Safety Spots Wide Open In the Early Going

Nate Allen didn’t know about the free-agent safety additions until he got the call from Chip Kelly.

“He was just saying, ‘It’s just, we need competition out here,’” said Allen.

But anyone who watched this team last year knows the situation is far more urgent than that.

Pro Football Focus has safety rankings from the 2012 season based on overall performance. Of the 88 safeties evaluated, Allen ranked 84th and Kurt Coleman 85th.The Eagles yielded a league-worst 33 touchdowns through the air. Opposing quarterbacks had an average rating of 99.6 against them. (Only Kansas City [99.9] was more generous.)

The Eagles understandably made safety a priority this offseason, adding Kenny Phillips and Patrick Chung to the fold in free agency. Then they used a fifth-round pick on Earl Wolff in April’s draft.

So, where does it all stand  now that we’re a few weeks into the offseason program?

The first thing that jumps out is that Phillips — a Super Bowl champ with the best pedigree of the bunch — is consistently running with the second team. The “they’re just easing him in because he is new” theory doesn’t really hold water. This is a brand new regime with a brand new defensive coordinator who brings a brand new scheme. It’s equally new to everybody. Secondly, Chung has been getting some first team looks, and he’s just as new as Phillips is.

It’s more likely that Phillips is being brought along slowly because of his injury history. The 26-year-old has had multiple knee issues over his five-year career.

“No. 1 is probably just health,” said Phillips, on what he has to prove to the coaching staff. “They know I can play. They wouldn’t have brought me here if they didn’t believe I can play. Basically, just health right now.

“[The knee] is definitely something I have to be conscious of — when I’m in the weight room, when I’m on the field, how many reps I take — but at the same time I’m  going to get my work done; I’m never going to just tap out. I’m going to do what I have to do so Coach can see that I’m ready to work and that I’m a starter in this league.”

The Eagles really won’t know what they have in Phillips — or the rest of the safeties, for that matter — until the hitting starts.

As they ease Phillips in, Allen is getting a healthy amount of the first-team reps. He was paired with Chung last week, and ran with Coleman this past Monday when Chung was absent due to travel delays.

“Last year was obviously rough, and the year before was rough, but it’s all learning,” said Allen. “It helps you grow as a man and grow as a player, and it’s not going to do anything but make you better.

“Anytime they give you another chance to come out here and play, it’s always a good thing and a blessing.”

Kelly sounded high on the former second-round pick when asked about him a few weeks back.

Both Allen and Coleman suggested that the safety’s job will be easier this season in Billy Davis‘ scheme, which demands less of the unit in the run game.

“Not to say that the safeties aren’t going to be called on to make plays against the run, but we’re not going to be the first guys onto the scene,” said Coleman. “It’s going to be a big change for us, which is kind of good. It allows us to sit back and read the QB a little more, be more patient.”

“It gives you a little more freedom in certain things we do. Yeah, I’m excited about it,” added Allen.

This could be the most wide-open competition of the bunch. Allen and Coleman did nothing last season to secure a starting spot. Phillips has the health concerns. Chung is coming off a down season, and Wolff is a fifth-round rook.

“I think this is a great group of guys that are willing to work together as one,” said Coleman. “Maybe we don’t have a star, if that’s what you’re trying to get at, but I think we can become stars here in this program, in this scheme.”

The Eagles would probably settle for “steady.”

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  • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

    I’d like to see Phillips and Allen as the starters, backed up by Chung and Wolff. Coleman needs to go, end of story.

    • Wo

      Why Coleman? a 7th round pick has to go? Its not his fault he was put on the field way too much. He can be a contributor, just should have never been pegged as a a starter.

      • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

        He’s just not a very good football player. I don’t question his heart, and he out played his draft status, but he’s a holdover from a secondary that was infamously bad. And yes, I know Allen is as well, but I personally feel he hasn’t reached his potential yet, an opinion I know most people don’t share. I think you’re better off giving those reps to Wolff, a new regime guy with a higher ceiling than Coleman.

        • Chris

          Agree with you on this one, Adam. Really appreciated Coleman’s heart, and outperforming his draft spot, but I just feel like he’s not going to do much better than what we’ve seen. The tape on Wolff looks promising, and I believe he has more upside than Coleman. Not ready to give up on Allen yet, but with Chung and Phillips both showing that they can start, I believe Nate is on a short leash. Who knows, maybe this will bring the best out of him. It’s not like he’s had stiff competition for his job the last two years.

