I understand Jim Schwartz’ decision to keep Jalen Mills at the starting left cornerback position. It’s very difficult to make a change like that at this point in the season because moving players around can create instability and damage the players’ confidence. Still, I would rather see Sidney Jones at the left cornerback position, Mills at safety, Avonte Maddox at slot corner and Corey Graham on the bench.
The truth of the matter is that they should have been creating more versatility in the secondary by letting the guys play different positions. Mills has all of the skills you want in a safety. Maddox was made to play in the slot and Jones was the highest rated corner on their board when he came out of school. The Eagles know that Mills isn’t going to be able to continue to succeed at the outside cornerback position, now that teams know he is vulnerable to the deep ball.
“I think [Mills] should be taking McLeod’s place
and lining up inside with Malcolm Jenkins.”
Think about all the deep balls that have already been thrown on Mills and we’re only through one quarter of the season. Yes numerous times on the deep balls, he was supposed to have help, but notice that he’s unable to run down the receivers. He just doesn’t have he speed to play outside at the cornerback spot.
I will say again and again that Mills would be perfect replacement for Rodney McLeod for the rest of the season. I think the young defensive back should be taking McLeod’s place and lining up inside with Malcolm Jenkins. Mills is one of the best open field tacklers on the team by far and Jenkins was previously a cornerback who was moved to safety.
As a former cornerback, he knows how to move up a receiver and cover him man-to-man. All of them, Jenkins, McLeod and Mills have very good one-on-one cover skills. Mills has the same skills as Jenkins and McLeod, which make him a great fit at the safety spot. Safeties with man-to-man skills give the Eagles secondary the ability to slide into blitzes and changes of coverage without changing personnel. It makes the secondary more versatile.
Here’s what Schwartz said at the news conference yesterday:
“I’m firmly behind Jalen Mills as a corner. One of the reasons we had a big parade on Broad Street was Jalen Mills. He’s played a lot like a 2-2 corner, we’ve played a lot like a 2-2 defense, we’ve played a lot like a 2-2 team right now. There’s been inconsistencies all around, but it’s our job to help him through that. It’s his job to get out of that.
I’m firmly behind Jalen Mills. That guy has played a lot of good football for us and he epitomizes a lot of things we’re about defensively — toughness and competitiveness and the ability to bounce back. And I’m confident he will.”
If you don’t know Schwartz by now, he’s got a stubbornness about him that lets us all know that there’s no way he was going to be pressured by outside voices to bench or change Mills’ position. But that doesn’t make him right.
On another note, somebody needs to talk to Ronald Darby and Corey Graham about their “tackling,” because honestly, I don’t think we can call what they were doing tackling at all.