Nate Allen was the Eagles' first-team free safety in today's OTA drills. The second-round rookie from South Florida, who says he knows he has a lot to learn, looked at home in coverage.
"Coming in in this defense, he's got his work cut out for him. You saw the struggles we had last year (with free agent Sean Jones, second-year-man Quintin Demps and rookie Macho Harris). At the same time, he's got the right attitude, man; he's coming in focused, he's a smart guy. He's fast, he can make plays on the ball, he's got good size," strong safety Quintin Mikell said. "The good thing is, he's listening. He's taking everything we're giving him and he's trying to apply it on the field. I have a good feeling about him."
Marlin Jackson was the free safety starter when the OTA began yesterday but he crumpled to the turf with a torn Achilles' tendon, which almost certainly ended his season and could threaten his career. Jackson suffered ACL tears in each of the last two seasons.
"I saw it on the depth chart," Allen said, when asked how he knew he'd be working with the first team today. "I just knew I had to step in and keep the tempo going ... It's a big challenge. I know I have to step my game up, and like I keep saying, not lose step with the first team, just keep it going."
For a few minutes there today, it seemed this OTA might go down as the event that crippled the 2010 Eagles defense. Middle linebacker Stewart Bradley, working back from last year's ACL tear, limped off, favoring his left leg. Bradley went inside and didn't return to practice; Joe Mays replaced him. Since free safety and middle linebacker were the Birds' biggest headaches last season, this seemed like the dawning of the apocalypse, or something very close.
But the buzz around practice was that Bradley was not seriously injured, and afterward, the Eagles announced he had tweaked a calf. Plenty of time for that to heal.
Working out inside on his own again was left guard Todd Herremans, whose pain in a left foot that was repaired last August does not SEEM to be a big deal, but until we talk to him, or maybe even until he practices on it, we won't really know that. On Twitter, Herremans has evinced little concern. Today's musing concerned the fact that his toothpaste label declared it could be poisonous if swallowed.
Eagles worked out a linebacker from Delaware County and the University of Minnesota, Simoni Lawrence, who was cut a week or so ago by the Rams after signing with them as an undrafted free agent.
The team announced the signing of sixth-round rookie RB Charles Scott, from LSU. Right now the Birds have 86 players on their 80-man roster, with a dozen more draftees to sign. Once a guy signs, he counts toward the 80-man limit. So there will be some cuts before Lehigh, unless a bunch of guys suffer serious inury.