Throughout the course of the week, we’ll be providing position-by-position previews of the entire Eagles roster. Click here to get to all of them. Today, we cover the safeties.
The roster: Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, Jaiquawn Jarrett, David Sims, Colt Anderson.
The Eagles shuffled up their safety situation on cut-down day. They let go of Oshiomogho Atogwe, who couldn’t stay healthy, and acquired Sims from the Browns. The Eagles also placed Anderson on the 53-man roster, instead of the PUP list, which would have forced him to miss the first six weeks of the season.
Player in the spotlight: Jaiquawn Jarrett
Even though the season is just three days away, it’s unclear exactly what Jarrett’s role is going to be in 2012.
As a rookie, he started two games and played significant snaps in two more. Safety was a problem area for the Eagles all season, but at no point did the team look to Jarrett as an answer. He couldn’t get onto the field until the team’s starters were sidelined with injuries in the second half of the season.
At the end of 2011, the expectation was that Jarrett would push Coleman for a starting spot after having a full offseason under his belt, but that hasn’t happened. Instead, he had to fight for a roster spot after a disastrous preseason game against the Steelers in early August. Jarrett took bad angles to the ball and missed multiple tackles in that game; at practice, Tom Nelson started to rotate in with him on the second team.
To his credit, Jarrett bounced back later in the preseason, but he needs to show a lot more to raise his ceiling from backup/special teams player to quality starter. He was also helped by the fact that Nelson suffered a high ankle sprain and Atogwe couldn’t get his hamstring right.
In Week 1, Jarrett will be counted on as the Eagles’ first backup behind Coleman and Allen. Chances are, at some point this season, he’ll get on the field and be given a chance to prove that the Eagles didn’t waste a pick on him in the second round of the 2011 draft.
You should also know that…
* Allen is the most talented of the group and finished 2011 strong. A second-round pick in 2010, he needs to show he can be healthy and productive in 2012.
* Missed tackles are only part of the equation, but Allen had trouble in that area last season. According to Football Outsiders, he missed 10 overall, or 17.9 percent of his tackling attempts.
* Sims has a great story. After high school, he worked a series of odd jobs, including one in waste management. He went to junior college, switched from running back to safety, transferred to Iowa State and has bounced around from the Giants to the Bucs to the Browns to the Eagles. He’s hoping to not only contribute on special teams, but push for playing time on defense also.
* Anderson was second on the team with 12 special-teams tackles last season, and keep in mind that he only played in 12 games after suffering a torn ACL against the Seahawks. He was also the first man down in coverage 18 times. No other Eagle did that more than nine times. Anderson will be inactive in Week 1, but it looks like he’ll be back making plays for Bobby April sooner rather than later.
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