        • xlGmanlx

          I agree, but we also can’t forget the defensive scheme and front alignment couldn’t have been in more disarray last year and the year before under Wash and his diva Babin.

        • theycallmerob

          Very well said

      • Broadcasting Wisdom

        Coleman is a solid special teams player and an average safety who won’t kill you if he has to start. The plays he looked bad and that get him in trouble with the negadelphians are when he “bites” on play action. As we’ve read, if the scheme required him to fill a gap in a run play, he can’t just sit back and defend the deep route until he is absolutely sure it is a handoff. That is just a terrible scheme, especially if your CB thinks he has safety help, that offenses exploited as the year went on. I think Coleman definitely has a role on this team and with a 7th round pick contract, you’re not going to find a better performer on special teams and at safety at his cost. He should not be cut.

        • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

          Coleman is to slow and doesn’t have the instincts to play safety in the NFL. He gets suckered to often on play action, as some will but in Coleman’s case he doesn’t have the foot speed to recover and get back into position.

          It’s only necessary for a Safety to take a step out of position to get beat by athletes with world class speed. Coleman just isn’t catching up or in a position to defend.

          Coleman is the reason teams run play action against the Eagles. It’ the path of least resistance.

        • FMWarner

          But he DID start and he DID kill us.

          • Broadcasting Wisdom

            My point is that the scheme killed us – having your safety sprint towards the line of scrimmage at the snap to protect against the run and then try to cover deep patterns if the play ends up being play action. If there is a rational scheme and the players communicate, I think Coleman can be an adequate stopgap starter. As a 7th round pick who contributes on special teams, that’s not bad!

    • JofreyRice

      See, I actually think Coleman is a better “football player” than Allen, just a much worse athlete. Coleman can’t move like a starting caliber DB, and Allen’s instincts have him moving the wrong way most of the time.

      I really can’t see Chung riding the bench, in favor of Allen. Allen was miserable. The idea of an open competition is fine, but if the guy you *just* paid 4 and a half million dollars to a guy and he doesn’t start, then it was a bad signing. Free agents are WYSIWYG, and they paid for a starter. If they didn’t think Chung was an improvement on the two safeties we had on the roster, then they should have signed someone that was.

      The way I could see Allen starting is in the very likely scenario that Phillips’ knee isn’t right, or that it will never be right again, which is why I would have liked them to take a S earlier.

      • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

        I have no concerns that Chung’s price tag will ever be a factor in who plays and who doesn’t. If Allen earns the job, that’s great. Then you’ve got a guy on the bench that can step in and play relatively well, at least better than having Colt Anderson out there. You have to pay a price to bring in good competition.

        • JofreyRice

          but you don’t think that’s bad roster building and a misuse of resources? I’m OK with open competition for guys that were already here, Kelly & Davis had no control over that, obviously, but conceivably, some combo of Kelly, Davis & Roseman *picked* this guy to improve a miserable secondary that is in desperate need of at least a solid starter.

          • damrvrhunter

            I would not call it “bad roster building” at all but rather fortuitous happenstance that a regime change has managed to bring out the best of Allen. Same goes if Dennis Kelly beats out Johnson, Watkins over Herremans, Marsh over Fletcher/Williams, all of which would go to show how terrible AR was at developing players. What an embarrassment of riches if those four players become adequate starters with competent back ups behind them?! Not to mention am improved Special Teams that would be the result!

          • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

            No I do not, because of the fact that Allen has shown glimpses of being able to be an NFL starter, but not near enough to warrant not challenging. I don’t think he’s hit his ceiling and I think the coaching staff felt they may be able to coach him up but they weren’t sure. That’s not even mentioning the fact that there are injury concerns for all these guys. If 3 mil for Chung lights a fire under Allen and he turns into a quality starter, then that’s great. If it doesn’t and Chung wins the job then so be it.

  • theycallmerob

    Hoping for the best with Philips, but not expecting much at all. Really, really hope Wolff or Poyer show something. The DBs still terrify me

    • pkatz

      Yeah, I’m afraid of what’s going to happen this year too. I’m still completely baffled around why we didn’t get more secondary help a little earlier in the draft, especially since we kept hearing that this draft was so deep at those spots.

