If Nate Allen is tired of being asked questions about the knee he injured in his rookie season of 2010, he doesn't show it.
It was the Miracle at the New Meadowlands for the Eagles back on December 19, 2010, but for Allen it was the start of a long recovery process when he ruptured his patellar tendon. A productive rookie season was over and questions about the future began.
Last year, Allen was on the field for the start of training camp, but he wasn't 100 percent. Allen didn't have the offseason to practice, but more importantly he didn't have the team facilities at his disposal for rehab. The Eagles tabbed veteran Jarrad Page to start the season, but Page's struggles forced Allen back into the lineup.
The Eagles saw glimpses of the talent that made Allen the team's second-round pick in 2010. Against Buffalo, Allen had a career-best 13 tackles and was arguably the team's best defensive player that afternoon. Allen also played well down the stretch during the team's four-game win streak when he became more and more comfortable with the knee.
Allen finished 2011 with 76 tackles and two interceptions. Fully healthy with a few pounds of muscle added this offseason, Allen looks to build upon the momentum generated at the end of 2011.
"It's good to be out here with the guys and finally be able to continue to build this chemistry," Allen said. "When we get into training camp and the first couple of games, we can hit the ground running."
While the safety positions are interchangeable, Allen said he is primarily the strong safety in coordinator Juan Castillo's defense. Allen believes that he and his good friend, Kurt Coleman, can be "one of the best" safety tandems in the league.
"We have a lot of confidence in each other," Allen said. "We feel good playing together and we feel good playing with the guys around us."
There should be added confidence from the fact that Castillo has a full year under his belt as the coordinator. The Eagles also added veteran secondary coach Todd Bowles this offseason. Allen said that Bowles has helped the team "see the game in a whole new light." Bowles wants to keep things simple so the team can take advantage of its athleticism.
Without hesitation when asked, Allen "definitely" expects a much more aggressive approach from Castillo this year with the intent to generate more turnovers.
"We're just trying to use our athletic ability and we like what we're doing so far," Allen said.
This is a crucial year for Allen. With a full offseason with the team and another year removed from the injury, the Eagles expect to see Allen turn into a consistent playmaker. Fans called for the team to make a move at safety this offseason, but the team wants to see what it has in Allen, Coleman and last year's second-round pick Jaiquawn Jarrett.
"I'm just going to play my game and not worry about what the media is saying or what the fans are saying and just go out and help the team however I can and try and make as many big plays as I can," Allen said.
And after a few more big plays, questions about the knee and its impact on Allen's game can finally disappear.
Make sure to follow us on Twitter @EaglesInsider