As the Philadelphia Eagles’ season has come and gone, most of the focus has been on the offensive success created through the system of rookie head coach Chip Kelly. The new era of Eagles football has begun, and it seems to be based around a revolutionary offense. However, lost in the hysteria and excitement over the offense is the retooling of the Eagles defense.
Despite an ugly start to the season, the defense found its bearing consistently throughout the year under Philadelphia Eagles new coordinator Billy Davis. Especially when taking into consideration that the personnel was not designed for the newly implemented 3-4 system. The defense did more than hold its own in the second half of the season. A knack for forcing costly turnovers proved especially vital for the team’s success.
There is a very limited number of defensive stand-outs on the roster. Aside from Philadlelphia Eagles outside linebacker Trent Cole, a long time Eagle who was unfamiliar to the 3-4 at the beginning of the season, nobody on the defense has a considerable reputation throughout the league. Philadelphia Eagles inside linebacker DeMeco Ryans and outside linebacker Connor Barwin were two key pieces in developing a competitive defense this past season, but the team lacks a stand-out playmaker.
The development of a solid young core of defensive linemen will not be enough to build a Super Bowl-caliber defense if other areas of need are not addressed. The top off-season priority for Philadelphia Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman should be a play-maker on defense. With glaring holes in the secondary, a safety would be the ideal position to address. The struggles at the safety position for the Eagles have been well documented since the departure of fan favorite and future Hall of Famer and former Philadelphia Eagles safety Brian Dawkins. And the safeties currently on the roster have not been particularly promising. How to find a way to fix a dismal pass defense should be the first question answered this off-season, and a play-making safety should be a viable goal to pursue.