Safety has long been a frustrating position to watch on the Eagles roster as Andy Reid and Howie Roseman have failed to find adequate replacements for Brian Dawkins and Quentin Mikell. Former second round pick Nate Allen is a bust, Kurt Coleman is physically over-matched on the field, and Jaiquawn Jarrett was so bad that he didn’t even make the roster just one year after the Eagles took him in the second round of the draft.
Roseman and Chip Kelly had no choice but to upgrade the position in free agency. Let’s meet the new faces at the safety position:
Who makes the team:
Nate Allen, Colt Anderson, Patrick Chung, Kenny Phillips, Earl Wolff
Phillips, Chung, and Allen are running as the team’s top three safeties and all are virtual locks to make the team. Wolff’s roster spot is also relatively safe as a fifth round rookie. The final spot goes to Anderson because he’s such a valuable special teams player. He also acquitted himself somewhat decently in spot duty at the tail end of 2012.
Who starts week 1:
Patrick Chung and Kenny Phillips
As the big money free agent addition, Chung will start. The other spot will go to either Nate Allen or Kenny Phillips. Phillips has battled some tough injuries recently, but he’s still a far superior player to Allen. Eagles fans should pray that Phillips wins the job.
How the position stacks up:
Give the Eagles credit for investing resources in the position, but none of the offseason additions are anything more than stopgap solutions. Chung is a talented player who can hit, but he couldn’t always get on the field for the Patriots’ porous secondary. He’s far from a Pro Bowler. Phillips could be the best player in the Eagles’ secondary as he was a premier center field safety with the Giants. Jason Witten once admitted that the Cowboys don’t throw deep when Phillips roams the middle of the field. The issue, however, is health with the former first round pick. The Eagles have good depth in Nate Allen and will get special teams production from Colt Anderson and Earl Wolff. The Eagles are clearly better off than they were a year ago, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that the Eagles have solved their woes at the position for good. Safety is still a weakness on the roster.