Head coach Andy Reid declared rookie free safety Nate Allen out for Monday night's game against the Redskins on Saturday. That means another rookie, Kurt Coleman, will make his first career start.
Coleman will become the third rookie to start on the defensive side of the ball this season along with Allen and defensive end Brandon Graham. Three other rookies, defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, cornerback Trevard Lindley and linebacker Keenan Clayton, have chipped in on defense as well. Reid said that the defense has not experienced any sort of significant dropoff because general manager Howie Roseman and director of player personnel Ryan Grigson targeted not just good football players in the draft, but smart football players as well.
"I know one of the things Howie really focused on was bringing in guys that not only were good football players, but were smart kids. In particular, knowing that they might have an opportunity to get in there quickly and I think that's helped," Reid said. "I think, collectively, the personnel; I would give credit to that group. The scouts were going out and doing what they did. Howie kind of set the parameters for them. Ryan Grigson and his crew went out and found that type of guy."
Coleman said that one reason this year's rookie class bonded was because so many of the players were on the defensive side of the ball. Nine of the league-high 13 draft picks were spent on the defense. Coleman also noted that the rookies have had a business-like demeanor from the start. A lot of the veterans have noted the maturity of the rookies. For his part, defensive coordinator Sean McDermott went back to the basics which helped the learning process for the rookies.
"He didn't start where we left off last year. He went back and made sure that we could rush four defensive linemen, play Cover 2, play Cover 3; just the basic fundamentals of all those coverages," Reid said. "Then he gradually built on that. That wasn't necessarily the case on the offensive side. We didn't have quite as many new faces there."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 3:45 p.m., November 13