      We could have drafted someone projected to be a stud but instead we just have a bunch of question marks.

      • B-West

        They built up their draft board, and they stuck to it. That’s a fine strategy by me. They did that last year and most people seem to think that particular draft went well. Time will tell if the draft board was built correctly.

        • pkatz

          Yes, I agree in general (drafting for need = bad), but the secondary was such a glaring need that I was surprised and disappointed when they didn’t draft anyone earlier.

    • xlGmanlx

      Even if you swap Phillips for KC, the amount of leadership he can bring to the secondary, would be invaluable.

  • JofreyRice

    Gee, I don’t know I can agree with the assessment that they “made safety a priority”. They signed a backup, a guy that has a long injury history to an extremely low risk deal, and drafted a guy in the 5th round. I mean, they addressed it, I’ll agree–and the guys they got could conceivably turn out to be good–but I wouldn’t call the penny-ante moves they made “prioritizing” the position.

    • cliff henny

      wasnt bothered by lack of free agents, figured we’d address it more in draft and cant say wolff does much for me. my only hope is that the way kelly/davis play defense reduces secondary’s roll, puts more on front 7, so lesser talent guys can succeed easier, specifically safeties. corners are corners, they have to cover.

      • JofreyRice

        Yeah, me too. I think they missed out on George Wilson, when the Bills cut him, but I was hoping they’d “prioritize” it in the draft, with a higher pick.

      • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

        7 man front defense is not effective without strong support from the Corners and Safeties.

        Look around the league, the 49ers, Seahawk, and Ravens neither have weakness in their secondary. All are the template and are as solid in the secondary as they are in their front 7.

        Tim made some key points. “Urgent”, and some reasoning given”Not holding water”

        More alarming was Allen and Coleman seeming happy not having to support the run defense as they had been called upon in past seasons.

        Maybe they’re safeties that don’t like contact?

        • xlGmanlx

          I took it as more they didn’t have to guard run first and then have to get back into pass coverage. Crashing the line and then having to get back deep sounds like something they weren’t fans of. It sounds silly, but why shouldn’t the front 4 be concerned with the run? In Wishburn’s offense, the DL only cared about sacks, nothing more.

          • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

            Cox is able to play the run while rushing the passer, most of the other Eagles on the DL can do one or the other. It’s not they’re not concern, but they have limitations. A physical or mental limitation at one position has consequences on another, in this case the Eagles Safety position.

            Long arm, strong as an Ox defenders on the line are ideal to play the run. They have the quickness to shoot a gap and the strength to stand up a O Linemen and toss him out of the way to make a play on a back coming into their gap.

          • xlGmanlx

            The lions have two of them in Suh and Farley (not exactly sold, but isn’t exactly dainty) running the W9 and aren’t exactly a top tier defensive team. Quick passing,chipping/cutting the DL/DE’s and draw/running game pretty much negated this “front” and the back end. And that is when you have the players to pull it off, I am not a coleman fan, but that D didn’t exactly play into his “strengths” let alone a rogue coach and diva of a DE babin. I said it before and I will say it again, could Babin’s sacks have been any more soft/hollow/non-game altering while he was here? Both times….

          • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

            The Lions have two exceptional Tackles.The Lions are suspect on the back end. I don’t think they get much out of their ends either. But the center of their line is like Death Valley.

            9 position rushers are good for 5 and 7 step drop QBs, but you get nothing when the QB drop 3 steps and release. With those tackles coming full bore, it’s advisable to release when that third step hit’s the ground.

            Cut & chop blocking is illegal now.

        • Absecon

          Yeah, and the teams you mentioned above didn’t try to run the wide-9, did they???

          • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

            maybe I should have clarified, but I was referring to teams running 3-4 defense.

            9 position rushers in my opinion only works well with run stuffing tackles.

    • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

      I think he means relative to other positions. Besides maybe corner, we didn’t address any other position as much as safety. The quality of the additions has yet to be seen.

      I think this will be the trend you see going forward. Adding guys may not be great but have shown they can contribute in the past, to plug in until your system guys can step in (i.e Wolff). It may not be pretty, but it’s how you have to go about building a team that has been as bad at drafting as we have.

      • JofreyRice

        Somewhat disagree. If they’re bad at drafting, fix the process, don’t just avoid drafting until low-risk rounds like the 4th or later, and plug and play with 2nd string guys or injury reclamation projects.

