The 2014 NFL offseason has begun for the Eagles, which means Chip Kelly and his staff will spend the next couple of weeks evaluating the 2013 roster. While the team was able to manage a 10-6 record along with an NFC East crown, there are still many ways the Eagles roster could be improved upon. By the time NFL free agency starts on March 11, the Eagles will have a good idea of which players they'll want to bring back for the 2014 season. Today we'll continue this offseason review series by looking at the S-s-s-s A-a-a-a F-f-f-f E-e-e-e T-t-t-t Y-y-y-y position.
Stats: 1126 snaps, 1 penalty, 1 sack, 5 QB hurries, 67 tackles, 14 assisted, 7 missed tackles, 13 stops, 1 interception, 2 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble
Review: Allen was hardly a play-maker in his fourth season but he played consistently solid after a real rough start to the year. Allen wasn't shy to note he didn't miss playing behind the Eagles former defensive line front, the Wide-Nine. Allen's role in Bill Davis' defense is much simpler and it made his job a lot easier. The result was a solid performance from Allen. Allen held his own in coverage and tackled really well.
Stats: 741 snaps, 2 penalties, 3 QB hurries, 44 tacklse, 8 assisted, 11 missed tackles, 7 stops, 3 passes defensed, 1 fumble recovery
Review: The much-malgined Patrick Chung was a favorite target for angry Eagles fans. Chung struggled in coverage and missed tackles. He also had a hard time staying healthy, and too often he accidentally hit his own teammates instead of the opposing players. The Eagles liked having the option of lining Chung up as a nickel CB in certain packages. It's near the line of scrimmage where Chung seemed to struggle the least.
Stats: 538 snaps, 0 penalties, 2 QB hits, 3 QB hurries, 36 tackles, 9 assisted, 4 missed tackles, 6 stops, 1 interception, 1 pass defensed
Review: Earl Wolff was a pleasant surprise for the Eagles. The fifth round rookie safety took over for an injured Patrick Chung and proved to be a solid player. Unfortunately for the young defense back, Wolff suffered a knee injury in Week 10 against the Packers that essentially held him out for the rest of the year. Wolff proved to be at worst, a good third safety. It remains to be seen if he could be a top option as a full time starter.
Stats:50 snaps, 2 tackles, 1 assisted, 0 missed tackles, 1 stop,
Review: The bulk of Coleman's snaps came late in the season when Chung was struggling and Wolfff was still injured. The team lined Coleman also lined up Coleman as a cornerback on a handful of plays.Coleman did nothing to stand out on defense. His efforts came on special teams instead. Coleman finished 4th on the team in special teams tackles with 9.
Stats: 38 snaps, 1 QB hurry, 1 tackle, 4 assisted, 4 missed tackles, 0 stops, 1 pass defensed
Review: Anderson's contributions largely came on special teams, where he finished with a team-high 16 special teams tackles. 70% of Anderson's defensive snaps came in garbage time both against the Broncos and Raiders earlier in the season.
Stats: 12 snaps, 1 tackle
Review: Johnson was added to the Eagles practice squad after the Dolphins cut him in late August. The rookie safety spent most of the season on the PS before being called up to the active roster due to depth insurance in mid-December.
Who Could Leave
Nate Allen, Colt Anderson, and Kurt Coleman are all scheduled to be free agents. The Eagles will have interest in bringing Allen back but they won't break the bank to keep him. They will likely let Allen test the free agent waters and see what the market holds for him. As for Coleman and Anderson, I could see one but not both returning. Veteran safety Patrick Chung isn't a free agent but he could be cut for a saving of ~$2 million. It's hard to see Chung back given his struggles in 2013.
Who Could Sign
Everyone knows the big names: Jairus Byrd and T.J. Ward. Byrd will command top dollar and Ward might not make it to free agency if the Browns place the franchise tag on him. Donte Whitner is another big name, but will the 49ers let a starting safety walk in free agency for the second straight year after Dashon Goldson left in 2013? A mid-level target that could make sense for the Eagles is Dolphins safety Chris Clemons. Clemons is the solid yet unspectacular type of player that the Eagles targeted in 2013. The Eagles will definitely need to address the safety position in free agency.
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