The Eagles’ young cornerbacks looked sullen in the locker room. They weren’t the only reason the team lost Sunday, but the secondary in general was the main reason for the 38-20 defeat.
Starting cornerbacks Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas gave up four touchdowns, turning Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins into Tom Brady for one forgettable fall afternoon. Stefon Diggs and Adam Theilen couldn’t be stopped en route to a combined 224 receiving yards. After the game, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins shed some light on what went wrong.
“Couple of blown coverages, one of them by me. I’ll take the heat for that,” Jenkins told reporters. “We’re trying to figure out what our identity is. When you’re changing personnel week to week, because of injuries and all that, it’s hard to find out what you are defensively.”
Jenkins took responsibility for Diggs’ second touchdown, a 51-yard bomb from Cousins that initially looked to be Douglas’ fault. But the cornerback was seen waving his hands back toward the middle of the field. He was expecting help. Diggs also sped past the secondary for a 62-yard touchdown about two minutes prior to that.
“The second one, he should have been back helping Rasul on that one,” head coach Doug Pederson told reporters. “That’s the one he got caught. On the first one, both guys, both safeties were in run support, and they just ran past us.”
Douglas, looking upset and frustrated outside his locker, preached learning from the mistakes and putting the poor showing behind them.
“Stick to your guy and plaster,” Douglas said, when asked about the secondary’s gameplan. “We’re a confident group. We know what we can do. You’re not going to play in this league and not have a bad game.”
Malcolm Jenkins Sends Message to Eagles Cornerbacks
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins wasn’t chastising the team’s young cornerbacks, but he did send a challenge out to them. The way that defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz asks his players to attack opposing receivers, they are always going to be vulnerable. It’s their job to make plays, no matter what the name is on the back of the jersey.
“This game’s not for suckers,” Jenkins said. “So if you’re not confident on the outside, then we can’t use you. We don’t mind that they are out here challenging on the outside, that’s part of it. We can do what we can to protect them from calls but at the end of the day our defense is going to call for guys to go on the outside and cover.”
Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills Return to Practice This Week
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson confirmed Monday that injured cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills will return to practice this week. According to Pederson, Darby is more likely to play Sunday against Dallas. He is coming back from a hamstring injury suffered in Week 3 versus Detroit.
Meanwhile, Mills has been on the PUP list since training camp and is finally eligible to return. He has been dealing with a foot injury stemming back to last year. The Eagles will put him out there and see how much giddyup the corner has in his step.
“You have to be careful with Jalen, number one. He hasn’t played in a while,” Pederson told reporters. “Obviously if he can’t go 60 minutes, I don’t think it would be smart on our part to put him out there for a full 60-minute game if he’s ready to go.
“I think Darby on the other hand, you probably could do that just because he’s played and he’s played this season. So, probably two different guys, so I would expect Darby to maybe play a little more if he’s healthy and ready than say Jalen.”
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