Jalen Mills

Jalen Mills has a message for ‘fake Eagles fans’

Jalen Mills has a message for ‘fake Eagles fans’

Jalen Mills had a bad game Sunday against the Bucs, but instead of doing what most players would do and avoid social media, Mills made sure to see all the hate. 

And he had a message for everyone who sent it his way: 

On Tuesday afternoon, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Marc Farzetta caught up with Mills and asked the third-year corner why he decided to respond to those folks saying mean things about him on the internet:

It is what it is. As far as I’m concerned, we’re in the same predicament we were in last year that we’re in now. It was the same type of energy. So that’s why I said (it). I’m acknowledging it. 

All those fake Eagles fans, keep that same energy. When we start rolling and get back to where we’re going to get to at the end of the year, we don’t want to hear from you.

When asked if he uses the negativity on social media as motivation, Mills said he doesn’t, that he’s already self-motivated. But that seems like it might not be exactly true. Because if it’s not motivating, why bother?

While some fans have been completely rational, understanding that Mills had a bad game, others are ready to panic and pull him from the starting lineup. This probably has something to do with having a healthy Sidney Jones available. Jones has looked good as the Eagles’ slot corner through two games. 

But the thought of pulling Mills from the starting lineup after two games is far too reactionary. Remember, the Eagles won a Super Bowl with this guy last year. He was their best corner while Ronald Darby was getting over that dislocated ankle. If he doesn’t make sure Julio Jones can’t catch that ball against the Falcons, the Eagles’ season ends in the divisional round. 

No, Mills didn’t play a good game against the Bucs, but he shouldn’t be benched. Not yet. And he probably doesn't deserve to get hateful things said to him by frustrated fans. 

If you still want to hate Mills, though, go ahead. He’ll be happy to see it as he’s scrolling through his timeline.

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Eagles' uncharacteristic breakdowns allowed Buccaneers to hit big plays

Eagles' uncharacteristic breakdowns allowed Buccaneers to hit big plays

TAMPA — Malcolm Jenkins blamed himself for the first one: “I just vacated the post. Inexcusable mistake.”

Jalen Mills blamed himself, too: “Good throw, good catch, touchdown. Just have to be better in coverage.”

Ronald Darby blamed himself for the second one: “It was just a bad play. A missed tackle. Get it fixed and move on to next week.”

Two plays. Ballgame.

Two plays defined the Eagles’ 27-21 loss to the Bucs Sunday at Raymond James Stadium (see observations).

Two plays the Eagles can’t allow to happen.

Ryan Fitzpatrick 75 yards to DeSean Jackson on the first play of the game, and Fitz’s 75-yarder to O.J. Howard late in the second quarter.

“That’s 14 points, those two plays,” Mills said. “We take those away, we win the ballgame.”

Their loss to the Bucs Sunday was the first game in franchise history the Eagles have allowed two 75-yard touchdown passes before halftime.

“It’s hard on any defense when teams are getting explosives,” Rodney McLeod said. “We can’t win like that. Can’t put ourselves in that situation.”

Those two long TDs equaled the total number of 75-yard touchdowns the Eagles allowed in their previous 23 games going back to late in the 2016 season.

This is totally out of character. 

The Eagles usually get enough pressure that quarterbacks don’t have time to crank up deep balls. And they have talented albeit young corners and smart safeties.

Heck, the Eagles only allowed nine touchdown passes longer than 20 yards in 19 games all last year!

But this was just a combination of two plays where the Bucs executed at a high level and the Eagles didn’t.

“We killed ourselves,” Darby said. “It’s nothing they did, it’s what we did to ourselves.”

It’s going to be tough for any offense to march 80 yards in 12 plays against the Eagles. 

So teams are going to take shots. Especially teams that have the kind of firepower the Bucs have.

“It’s disappointing, it’s frustrating,” Jenkins said. “But in no way do we feel like it’s an emergency. I just can’t be stupid and vacate the post and we’ve just got to get a guy on the ground.

“It’s that simple.”

Only once in Eagles history had they allowed two 75-yard TDs in the same game. That was Carson Palmer to Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown in that 24-20 loss in Arizona in 2014.

“We take those plays away — even if they’re not touchdowns — and we find a way to get ‘em on the ground and they’re still big plays? We live to fight another down,” Jenkins said.

“So that’s really the most frustrating part of it, that those two big plays turned into points.

“Big plays will happen, but those can’t go for touchdowns. Not that quick. They’ve got to be able to earn their way down the field.”

The Eagles on Sunday became the first team in three years to allow two 75-yard TDs in a first half. Jay Cutler and the Bears hit two in the first half against the Rams in 2015.

Losing QB in that game: Nick Foles.

“It happens,” Nigel Bradham said. “It’s football. It’s not like we weren’t in position. If we weren’t in position that would be a problem. But we were. But I believe in our guys to make those plays.”

When a team goes 75 yards in one play, that’s just so hard to overcome mentally. Tough to bounce back from.

But I wouldn’t be shocked if the Eagles don’t allow another deep ball over the top again this year.

This is a sound defense. A talented defense. One game isn’t enough for me to believe this is who they are.

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Eagles' impressive depth at cornerback already paying off

Eagles' impressive depth at cornerback already paying off

Rasul Douglas spent most of his Thursday night watching the Eagles’ defense and cheering on his teammates. 

Until the Eagles needed him. 

That happened in the fourth quarter against Atlanta. It was a one-score game and the Falcons were in the red zone when Ronald Darby came out of the game for two plays — the only two defensive snaps Douglas got all night. 

On third down, veteran Matt Ryan decided to try the cold cornerback. A blitz forced a quicker throw than Ryan would have liked and Douglas cut off the route, intercepted the pass and got his feet in bounds. 

Then he went and sat back on the bench again. 

Aside from saying Douglas has a nose for the ball, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz wasn’t about to heap tons of praise on the second-year corner just for intercepting a huge pass at a pivotal moment of a huge game. 

“That was his job,” Schwartz said. 

This is what the Eagles expect from their corners. They expect it from their starters. And they expect it from their backups, including Douglas, who started five games as a rookie last season. 

But with Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills cemented as starters and with Sidney Jones now healthy, Douglas is a backup again in a group that is all of a sudden incredibly deep. 

“We’re loaded,” Douglas said. “We’ve got guys that could start around the league. We know that in our room. That’s what’s so tough about our room. You can’t come in here and have a bad day or you can’t have a bad practice. Guys will get on you and there are guys who will make plays. 

“The intensity is already so high. You gotta bring this to the table and if you don’t, you’re a cancer to our room, and if you’re a cancer to our room, you’re a cancer to our team.”

The Eagles’ defensive back room, led by coach Cory Undlin, is as competitive as it is deep. Douglas explained that they’re not just competitive with football; it’s everything. He said if he walked up to Jones or rookie Avonte Maddox and challenged them to a game of rock-paper-scissors, it would get intense. He then peeked around the corner and looked disappointed that neither player was at their respective locker stalls. 

In addition to his two defensive snaps, Douglas said the 10 special teams snaps he got helped to keep him loose during the game. That’s a key. So is staying mentally involved in the game. He’s not playing, but it’s not hard for him to keep his focus. 

“What else are you watching?” he said. 

Douglas knows the Eagles could call for him to step back on the field at any given moment. He’ll be ready when they do. 

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