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?
When Chip Kelly was hired, Ron Jaworski decided to sit down and study tape of five or six Oregon games.
Last week, he looked at a couple more. And the former Eagles quarterback just doesn’t see Kelly’s concepts translating to the NFL.
“It’s going to be interesting to see if this style of offense projects to the NFL,” Jaws said during an interview with Harry Mayes and Nick Kayal on 97.5 The Fanatic earlier this week. “I’m going to say no.”
The Eagles have been working towards making significant changes to Lincoln Financial Field for some time. On Tuesday, the project was backed by the NFL.
“We are excited to have received league support today for our stadium revitalization project at Lincoln Financial Field,” said Eagles President Don Smolenski in a statement.
Brandon Graham looked comfortable on the first snap.
He stood up on the right side next to Trent Cole, who was at defensive end, and rushed the passer off the edge.
The next play, however, required something different. Graham found himself matched up against Jason Avant on the left side. Seconds after the ball was snapped, the converted outside linebacker was chasing the veteran slot receiver from behind. Nick Foles’ pass landed in Avant’s hands for a 40-yard touchdown.
On the third snap, Graham was back again on the right side. But this time, instead of rushing the passer, he matched up in coverage against the running back, and the ball wasn’t thrown his way.
In addition to learning their responsibilities in the base defense, Graham and Connor Barwin are also adjusting to a variety of tasks in the Eagles’ 3-3-5 nickel package.
The quarterbacks were at the far end of the field, going through mobility drills while the special team units got some work in on the main stretch of grass. The song booming from the giant speakers at this moment was “Electric Feel (Justice Remix)” by MGMT, a techno-ey dance joint. And there was Matt Barkley, bobbing along to the beat in between reps.
“You have to have a groove out there,” Barkley said with a smile.
Given that it’s just the second week, the rookie seems to be pretty loose and comfortable in his surroundings.
The running diary seemed to work out the first time, so let’s try it again, shall we? Below is what I saw/heard/observed during Monday’s Eagles practice, the second one this offseason that was open to the media.
Before Chip Kelly‘s frenetic practices take off, the quarterbacks are given a general idea of what team they will be running with and how often. But they won’t know for sure until quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor calls out their name over the music during the live sessions.
On Monday, it was Foles who had his number called the most to run with the ones.
By Sheil’s count, there were five “team” periods at practice, as OTAs continued at the NovaCare Complex. Foles manned the first team for three of them, and Michael Vick the other two. Last week when the media was able to watch, Vick appeared to get a little more of the workload.
Kelly promised a quarterback competition, and so far this has the looks of one.
The 24-year-old back was seen working off on the side in the later portion of practice and getting stretched out by the training staff. He told a couple of reporters afterwards that his knee was bothering him.
Jason Peters, Cary Williams, Patrick Chung, Fletcher Cox and offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland all missed practice, as weather interfered with their travel plans.
Williams, who was recently married, was absent last week as well. Curtis Marsh got first-team reps opposite Bradley Fletcher in Williams’ place.
With Chung out of the picture, Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen were the first-team safeties.
The Eagles made a roster move today, releasing running back Miguel Maysonet and signing Youngstown State tight end Will Shaw.
Maysonet (5-9, 209) played his college ball at Stony Brook, piling up 1,964 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior. His only chance to make an impression was during the Eagles’ rookie camp right after the draft, and apparently, Maysonet didn’t do enough to impress. He did not participate in last week’s OTAs because of the NCAA’s graduation rule.
Shaw (6-3, 245) started his career as a safety, but then moved over to linebacker, according to Youngstown State’s student newspaper. He made the switch to tight end in 2011 and caught 35 passes for 429 yards and five touchdowns last year.