Safety Competition

Posted: August 27th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 74 Comments »

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 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.

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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.


74 Comments on “Safety Competition”

  1. 1 Weapon Y said at 9:21 PM on August 27th, 2013:

    Kenny Phillips not panning out was such a huge blow to the defense. The least we can hope for is that this secondary isn’t so incompetent that we get used to seeing the Nnamdi-Coleman point every week.

  2. 2 GEagle said at 6:51 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Still waiting for Stella to get her “groove back”? Jk

  3. 3 ohitsdom said at 8:50 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Wolff took a terrible angle on one play, I’m not sure we can say that is his usual behavior. He certainly was upset and embarrassed by that play and said it was out of character of him. Hard to properly evaluate his angles on each play without the All-22 film though.

  4. 4 GEagle said at 9:19 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Wolff was hardly the only problem with that play.
    Too much has been made of that one play, when Nate has a history of those plays lol…Wolff has had some angle problems in college, but seems like a physical, smart, hungry kid who has a chance of figuring it out

  5. 5 the midatlantic said at 9:24 PM on August 27th, 2013:

    I’d go with the sure-tackling, run-defending Safety. Even a “good cover” Safety is not going to prevent that many more completions than the average coverage guy. Just the nature of the position.

  6. 6 bdbd20 said at 9:32 PM on August 27th, 2013:

    To answer your answer Tommy, I’ve always been on the side of the cover safety. Big hits and sure tackling are nice, but a good safety breaking on a deep ball is a thing of beauty.

    In your example, Polamalu gets the headlines, but Ryan Clark is one heck of a defender. I’d take him in his prime any day.

  7. 7 westy36 said at 9:36 PM on August 27th, 2013:

    I’d also vote cover safety because they can limit some of the better TEs in man coverage. Gives you better size than a corner and greater mobility than a linebacker.

  8. 8 Tumtum said at 11:30 PM on August 27th, 2013:

    Its a passing league. I’ll take the cover guy. I guess asking for another Dawk is just too much?

  9. 9 GEagle said at 9:36 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Dawk? I’d be happy for a quintin Mikell, Mike Lewis right about now lol

  10. 10 planetx1971 said at 11:57 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    I hear that! I’ve thought that SO many times. No doubt, even the venerable Mikell would have me comparatively ecstatic right now. Actually, I always liked him anyway….

  11. 11 Ben Hert said at 11:29 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    But what if you were Denver!?

  12. 12 westy36 said at 9:45 PM on August 27th, 2013:

    A bit off topic but did anybody else see that Wolff is rated surprisingly highly in Madden 25? 71 is a pretty generous overall for a fifth round pick unless the grade scale changed this year.

  13. 13 BlindChow said at 10:26 PM on August 27th, 2013:

    Nate Allen is rated at 69.

    In other news, Jon Dorenbos is listed as a TE this year (45 rating). They never know what to do with that poor guy.

  14. 14 D3FB said at 10:30 PM on August 27th, 2013:

    Create a magician position

  15. 15 Cafone said at 10:55 PM on August 27th, 2013:

    Dorenbos’ wife made the top 25 hottest NFL player’s wives/girlfriends list, but I guess Madden doesn’t take that into consideration.

  16. 16 goeagles55 said at 12:19 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    And they actually did a decent job with read option plays. I was a little surprised. EA Sports hasn’t been the most innovative company since they got the exclusive NFL deal.

  17. 17 westy36 said at 5:20 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    I haven’t used it much in Madden but in NCAA, the option is pretty overpowering. I could keep using the option to pick up solid to big gains. Hope its toned down a bit and easier to stop in Madden.

  18. 18 ACViking said at 10:02 PM on August 27th, 2013:

    Re: I want a safety who can give the defense another chance to stop the offense

    I spent four years playing safety. My job was never to let any opponent get behind me (a) running a pattern, (b) running after a catch, or (c) running on a non-pass play.

    So I’m wholly in favor of a safety who can accomplish all three tasks.

    As long as the safety can keep the opponent (under my 3 rules) from scoring after getting possession, that means the offense must tee it up and try again to score.

