FS Nate Allen has been one of the Eagles' bright spots on defense this season, and he thinks the team's bye came at the right time. They headed in with a much-needed victory, but for the defense, the performance answered a lot of the questions that were plaguing the group through the four-game losing streak.
Allen now says the team can build off the positive game, the extra week during the bye and more continuity to become the group that everyone expected the defense to be.
"Things are settling down for us, and we are coming together as a defense," Allen told PFW. "Things are more comfortable now with me and Kurt (Coleman) back there at safety, playing together. It gives us a little more familiarity. And everyone else seems to be settling in to their positions, too. It makes it a lot easier to improve."
Coleman and Allen combined for four interceptions in their first game starting together this season, in Week Six, after Jarrad Page had started ahead of Allen the first three games. This should steady the safety play, which was uneven to start the season.
There's still a concern about the coverages the Eagles can play, and play effectively. When asked if the Eagles were a base cover-2 team, Allen said: "I don't know. We mix it up. We have a lot of things in our scheme."
The team has one of the best press-man corners in the NFL in Nnamdi Asomugha, but he struggled badly to start the season in zone and off-man coverages and has only started to come around the past two contests.
But Allen refused to blame coordinator Juan Castillo's scheme for any of the early-season troubles.
"The pieces are being used the right way. The coaches are putting us in the right spots to make plays," Allen said. "We're working to make those plays more consistently now. We're perfecting the scheme."
Allen said he paid no attention to CB Asante Samuel's disappointment over being trade bait at one point and said that "Asante knows how to take care of his business."
The question now is whether this talented but flawed Eagles defense can do the same on the field.