Aug 23, 2011, 1:35 PM EDT
As we touched on very briefly yesterday, the Eagles haven’t budged on their linebacker situation, although another spot on defense could be up for grabs.
Nate Allen had a noticeably disappointing showing against the Steelers last week, prompting doubts over whether he is fully recovered from the ruptured patellar tendon that ended his rookie season. The USF product puts himself somewhere between “90, 95 percent,” but he looked nothing like the promising young player the Birds drafted in the second round.
Meanwhile, yet another of the unheralded free agent signings could be taking his place. Jarrad Page, who spent last season with the Patriots, and the previous four with Kansas City, has been splitting the first team snaps with Allen in practice this week, in a situation somewhat reminiscent of the one that is giving a rookie center the chance to start this week.
The silver lining in all of this is, once again, the Eagles were prepared if Allen’s recovery came along slow. Page was a three-year starter for the Chiefs, but was not retained after suffering a season-ending calf injury in ’09. New England picked up the former seventh round pick, who appeared in 10 games last season, making one start and intercepting two passes. His career totals include 12 interceptions and four forced fumbles.
However, even though the club appears to be set on the depth chart, this is still a bit of a bad news. Allen looked much further away than 90% last Thursday, even if it was only one tough night. The Eagles have plenty invested in Allen, selecting him with the second round pick they obtained for Donovan McNabb last year, passing on Seattle’s Earl Thomas earlier in the draft.
All indications are Allen is expected to make a full recovery, but any hope of him having a breakthrough sophomore campaign might be fading–and all but finished if he is relegated to reserve status.
Speaking of second round picks, Temple’s Jaiquawn Jarrett doesn’t appear to be in the mix for a starting job this season. Last year’s seventh rounder Kurt Coleman is holding down the other safety position for now, and according to Bleeding Green Nation, actually is growing into a leadership role in the secondary.
We’ve remarked in the past that safety is one of those positions where you don’t necessarily need a Hall of Famer, so a duo featuring Coleman and Page is probably competent enough. That said, the bench is not where you want to see a pair of second rounders, particularly as a result of an injury. Here’s hoping the setback performance was a one-off, and Nate Allen is really as close as he says.
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