    That gives the defense more chances for a stop — and increases the likelihood that the offense will not score a TD (or maybe even a FG) based on the principle that the more plays an offense runs, the more likely it is the offense will falter.

    Too old fashion? Maybe. But it’s simple. And if executed, it works.

  19. 19 ICDogg said at 10:14 PM on August 27th, 2013:

    I think you have to have at least one safety who can cover.

  20. 20 HipDaDip said at 10:14 PM on August 27th, 2013:

    Based on what OregonDucker said in the last post, it sounds like Chip’s ideal team functions by forcing lots of turnovers. A good coverage guy might prevent big plays, but a player like Asante might be a better fit for the scheme (go read OD’s comments on that thread). I think more of an enforcer who scares the opposing receivers might force more mistakes and create turnovers that way. In general, though, I’d prefer a high risk-high reward kind of player. At least he’d be more exciting to watch on our defense than somebody who helps allow a 20 play drive down the field every time.

  21. 21 Anders said at 10:30 PM on August 27th, 2013:

    Can I vote the whole package? That was what made Dawk so special was that he was both a good cover guy (not Ed Reed like) and hard hitter (tho he would most likely be walking 15 yard flag and fine machine in todays rules)

  22. 22 ICDogg said at 10:44 PM on August 27th, 2013:

    Of course everyone wants that. The problem is, that is not available.

  23. 23 Anders said at 4:33 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    If Wolff learns the eye dicipline and proper angles, he could become that type (not on his level tho) of safety. Simply good at all phases (like Eric Weddle), but not dominating in one phase (like Ed Reed, Earl Thomas (wtf how can you be worse than DRC and NA at tackling?)).

  24. 24 GEagle said at 6:58 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    What’s this Anders? A you coming around to my “hungry like a Wolff” campaign? Lol

    Exactly why I don’t want to see Nate!!! Wolff has a chance at becoming both, so throw him in the fire and let him start learning

  25. 25 phillychuck said at 10:44 PM on August 27th, 2013:

    JImmy K’s best line of the off-season writing about Chip Kelly and his ideas about time of possession:

    “You know who holds the record for Time of Possession? Linda Blair, in The Exorcist, and look where it got her.”

  26. 26 GermanEagle said at 4:39 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    I think that line was from a guest writer, David I guess.

  27. 27 Jernst said at 10:56 PM on August 27th, 2013:

    I’m with you, tommy. Safety is a position where a simple mental error ends with a long touchdown. As much as I long for the day when Nate Allen is no longer a part of my football viewing experience, I have to go with the once promising vet that’s been solid yet unspectacular and give the promising rookie a chance to adjust.

  28. 28 Arby1 said at 11:21 PM on August 27th, 2013:

    Nate and the Wolfman for Earl Thomas, straight up.

  29. 29 Anders said at 4:33 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    You want a guy that sucks more than Coleman, Allen, DRC or NA at tackling?

  30. 30 GermanEagle said at 4:38 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    I’d take Earl Thomas over any S on our roster, any time, any day of the week.

  31. 31 Anders said at 4:44 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    I find Earl Thomas grossly overrated. For a ball hawking safety, he sure does not make many plays on balls in the air. Also he is “softer” than Nate Allen.

    Earl Thomas is more name (high draft pick and a very very good defense), than he is production. Earl Thomas is imo clearly the 4th best player in that secondary as in Sherman >Chancellor>>>>Bowner>>>>>>>>Thomas.

  32. 32 GermanEagle said at 6:15 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Trust me, Earl Thomas is certainly NOT overrated. Also how can you honestly say that he’s softer than Nate Allen. That’s blasphemy!
    Watch his latest play in the pre-season and you will see that he’s always around the ball, also making sure tackles. By the way being the 4th best player on a secondary with all pro’s and pro bowlers is not necessarily a bad thing..

  33. 33 Gary said at 11:35 PM on August 27th, 2013:

    I feel like this is Nate’s last chance to be a starter here. If Wolff starts over him at any point this season (not because of injury), I gotta think Nate is done in Philly. He might be somewhere else next year either way, with this being the last year of his rookie contract.

