I understand Jalen Mills wanting to jaw in the face of Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen after he broke up a short hitch route on third down in the second half. But, Birds defensive captain Fletcher Cox pushed Mills and got in his face as a way of getting him to leave Thielen alone because of the threat of drawing a penalty and keeping the Vikings scoring drive alive.
“It was all great words”, Cox said to reporters in the locker room afterward. “I think the ref was getting ready to throw the flag and I was a great teammate. I went in there to pull him out of the scuffle to not cost this team fifteen yards and get him to the sideline.”
“[Mills is] one of the toughest and most competitive players on the Eagles roster.”
Mills was clearly in the wrong because he was about to force the referee to throw the penalty flag on what would have been a back-breaking penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. That would have given Minnesota a first down and ten inside the Eagles’ red zone and it would have opened the door to Minnesota possibly scoring a touchdown rather than kicking a field goal.
Cox and Mills patched things up on the sidelines. Mills was wrong in this instance, but I like the attitude he brings to the game. He’s one of the toughest and most competitive players on the Eagles roster. I could see this in him when he first stepped on the field as a rookie. The young man will fight and compete as long as he’s on the field and his attitude is contagious.
Jalen’s fighting spirit inspires the guys around him, but he still runs a 4.6 forty yard dash. I can understand the Eagles coaching staff not moving him during the season, because it could be a confidence killer, but he should be playing safety. They should have started hinting at this move all off season.
The Eagles coaching staff now knows Mills can’t run with the faster receivers in the NFL. Thielen isn’t even considered a fast receiver and he ran away from Mills on that 68-yard catch. I thought the Vikings were going to go after Mills with Stefon Diggs, but Thielen outran him. Mills would thrive at safety and although it is not ideal, they may be forced to make the change this season if he continues to get beaten game after game.
BTW – Rasul Douglas should be taking reps at safety as well. All of the backups in the secondary should be working at cornerback and safety. Backups that aren’t versatile aren’t as valuable. Injuries happen in the NFL all the time.
Follow me on Twitter
Like GCobb.com on Facebook
Follow me on Instagram