October 23, 2015 |
First there were Quintin Mikell and Sean Jones in Sean McDermott's Jim Johnson-cloned defense. Then there were Mikell and Nate Allen. Then Allen and Kurt Coleman for two years behind the "wide nine. " Then Allen and Patrick Chung in Bill Davis' completely new scheme. And then Allen and Malcolm Jenkins last year. Interspersed as starters in that six-year span have been Macho Harris, Colt Anderson, Jarrad Page, Jaiquawn Jarrett, David Sims and Earl Wolff. It's been seven years since the Eagles and Brian Dawkins parted ways, and for the first time since his departure, the team has two more than competent safeties and a scheme that matches their skill sets.
March 12, 2014 |
There are free-agent safeties for the taking, and the Eagles are expected to take a plunge into those waters, but they won't dive in at the expense of being taken. Free agency opens at 4 p.m. Tuesday, but after the first two days of a three-day window to negotiate with player representatives, the Eagles have yet to be linked to one particular safety. Jairus Byrd, formerly of the Bills, will likely set the market, but if his contract demands drop, would the Eagles be interested?
August 27, 2013 |
JACKSONVILLE - I went back to the Marriott Sawgrass Hotel this past weekend for two reasons. They had a really cheap rate, for a resort hotel (hey, Florida in August, they should pay you to go there), and because this was the team hotel for Super Bowl XXXIX. The Eagles allowed a small group of beat writers to stay with them, chronicling the week that ended up being the high-water mark of the Andy Reid-Donovan McNabb era. If I was looking for ghosts from February 2005, I didn't find any. The hotel is in the process of a big renovation (another reason for the rate)
April 29, 2012
Donovan McNabb has spent the last couple of weeks telling anyone listening that he belongs in the Hall of Fame, and while he was at it, to take the time to discredit a couple of his contemporaries who have already made the Hall. A couple of days ago, when presented with the possibility that he might go to the Hall of Fame, Brian Dawkins got choked up. And therein lies the difference between an Eagles player universally accepted by the fans as one of their all-time favorites, and another who will forever be on the outside looking in. Brian Dawkins officially retired last week from the National Football League.
April 24, 2012 |
IN BRIAN DAWKINS' prime, the most rare part of his hybrid game might have been that amazing, shark-on-the-hunt deep-coverage skill, the way Dawk could adjust, arriving just in time to help a teammate, even if he'd been in another quadrant of the field when the ball left the quarterback's hands. But that isn't what Eagles fans will remember when they tell tales of No. 20 to their grandchildren on some far-off day, when Lincoln Financial Field is awaiting the wrecking ball and all the images from the Andy Reid era look impossibly dated and quaint.
April 19, 2012
IN THE WEEKS and months leading up to the April draft, every NFL team puts together a "board" that ranks all of the eligible players by the overall grade given them by that team's scouts, coaches and personnel executives in predraft meetings. Teams will tell you that they try to stay true to that board on draft day. If they own the 15th pick in the first round, as the Eagles do this year, their plan generally is to take the highest-rated unclaimed player on their board, regardless of position.
March 4, 2012
The Eagles are deep at cornerback, need to upgrade at linebacker and should get younger on the defensive line. But what about at safety, where the directive is much less clear? For that answer look to Nate Allen. The Eagles, before they launch their plans at the position, must gauge their confidence in the third-year safety for next season. Do they believe in the Allen that aggressively made tackles all over the field at Buffalo and finished last season on the upswing?
December 13, 2011 |
Now that Andy Reid has given us a preview of his sales pitch, the only question left is whether Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie will buy it on Jan. 2. That is the day after the Eagles' season ends, the day Reid usually unveils his rationalizations and, not incidentally, the day Lurie presumably will begin reviewing his employees' performances in 2011. Whether he is looking at a record of 6-10, 7-9, or 8-8 won't matter as much as whether he accepts Reid's attempt to spin that record.
October 17, 2011 |
Here are some observations and ruminations about the Eagles' victory over the Redskins: LANDOVER, Md. - It took six games, but the Eagles defense had its first big hit of the season when cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha clobbered Redskins tight end Chris Cooley after Cooley caught a screen pass. All season long, the defense has lacked the intimidation factor. But Asomugha brought it on that play. Cooley went to the locker room and returned to the game briefly before leaving for good with a hand injury.
October 6, 2011
NOW, IN THE WAKE of three blown second-half leads, the Eagles miss safety Quintin Mikell's stinging tongue as much as they miss his punishing hits. Veteran defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins can fill the leadership void. In 2009, Mikell replaced safety Brian Dawkins as the defense's leader. Dawkins led the defense for a decade. He inherited the job from cornerback Troy Vincent, who got it from Mike Zordich, who followed Seth Joyner . . . The point is, the defense always had someone to hold players accountable.