  34. 34 SteveH said at 11:49 PM on August 27th, 2013:

    I’ll take the mystery box, Tommy.

  35. 35 JJ_Cake said at 11:53 PM on August 27th, 2013:

    Nate, I’d rather the cover guy in this defense. Chung is physical, and isn’t the 3-4 supposed to be better at stopping the run?

    I also agree with AC, if Nate can keep the plays in front of him and stop the big play, then he’s the best guy on this roster for that spot. If he screws up or get hurt then Wolff can show us what he can do.

  36. 36 Joe Minx said at 11:54 PM on August 27th, 2013:

    Tommy, I’m still a relative newb around here so maybe this has been mentioned before, but why do you call Jimmy “Jimmy Bama?” What’s the Bama part from?

  37. 37 A_T_G said at 12:10 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    I’ll take the cover guy too. A 5-yard run becoming a 15-yard run because the safety wasn’t as physical as I’d like is frustrating, but a PBU becoming a long TD is worse.

  38. 38 GEagle said at 7:01 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Where have people gotten this impression that Wolff automatically sucks in coverage?

  39. 39 A_T_G said at 7:16 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    The question was a cover safety versus a big run stuffer. Hopefully Nate gets more comfortable in traffic and Wolffe proves sound in coverage, but the Tommy asked what if we have to choose?

  40. 40 GEagle said at 7:23 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Cover safety is just a way to excuse soft play!!…If you aren’t willing to be physical, then you should never even be allowed to display your cover skills….
    Nate Allen should have been placed in a Russian prison for a month…or ATleast a month in Wes Hopkins basement lol

  41. 41 Troy Barbieri said at 2:04 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    This is how u solve this problem, you put both players on the field at the same time next to each other… Now hear me out… There are only two possible outcomes, either one of them plays well and outright wins the job or one of them selfishly hangs the other out to dry and you point out to your team that playing within the system and being accountable are far more important than talent and u start colt Anderson after his three pick second half… Problem solved… Take a coffee break, Chip; I got this one…

  42. 42 GEagle said at 7:13 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    I prefer a Colloseum style, fight to the death approach to solve the safety competition…

  43. 43 bneshuffle said at 3:29 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Whichever player has more potential. That’s what they should be doing at QB too, but unfortunately Chip would have a mutiny on his hands if he went with Foles. Worrisome that Reid’s not the only coach to have difficulties getting a handle on this team.

  44. 44 deg0ey said at 4:01 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    I think you’ve got to go with Nate as the starter for most of the reasons that have already been said, but I’d like to see them get a bit creative. Given that we’re (relatively) okay with his coverage, he should be the best guy to put alongside Chung, but how about subbing him out for an extra ILB (or Boykin in the nickel) on short yardage situations. Let Kendricks use his athleticism to play a hybrid S/LB role. He’s better at playing the run and perfectly capable of dropping into a zone as needed.

  45. 45 GEagle said at 7:02 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    This man, COMPLETES ME!!! Lol

  46. 46 deg0ey said at 8:01 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    I’ve thought for a while that a big, fast safety/linebacker type to be the most effective way of defending the read option and MK could be that guy for the Eagles.
    As Chip has said, if teams keep two safeties deep he’ll run and if you stack the box he’ll pass. The solution is a guy that can ‘be in both places at once’. Essentially, a player that doesn’t need to line up in the box but has a long enough range to get to the QB if he starts to run.

  47. 47 GEagle said at 8:08 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    man, I love it!! I think it’s definitely ATleast worth a look

    basically, anything we can copy from the Seahawks defense, works for watching them play

  48. 48 phillychuck said at 6:18 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    The current NFL rules mandate that safeties be coverage guys. I want a decent coverage guy who is a sure tackler and is a ball hawk. Doesn’t have to be a big hitter, as I’m not emotionally prepared to deal with the flags and fines. Not that much too ask… 🙂

  49. 49 GEagle said at 6:54 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    I find the word “cover” safety appalling!!
    Our CBs can toe more physical then our Safety!
    This is exactly the problem…som where along the line we have been duped into thinking you can either have a cover safety, or a physical safety….I don’t want either!!! Physicality should be a prerequisite to play on this defense…I want the safety who WILL stick his nose in there and also not be a liability in coverage….That isn’t Nate!…It probably isn’t Wolff Today, but if you develope him he is a safety that has a chance to become both, Physical and sound in coverage…

  50. 50 GEagle said at 7:05 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    aggrivated that the dirty Seahaks found a way to Stash Tharold Simon….dirty birds!!

