The Eagles' faith in Kurt Coleman is obvious. All season long, Coleman has been the only backup safety on the roster. For a rookie seventh-round pick to be trusted with being the primary backup for two key defensive positions is a heavy responsibility. Today, we found out why the Eagles trust Coleman so much.
Subbing in at free safety - he's actually a natural strong safety - for Nate Allen, who left in the second quarter with a neck strain, Coleman teamed with Quintin Mikell to anchor the secondary against the vaunted Peyton Manning. It seemed like the defense didn't miss a step.
"Kurt Coleman coming in and replacing (Allen), I'm proud of him for the job he did," said head coach Andy Reid.
And if you ask Coleman's partner at safety, Coleman's performance was all the more impressive considering that he got so few reps during the week.
"Kurt didn't get any reps this week and he stepped in and played great," Mikell said.
"I think the backup job is one of the most underrated job in the NFL," said Coleman. "You don't get any reps, but everything's mental. Every time I'm out there in practice I'm talking with the coaches, I'm going through it in my head so when it is my chance I'm able to perform out there."
Coleman thought he acclimated himself well.
"I thought I did a good job. I prepared throughout the week as if I was going to play. I followed the game plan and just played my style of football - aggressive when the ball came my way and I had a good time out there."
It wasn't all great for Coleman though. Late in the second quarter, Coleman was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty for hitting Colts wide receiver Austin Collie, deemed to be a "defenseless receiver." While the call was questionable - it looked like Collie caught the ball, took two steps, lowered his head to brace for contact and was then pinballed from Mikell to Coleman - the concern was for Collie, who lay on the ground motionless.
And while Collie was able to retain movement following the game, it was a scary déjà vu for Coleman. As a freshman at Ohio State, Coleman's teammate Tyson Gentry was paralyzed after a seemingly innocuous practice tackle by Coleman.
"I prayed for (Collie)," said Coleman. "You don't play this game of football to see people go down like that. It's tough to see but it is the game of football and freak accidents like that do happen."
"It's football. I have to erase that play and go to the next one. They were in the redzone and they were going in for the score, so I had to get back in there and move on to the next play. You have to move on, because there are a lot of plays in the game. So, you can't dwell on that one play, whether it's good or bad,. You have to move to the next play and move on."
Long-term, Allen is day-to-day with the neck strain and will have an MRI tomorrow. But Sunday, Coleman rewarded the Eagles for their confidence in him. Coleman was, as the defense likes to say, "one-of-11" on a defense that held Manning to a 65.7 quarterback rating. A pretty impressive debut for the seventh-rounder.
"It was exciting," Coleman said. "You play this game of football to go against the best and (Manning) is certainly the best. It's something I'll be able to cherish the rest of my life."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 11:33 p.m., November 7