        I’d offer they recognized they had one of the worst tandems in the league, and sought to make improvements within a very conservative framework, by adding 2 low risk free agents & later round draft pick; i.e. they “addressed” it, without prioritizing.

        • B-West

          I agree about your process point, and Howie has mentioned several times that they struggle on safety evaluation. Putting a positive spin on it tho….

          If you take two givens, that we have the current GM (and his staff) and that they are not good at evaluating safety, then taking low risk options is a good strategy.

          Its like being aware of your faults, and working around them to maximize your chances of success.

          Finally, I’m more accepting of this strategy this off season than most because the Eagles were 4-12. They simply need to acquire talent for the roster in any way, shape or form.

          • HipDaDip

            Great point, B-West, that ‘low risk’ is the right approach to finding safeties given their track record in evaluating talent at that position. It would have been crippling to spend another 2nd round pick on safety and have it not pan out. The approach they’ve taken also fits with the idea that ‘needs’ in the last system under Reid won’t necessarily be the same ‘needs’ in the new defense, so drafting for need would have been impossible/foolish. Although, it’s probably a safe bet that a switch in defensive system/coach will not make Coleman a worthy starter in the NFL.

        • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

          They did address the process, their processes is sticking to their board. They didn’t avoid drafting a safety until the later rounds, they picked a safety when he was their highest rated player on their board at the time they picked.

          If you think the process should have been find a safety in the high rounds even if he’s not the highest ranked on their board, well that would be drafting for need. That may not have been a bad idea this year with the quality of safeties and the need on this team, but still not the process they have chosen to go with.

          .What I think happened is they added to low risk free agents, hoping they can coach up Nate Allen and add a guy in the draft. So far they’ve done that. It’s been rumored the Birds attempted to move up and get Cyprien, but Jax loved him and the price was too high.

          I know a lot of people don’t have a lot of faith in Howie, and understandably. But with the addition of Tom Gamble, I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to pro and college personnel moves. Rose glasses or not, I think he’s done enough with his work in SF to earn some trust.

          • JofreyRice

            It’s not a terribly convincing argument to me, because the Eagles FO is such an opaque organization–I still feel like there’s not a clear definition of who is doing what.

            Phil Savage, a fantastic talent evaluator, provided insight to Howie & the FO for the miserable 2010 draft. Ryan Grigson, current NFL Executive of the Year, was aboard as well. What kind of role did they have? What did Howie do? What was Kelly’s input into FA & the draft? It’s almost as if they’ve tried to adopt a model where they insulate the FO decision-maker by obfuscation.

            Do we accept Lurie’s narrative that Howie had nothing to do with it? Some do. I find it hard to accept, considering the soundbites and reports directly after the draft where Howie quoted glowing comments about the picks to Philly media, and the marked change in the way the Eagles did business during the years when Joe Banner seemed to have a stronger role.

            Ted Sundquist, former Broncos GM makes the intuitive case that sometimes you *must* draft for need, to field a contender. I’ve felt that with the lackluster free agent signings, and the amount of talent available in the draft, this year presented a unique opportunity to get a great player at a position of need. Look at what Ozzie Newsome did: They lost Ed Reed & Ray Lewis, and drafted two pretty highly touted guys to replace them in the 1st and 2nd rounds. Or the Steelers who had to have a speedy WR to replace Mike Wallace, and got him in the form of Markus Wheaton (3rd), and needed to reproduce James Harrison’s edge pressure and got Jarvis Jones to try and do that with their first pick.

            It seems like they sat on their hands, that’s just my take.

          • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

            There are lots of schools of thought on whether you should or shouldn’t draft for need, it’s not hard to find people who’ve had success on either side of the argument. The important thing is that they’re rebuilding the roster by following a blueprint that they want to stay true to. If that means stay true to the board and go with lower quality, low risk free agents then so be it. It seems to work for teams like SF (draft) and GB (FA). Other approaches work for other teams too, no argument here. I’d like to see this team in pads before I pass judgement on whether its the right one or not.

          • illadelphia21

            Replace lower risk w/ lower expectations and I’ll agree 100%. The risk is still there of having a gaping, or to a lesser degree, noticeable weakness for said position.

          • JofreyRice

            The blueprint is just add low risk safeties because we suck at evaluating them, and hope we get lucky with one? I get what you’re saying, and hey, maybe they do strike gold, but you have to admit it doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

          • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

            I’ve said what I think their plan was.

