It has been four years since the Philadelphia Eagles made one of the most regrettable and disastrous decisions in their franchise history. Since letting Brian Dawkins walk away from the city of Philadelphia and the team which he was the face of for 13 years, the Eagles are still left searching for answers at the safety position, which he dominated as an 11-time NFL All-Pro. Although no one assumed that finding any type of comparable replacement was going to be easy, especially in the minds of the slews of fans who still hold Dawkins close to their hearts, no one expected it to be this bad.
Nate Allen was projected to be the perfect replacement. Selected in the second round, as Dawkins was, Allen was touted as the prospect who would police the secondary in Philadelphia, as No. 20 had done before. However, things didn’t turn out quite as planned for the Eagles. Allen played in only 13 games as a rookie before injuring his knee and missing the remainder of the season. Since then, he has been a minimal contributor at best, collecting a total of just two interceptions and lacking the fear setting hits which “B-Dawk” once delivered regularly on the grounds of Lincoln Financial Field.
Colt Anderson and Kurt Coleman are two others who have been brought in at an attempt to find some type of answer at the safety position. Although neither was hyped quite like Allen, neither has shown the type of performance necessary to please the Philadelphia faithful. Coleman has seen more time at the position than either of the other two and at times has brought the hard-hitting fear of the defense, which once existed, but his inconsistency has been his downfall, something that never showed during the times of Dawkins in Philadelphia.
Patrick Chung is the most recent attempt of the Eagles at making the safety position meaningful once again. Although he is the most tenured of the group, as far as games played is concerned, there is nothing in Chung’s recent past that shows anything will change for the Birds. Having yet to play a game in an Eagles jersey, Chung has a large mountain to climb just to begin to meet the expectations left at safety by Weapon X.
It seems as though a new coaching staff, new players and new expectations have changed many things around Philadelphia, but the safety position is not one of them.
Four years from now, Dawkins will be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and will for sure be a first ballot selection. The question that stands is, at that time — eight years after his departure from Philadelphia — will the Eagles still be left searching for his replacement?