Ever since the preseason finale when Kurt Coleman returned two fumbles for touchdowns against the Jets, it was obvious that the safety was not going to be an ordinary seventh-round draft pick.
Coleman had the pedigree of a first-round pick as he was a first-team All-America as a senior and a team captain at Ohio State. Coleman has been active for every game this season and made his first-career start in the Monday night blowout at Washington. In that game, Coleman recorded his first-career interception.
Last Sunday, Coleman ensconced himself into the starting lineup as Nate Allen, also a rookie, ruptured his patellar tendon and is done for the season. Coleman matched his season-high with four tackles against the Giants and added two QB hurries as well as a pass knockdown. For the season, Coleman has 20 tackles on defense and another 12 on special teams. The experience Coleman gained throughout the season has made his transition into the starting lineup that much easier.
"The more reps you get on the field is obviously going to be better for you," Coleman said on Wednesday. "I have a start under my belt. I know what it takes to go out there and perform well. Now, it's just about me executing the game plan and being comfortable in what they ask me to do. I think I will be. I think it will be a good game for me."
The Eagles host the Vikings on Sunday night. A win secures the Eagles their first NFC East division title since 2006. Coleman said that he's not getting caught up in the magnitude of the games on the horizon. That should come as no surprise as he played in the BCS National Championship game as a freshman at Ohio State.
"I don't see it as something too big, too great for me to handle," Coleman said. "I'm going to go out there and play within the scheme, have a lot of fun out there and do what I do."
Strong safety Quintin Mikell has become accustomed to starting alongside rookies. Last season, it was Macho Harris. This year, it was Allen and now Coleman. But Coleman has impressed Mikell and earned the veteran's confidence.
"He's always been a guy from the beginning of the year I could see that he could make plays," Mikell said. "I keep saying he's a football player. He's going to come out there and work hard. He knows where he's supposed to be. You saw that in the game on Sunday. I think he's going to do a good job."
The question now is who will start at quarterback for the Vikings. Will it be Brett Favre, who looks unlikely to play after suffering a concussion on Monday night against the Bears? Or will it be rookie Joe Webb? Coleman is not concerned as the Eagles are preparing for both.
"They're both good QBs. They're there for a reason," Coleman said. "We have to be able to play our game plan, bottom line. If we can't execute what we do, whatever they try to throw out there is not going to matter."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 2:35 p.m., December 22