            1. Add low priced, low expectation, with potential upside FA’s that can come in and compete, and have shown they can start in the past if need be.
            2. Believe they can coach up Nate Allen to add to that competition.
            3. Stay true to their board in a draft class that has a lot of good safeties, hopefully adding a safety in the mix.
            4. Avoid giving big contracts to free agents, so they can build through the draft.

            The stars didn’t align in the draft. You may feel they missed out in free agency, but I don’t believe it was ever their intention to go big there.

            In no way shape or form am I saying I’m happy or satisfied with our group of safeties right now. Immediate success is not something I expect from the group. But it’s not really something I expect from this team at all this year, with all the rebuilding that needs to happen. Hopefully Wolff is the first step in creating a group of guys (Philly guys) that will run the show for the next generation.

            I think we went from bad to mediocre. I don’t feel great safety play is going to make or break our team next year. It’ll take time.

          • UKEagle99

            When all is said and done, I feel they did not prioritize safety, they addressed it. As Jofrey said that may be semantics but that’s how it comes across. I feel they prioritized OLine & move-able pieces on offence (adding Casey & Ertz to Celek & Harbor. Celek & Harbor are more serviceable at their positions than Coleman & Allen in my opinion).

            As I mentioned earlier, I don’t think anyone could plug all the holes on this team in one off-season, they appear to have a plan I will reserve judgment until the product is on the field when it counts come Sept. There are so many variables that until we see what CK has installed all we can do is speculate. It is a different ball game for the D if the O is scoring every possession… we can live in hope :-)

        • xlGmanlx

          ahhh…..the “low risks” argument. The risk is the same, the expectations are different. File that next to “trade back” and take the “safer pick” line. I think they brought in players that meet their metrics to compete for a job. If you look at how many players they brought in, I would absolutely say they addressed it.

          • JofreyRice

            Low draft capital, low signing bonuses, short, “prove it” deals == Low Risk. The risk is not the same as with a guy like Dashon Goldson, it’s significantly less. Not quite sure what you mean by filing it next to “trade back” and “safer pick”?

            I never said they didn’t “address it”, clearly by signing 2 guys and drafting a third, they fit the criteria for “addressing” it. They didn’t “prioritize” it, though, which would have meant bigger risk/reward signings, and the phrasing I took exception with. You may feel it’s an argument in semantics, but I believe the language represents different concepts. I felt it needed to be prioritized, by either signing a clear cut immediate starter in FA, or investing draft capital to get one of the top 3 guys in the draft.

    • nicksaenz1

      I literally thought the exact same thing. Very hard to agree with the label “priority”.

    • FMWarner

      I think they probably would have taken a safety higher if the value was there. I think the issue here is that they know this isn’t a one-year rebuild and they weren’t as concerned about position as they were about value.

    • UKEagle99

      I’d have to agree, priority is trading back in (or back in to) the 1st and picking up Kenny Vaccaro or signing/trading a legitimate starter. This seems like they’re throwing a few bodies at the position and hoping a couple work out. To be fair though, they can’t plug every hole on the team in one off-season so I’d hope the position does get “priority” at a later date, assuming we don’t strike gold this time.

  • JofreyRice

    Josh Norris, Rotoworld’s draftnik, had an interesting writeup on Earl Wolff, whom he lists as a 3rd day Gem. I wasn’t too thrilled with the Wolff pick, but I like Norris’ takes and he presents his evaluation pretty well.

    http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/cfb/43289/321/third-day-gems-s-earl-wolff

    -snip-

    “His best work is in zone, since Wolff is very aware of his positioning in short to intermediate passing lanes. On numerous occasions I saw Wolff keep himself on a string and watch the quarterback’s eyes to stay in front of an intended receiver and force a second or third read. The Wolfpack safety’s lateral recovery speed is much better than when tested vertically, but Wolff understands the shortest distance between two spots is a straight-line and that is evident when he undercuts passes by locking on to the catch point.”

    • Richard Colton

      He goes on to project Wolff as an eventual starter, rather than just a STs guy.

      I have my own preferred candidate. His name is “Not Kurtcoleman”

      • xlGmanlx

        Based on what I was reading, it seems like the W9 forced these guys out of their strengths in favor of run support. I’m one of the biggest non-fans of KC/Allen but maybe the new scheme might be able to squeeze whatever talent they posses out better than mashing round peg into square hole.