  51. 51 GEagle said at 7:08 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    If you can’t be physical, get the hell out of Philly!!!..
    Physicality should be a prerequisite for playing defense in this city.
    We could barely put up with a Soft corner in Assante, now I’m being asked to stomach a soft safety? Oh Hell No!! hell to the Nah!!!!

  52. 52 eagleyankfan said at 7:45 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    I’m with him. (insert Arrow up here).

  53. 53 Rage114 said at 7:37 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Safeties are like referees: the best ones are the ones you don’t notice.

    I little bit of a simplification I understand but when it comes to a player that the TV screen often cuts off, it is in many ways true.

    I would prefer Brian Dawkins but short of that, I want the player that has a better understanding of the defense and the smarter player (regardless of whether he is better at coverage or hitting). Being in the right spot is 90% of the job.

  54. 54 GEagle said at 9:23 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Disagree…We are talking about the “best” safeties right? You couldn’t not notice Dawk if you tried!!! Every single position on the field can be an impact weapon if you have the right player(which is why I despised Andy for devaluing positions)….simply not noticing our safeties is not good enough for me…It’s probably good enough when your safeties aren’t that good, but I hope we set the bar higher then that.

  55. 55 ICDogg said at 9:25 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Right now I don’t think we are going to have any safeties that are anywhere near the “best”. We have to decide which safety will stink less.

  56. 56 GEagle said at 9:28 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    However, if the rook is playing anywhere near the level of the 4th year, experienced play who probably won’t be here next year, then I hope we would go with the Rook..

    As soon as the Rook is close to Allen, he should take over. I don’t know that to be the case now, just speaking hypothetically

  57. 57 ICDogg said at 9:30 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    I think they both will get playing time and eventually, if either of them is doing the job right, one of them will wind up with the lion’s share of playing time.

  58. 58 Andy124 said at 7:53 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    In this hypothetical where we assume both players are equal overall, but with strengths in different areas, I’d take one of each. Since we already have Chung on the roster, that means you take the cover guy.

    As for Allen vs. Wolff, I’ll wait until we have more data from Thursday night and the follow-up game breakdowns before forming an opinion.

  59. 59 GEagle said at 8:12 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    A 2nd round pick, with game experience who is in his 4th year playing against fringe players in the 4th preseason game? if that doesn’t wake him up, nothing will….If Nate can’t stand out playing against fringe players, then I don’t even know what else to say…

  60. 60 eagleyankfan said at 7:58 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    You can take a skunk– dye it blue. You can put a hat and bow on it to make it pretty. You can shave it and teach it to walk backwards. The bottom line is — no matter what you do with the skunk, it’s still a skunk.
    You can say there’s competition. You can say one of the will be starter. You can put an Eagle uniform on one and trot it out there to the safety spot. Neither will be the Eagles safety we need.
    Kelly will name the starter as soon as one is good enough to be the starter. That will be in 2014 when Kelly addresses this issue.

  61. 61 ICDogg said at 9:23 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    If you remove the mercaptan-emitting scent glands from a skunk, it won’t produce a foul odor any more.

    I’m not sure what the football player equivalent of that is, but I’m sure we could come up with something.

  62. 62 GEagle said at 9:24 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    You sir have been watching too much “Amish Mafia”…:) jk

  63. 63 ICDogg said at 9:28 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Only saw that a couple of times, and nothing with skunks in it.

    One thing that a lot of people don’t know about the Amish in PA is that some of them run a lot of the puppy mills that breed dogs under deplorable conditions.

  64. 64 GEagle said at 9:29 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Just joking…Caught last nights episode..they ruined a party by putting skunk in the ventilation system..
    Finding out all types of crazy ish about the Amish…black market for selling raw milk, mushrooms…they have all types of hustles that I would have never guessed

  65. 65 ICDogg said at 9:47 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    I like the taste of raw milk better but there is a reason they had to invent pasteurization. Hell, I like the taste of raw beef too but there’s a reason you’re not supposed to eat it.

