Nate Allen or Earl Wolff as Philadelphia Eagles' Starting Safety?

By Sonny Bryan
Nate Allen
Howard Smith- USA TODAY Sports

As we all know, the Philadelphia Eagles have had huge problems at safety ever since the departure of Brian Dawkins. They have used nearly seven different safeties since 2008 and just can’t seem to find any consistency at that position.

Well this offseason the Eagles went out and decided to spend money on some safeties to see if they can find a player that can immediately come in and contribute. They went out and brought in former New England Patriot Patrick Chung and former New York Giant Kenny Phillips. The expectations for both of these guys were very low when they were initially brought in since Chung was very inconsistent with his time with the Patriots and Phillips simply could not stay healthy when he was with the Giants. Well the Eagles cut Phillips because he clearly wasn’t 100 percent and couldn’t adapt to the Eagles’ defense. On the other hand, Chung actually has been the Eagles’ most consistent safety which is why he will sit the last preseason game and start Week 1 against the Washington Redskins.

However, the Eagles are still trying to find that player who gives them the best chance to win to play opposite of Chung. It simply comes down to the three-year vet Nate Allen and the rookie out of NC State Earl Wolff. Both of these players have had their ups and downs throughout training camp and the preseason so they have been pretty erratic thus far.

Allen has not been a fan favorite during his years with the Eagles, and this may be his last year here if he doesn’t step up his game. The fact that he will play tonight against the New York Jets in their preseason finale shows that defensive coordinator Billy Davis wants to see more out of him since he hasn’t impressed anyone. However, Allen will be competing with a rookie who has been having problems of his own as well.

Wolff seems to be the popular pick by the fans to start at safety simply because fans are sick and tired of the Allen and Kurt Coleman combo from a season ago. Oh yeah, and his name sounds cool. However, Wolff has a tendency to be overly aggressive at times. When Wolff tries to come up and make a hit on the ball carrier he over-pursues and sometimes pathetically misses the tackle. For example, in the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars when Jordan Todman had that 62-yard touchdown run, you can see that Wolff took a horrible angle when trying to make the hit and resulted in a missed tackle that Todman was able to capitalize on. Wolff did this quite a few times in his days at NC State which is something that will get him in trouble in the NFL.

That one play will definitely be on Davis’ mind moving forward. If Wolff has his problem with tackling then maybe it’s best for the Eagles to start Allen over Wolff, even though Allen has had his fair share of missed tackles the past two seasons. I think Wolff is a great athlete that has a lot of potential in this league and may very well start this season, but I don’t think this is the time. It might be best for the team to put Allen at safety, and if he struggles then throw in Wolff and see what he can do.

Wolff can definitely help this team, whether it’s on special teams or in the secondary. He is a young safety that can do a little bit of everything, but if he doesn’t improve in the last preseason game thwn maybe Allen will be the Eagles’ best option, for now.

Sonny Bryan is a Philadelphia Eagles writer for Follow him on Twitter @SonnyBryan50

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