  • Absecon

    I think some of you overlook the
    effect of the coaching staff, scheme (wide 9 disaster for safeties due to run
    responsibilities), and two corners with reportedly poor attitudes. Allen and
    Coleman both bit way too much due to the check the run-first deal they were
    given. Do you really think they would go for so many play actions if it wasn’t
    set up by design? It was so often that it was clear there was a schematic
    reason. That was a dysfunctional unit because the corners sucked and the
    coaches put the safeties in position to fail. The scheme created
    confusion…and not for the offense! Allen and Coleman may not be on the verge
    of All-Pro, but they are not as bad as the recent past. I think Allen can be a
    quality starter and Coleman a quality back-up. Why do you think they are still
    here and given a chance to compete for a job? After Allen’s knee injury his rookie year the wide 9 started…what a coincidence…that’s when the trouble started with the secondary. Seems like there are some short memories around here….

  • Philly0312

    Since we are using ProFootballFocus to bash Nate Allen for last season, lets remember that the year prior (2011), Nate Allen was the 16th ranked safety out of 87, and 13th among safeties who actually played 60 percent or more of the snaps that season. That’s actually pretty good. The guy can move, had some tackling issues, etc. But there is a reason he is running with the starters – because he likely is one of our best two safeties, regardless of last years poor performances, which were a combination of scheme, crappy corners, a team that gave up, and some poor play. I would be amazed if Wolfe started – Chung was 38th last year out of 87 safeties, and played over 50% of the patriots snaps. He was 36th the year before out of 87. He was 33rd out of 85 in 2010. That isn’t horrible. A better system, with CBs who haven’t given up and a little more pressure on the QB should go a long way to making the safeties look a bit better this year. Still wish we had Mikell though. He ranked as the #1 safety by PFF 2 outta the last 5 years, and top 10 4 outta 5. Stupid not resigning him.

    • JofreyRice

      Yes, but let’s drill down that rating a little. Allen posted very good ratings with PFF in that infamous last 4 games that Lurie himself characterized as “fool’s gold”. They played backup quality QB’s in that stretch: Mark Sanchez, Rex Grossinterception, Stephen McGee and J.P. Losman/Matt Moore. Don’t forget, that 2011 season also had the Patriots game where Tom Brady fish-filleted Allen on multiple plays.

      Look at his performance through week 13, it’s a -2.9, which is about the best year he’s had as a not quite average starter. Those last 4 games helped him boost that to a +5.8. We saw how meaningful that win-streak at the end of the ’11 season was for the defense. The optimism of that streak led to Castillo & Reid sticking around for the trainwreck of ’12.

      • Philly0312

        Can’t disagree there – didn’t think to double check it by week. That said, he wasn’t horrendous the first 4 weeks last year against some good teams. Once things started to go south after starting 3-1, so did his “play”. On the brighter side, Phillips had a 7.4 last season, and the Gmen were 4-1 when he started – so I figure I’ll be less worried about it in this system than I was in the previous system. I think it is a fair statement to say that Allen and Coleman were not as bad as they looked last year, and at worst are decent reserve safeties this year – and Allen does have the physical tools to be a top 20 safety. Here’s hoping he does – great breakdown.

        • JofreyRice

          Oh, I do think it’s fair to say that they were as bad as they looked, despite specific weeks where they didn’t grade out horribly. I think the entire defense is worse when those two guys are on the field at the same time, but I admire your optimism, and hope they can be decent reserves. I do agree that Allen’s got all the requisite physical tools.

          Phillips is the one slam-dunk guy they have–but the health of his knee is the real question mark.

          • UKEagle99

            Surely defensive line play has to factor as well? I don’t have access to PFF but the 2011 line produced pressure and sacks in spades, that’s got to help the back end. The 2012 version produced… several coaching changes.

          • Absecon

            These guys like to pretend that the rest of the defense and coaching didn’t matter the past two years…

  • xlGmanlx

    Quintin Demps is now a KC Chief

  • UKEagle99

    I think Kurt Coleman is a starter come week 1…. Let me clarify, I think part of Kurt Coleman should start week 1, he should donate his knees to Phillips.

  • BrickSquadMonopoly

    Does any1 think Nate Allen is getting a little bit of a pass?