Philadelphia Eagles safety Nate Allen got off to a strong start in his rookie season but has since tailed off due to injury and inconsistent play on the field. This is going to be a big year for Allen. He needs to prove that he can not only stay healthy but remain consistent and not give up the big play as he did far too many times last season.
One thing Allen has going in his favor is he is playing in a new scheme. The defensive scheme that new defensive coordinator Billy Davis will employ should be much more safety-friendly as it minimizes the safety’s run responsibilities and keeps them focused on the pass play.
Hopefully, the running theme of the safety biting hard on a play action fake and letting a wide receiver or tight end get behind the defense is over, as now Allen and his teammates can focus on the deep half of the field and helping out the corners.
The Eagles and GM Howie Roseman were high enough on Allen to use an early second-round pick on him in the 2010 draft. He followed that up with a strong rookie showing that displayed both his hitting skills and coverage awareness. Since that season, whether it be injury or lack of consistency, Allen has not found his play from week to week.
The regime is now different from the one that drafted Allen. Chip Kelly is going to need to see the kid make big strides for him to be a starter at free safety again this season and perhaps to even make the team. Everyone previously on the roster has to re-prove themselves to coach Kelly. Allen certainly falls into that category.
He has all the physical tools and mental makeup to be a very effective safety in Davis’ scheme. He just has to stay healthy and put it all together.