Now that the QB competition is over, we need to have a Safety competition. I need Dr. Bama, Les, Roob, Jeff and Geoff to start badgering Chip Kelly with questions about whether waiting this long to name a starter opposite of Patrick Chung is bad for the team. I need Warren Sapp to jump on his soapbox and demand that Kelly pick a starter now. I need Jason La Canfora to declare that Kelly’s failure to name a starting Safety is the clearest evidence yet that Kelly has no idea what he’s doing and should not only be fired, but arrested and sent to Siberia, since they don’t understand Safeties either.
For the love of god, someone get DeSean on the horn and find out if not knowing who will start at Safety is holding back the offense. Or the defense.
I kid, I kid.
Sadly, while there were 2 good options at QB, the pickings at Safety are much less…mega-awesome. Neither Nate Allen nor Earl Wolff has played so well this summer that you feel compelled to get them on the field. The simple case for Nate is that he’s got experience. The simple case for Earl is that he’s more physical.
You can argue for both players based on that. Chung is more of a physical Safety, so going with the better cover guy makes some sense. Or you can look at good defenses and see that there is room for 2 tough, physical players. The Steelers do okay with Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu, neither of whom is a classic cover DB.
Nate hasn’t made many mistakes this summer. He’s been good in coverage. Earl has been solid as well, but is the better tackler. I would probably err on the side of caution and go with the veteran player. See if the new defense brings out the best in him. Mix Wolff in on STs and let him adjust to the speed of the game. The tempo increases from August to September. Rookies have to adjust with it.
Remember that Brian Dawkins started off as a backup to…Eric Zomalt. That didn’t last long. Zomalt struggled and Dawkins was ready when he got the call to play.
In this PE.com video, Wolff says he’s talked to Dawk. I love the fact that Dawk told Wolff to work on his eyes. A Safety must know where to look before the snap and then during the play. So much happens on a football field that it can be overwhelming. A good player sees everything and is able to anticipate some things. This requires preparation (tape study), but also the ability to see things clearly.
Wolff could have talked about wanting to hit like Dawk. He could have talked about being a fiery player. Instead, the thing that stuck with him was practical advice about improving his field vision and knowing what to look for. I don’t think CJ Gaddis would have given us the same answer. Wolff played a ton of snaps at NC State. He’s got size and good athleticism. He can be a good starting DB, but he’s not so gifted he can just rely on pure ability. Wolff needs to be smart and to play smart. I’m encouraged by what I’m hearing.
It will be interesting to see how Nate and Earl respond on Thursday night. Both players have a lot on the line. We need one of them to step up and win the job.
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Question for you guys…would you prefer a S who can make coverage plays or a big guy who can be an impact run defender? Chung is somewhat of a good run defender, but some fans always want more of those guys.
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Jimmy Bama offers his breathtakingly brilliant analysis on the Eagles early season schedule and whether the cluster of games in a short time hurts or helps the team. I’ll wait for the results of the games to offer my analysis.