Rejoice, children, rejoice.
In a move that hardly comes as a surprise, the Eagles have announced that sixth-round draft pick Brian Rolle has been named the starter at weakside linebacker in place of the much maligned Casey Matthews.
Perhaps even less surprising is that Nate Allen, a 2010 second-round draft pick, has been named the starter at safety in place of Kurt Coleman.
Rolle, who is undersized, is an instinctive player in who has shown good pass coverage abilities. In fact, he’s made the only positive notable play by an Eagles linebacker this season. On a second-and-two from the Philadelphia 32-yard line, Eli Manning floated a pass downfield to fullback Henry Hynoski that would have gone for a big gain, but Rolle made a tremendous play, forcing an incompletion.
As for Coleman, he dug his own grave when he brutally whiffed on the first Cruz touchdown.
While you can certainly kill the Eagles for leaving obvious holes in their defense unfilled (and I have), you at least have to applaud their urgency as they tinker with the unit in search of the right mix.
The hope here is that Allen will be the first of the Eagles’ early-round draft picks over the last two years to step on the field and produce in 2011. Injuries have slowed Allen and last year’s first-round pick Brandon Graham, while general ineptitude has prevented the Eagles’ first two picks of past April’s draft, Danny Watkins and Jaiquawn Jarrett, from seeing the field.
My guess is that Jarrett will be tabbed shortly if Jarrad Page doesn’t begin to make some plays.