If you don’t already know, Nate Allen will be unable to play this Monday against the Redskins, so rookie Kurt Coleman will get the start in his place.
Coleman was able to see a pretty good amount of time on the field against the Colts in relief of Allen and did a pretty good job. However, it’s going to be a different situation with him expected to play all four quarters for the Eagles this week.
In the preseason, Coleman was one of the Eagles who really stood out. He originally made his mark by throwing his body around and making some big hits, and highlighted his preseason efforts by recording two touchdowns against the Jets.
Again, this is going to be a completely different situation for him as he’ll be running against a first team offense in a regular season game.
Coleman will have a few advantages in his first start. For one, he’s pretty much known he’d be the starter since the Colts game ended. He’s going against a quarterback the Eagles know very well and was already able to witness this team first hand earlier in the season.
As mentioned, Donovan McNabb is no stranger to the Eagles. They know his strengths. One of which is throwing the ball down field. The most important job any safety has is not letting people get behind them. With a strong-armed quarterback like McNabb, this will be crucial for Coleman. I’d much rather see him let up a 20 yard reception where he keeps the play in front of him, rather then a 60 yard touchdown where he gets burnt.
Another thing Coleman will have to keep an eye on is Redskins tight end Chris Cooley. Covering the tight end is something the Eagles have continually had a problem with and Cooley is one of the better tight ends in the league.
Cooley has always been good at releasing off the line and finding a seam in the middle of the field. If a linebacker gets beat by Cooley on Monday, Coleman is going to have to step up and make a play.
Coleman will also be responsible for providing help over the top. When the Eagles played the Titans, we saw what can happen when a corner struggles and a safety doesn’t provide good help. It makes an average receiver look like a superstar. Coleman will probably be asked to provide coverage over the top for Dimitri Patterson and needs to make sure he puts himself in the right position when asked to do so.
With Patterson making only his second start, and Coleman making his first, McNabb will look to throw that way often. Coleman has to be ready to make plays, and make McNabb pay when he throws his direction.
I’m sure that Coleman is very excited to make his first NFL start, but he needs to be focused in the secondary and play smart football. A poor outing from him could be devastating.