  66. 66 GEagle said at 9:52 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Never tasted it..On the show they said, that it can be deadly for normal people not used to it…They kill us with chemicals in this country..

    One thing that always stops and makes me think is, I travel a lot back and fourth between Philly and Italy…yet when we as Americans go to Italy, we taste the best food imaginable. Americans that haven’t been to Italy can’t even comprehend the type of taste I’m talking about…But what really gets me thinking is the first 3 days I’m there, it’s always tough on our stomachs because the food is so much cleaner then ours…our bodies are so used to the chemicals, that when we Eat cleaner foods, our bodies need to get used to it…That’s just crazy when you think about it…It should be the exact opposite. We should be eating clean, and our stomachs should be negatively effected when we eat Chemicals….

  67. 67 GEagle said at 8:04 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    What’s up with the LB that the Bengals cut on hard knocks? Or the big fast WR who they brought in but didn’t get any reps….FYI: watching Margus Hunt and Burfict makes me more jealous then a woman
    bengals are strong at WR and LB, so their castoffs at those positions could be worth a look…lI don’t know anything about either player, so can anyone speak on either?

  68. 68 D3FB said at 10:44 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Joe Adams got cut from the panthers. If we weren’t so deep at WR already I would’ve been interested.

  69. 69 Dell24 said at 10:37 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    Allen: 6′-1″, 210. 4.51 in 40.
    Wolff: 5′-11″, 209. 4.44 in 40.
    I like Wolff’s speed and I believe he will turn into a decent starter. Allen seems to get worse each season and has battled injuries. That said, I’d go with Allen to start the season and wait for him to either underperform or get hurt as he has shown to do, then insert Wolff. Remember, every single NFL defender in history misses tackles, it is part of the game.
    It is unfair to compare these guys to Dawk, who should be a HOF’er. Great cover/hit safety, defensive/team/spriritual/lockerroom leader/role model. He is a once in a lifetime player, similar to Reggie White’s status.

    “When Dawk hits you, you stay hit.” – J. Trotter.

  70. 70 GEagle said at 11:14 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    my real problem is I just don’t see the fire and passion in Nate, even his interviews aggrivate me…Two of the biggest question marks on the defensive side of the ball were Curry and Nate. as soon as the preseason kicked off, Curry went crazy and shut us all up. Nate is in a worse position than Curry because it’s a contract year from him and he put some horrendous stuff on film last year, yet I don’t really see any sense of urgency from Nate, and it’s frustrating…If I’m Nate Allen, I would be soo embarrassed to be playing against fringe players in a 4th preseason game…Hopefully it’s a wake up call that will get thru to Nate, but until I see some sense of urgency I will remain hopeless with him…

    at the very least, Wolff is clearly hungry, he is clearly confident, and ATleast he is still thriving to become Dawk(yes I know he probably never gets there), which means the kid is going to put in some serious work and improve..I have a hard time trying to figure out his true Ceiling but it’s exciting to see the way the young man is wired. I believe he has a chance to make it in this city…

  71. 71 Andy124 said at 11:47 AM on August 28th, 2013:

    “Wolff is clearly hungry”
    Would you say he’s hungry like a wolf?

  72. 72 GEagle said at 1:50 PM on August 28th, 2013:

    I always do… Lol

  73. 73 Dell24 said at 3:04 PM on August 29th, 2013:

    Agree on no fire/passion. I’ll be watching Nate closely. He is getting worse each year, similar to a Felix Jones scenario. Weird.

  74. 74 planetx1971 said at 12:06 AM on August 29th, 2013:

    If our safeties played the run nicely, GREAT. But in my fantasy world I’d love it if our front 7 kicked butt on the run ala 9ers to free our whole secondary up to slow down the likes of the Brady’s, Pettiness, Rodgers et al from being able to (as easily in theory carving us up). So many QB’s we need ALL hands on deck against. Maybe in a season or 2 😐