Quintin Mikell was the only stable part of the safety position for the Eagles in 2009. He had to adjust to playing with rookie Macho Harris, second-year man Quintin Demps and free agent addition Sean Jones. This past offseason, the Eagles paired Mikell with a veteran in Marlin Jackson. Unfortunately, an injury ended Jackson's season before camp.
Now, Mikell is teaming up with another rookie in second-round pick Nate Allen. But to see Mikell's play in training camp, it's evident he's very comfortable and already trusts his new tag-team partner.
"Nate's a very smart guy. He knows everything. He's smart. It's good to see that. It's made me more relaxed," Mikell said. "I think one of the biggest things is that he's humble. That's an underrated aspect, just having the humility to come in and learn. He came in the right way and learned. I don't have to worry about him not knowing, but if he doesn't know he'll ask."
Mikell made the Pro Bowl last year for the first time - although Mikell admits as an alternate - after leading the team in tackles with 122 and adding a pair of picks. But overall, Mikell said that the season was a "learning experience" getting adjusted to not having Brian Dawkins next to him.
"I put too much on my shoulders. I tried to be too much like Dawk," Mikell said. "I'm just going back to being myself and playing ball."
One of the reasons for the potential of a smooth transition from the college to the pro game for Allen is the fact that he played safety all four years at South Florida. Harris was a college cornerback and Demps spent time at both positions.
"For some reason across the league, people think you can just bring a corner in and make him play safety," Mikell said. "Maybe a corner who's been playing in the league for a while, that's different. It's a big step to go from corner to safety. If you say, 'Drop to the Cover 2.' He'll know. I think that's probably the biggest difference."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 1:00 p.m., August 3