-yarder. 

If Flacco hits Wallace in stride, this is an easy touchdown. But the ball is a tad underthrown and Wallace has to wait for it. 

This next play came in early December against the Lions. It’s a little different from the other two because Wallace is lined up in the slot. The Eagles probably won’t ask him to go in the slot a ton because that’s Nelson Agholor’s spot, but Pederson isn’t averse to moving his receivers around. So if Wallace ever finds himself in the slot, we know what he can do. 


The Ravens use a play action, which freezes the linebacker nearest Wallace. The safety doesn't seem to bite, but it doesn’t matter. Wallace simply splits the center of the field, which leaves the deep safety as the only man to beat. He doesn’t have much trouble. 

This play doesn’t finish in the end zone, but it is a 66-yard gain that gets the Ravens down to the 1-yard line. They punch it in on the next play. 

Wallace might have been 31 last year, but he still had his speed. He averaged 14.4 yards per catch and still was a threat to catch the deep ball. This signing works if he can still do that in 2018.