Whether it was the personnel, Chip Kelly, Bill Davis or all three, the Eagles' secondary was the team's (biggest) undoing during the last three seasons as the Eagles regressed from NFC East champs to a rebuilding squad.
But in the NFL, a rebuild can't take three or four long and drawn-out seasons (ahem,76ers), so the Eagles have slapped together a lot of new faces with hopes they can contend again quickly.
This year's secondary — on paper — appears to have potential.
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"We want to build something great here and you see glimpses of it in practice," safety Rodney McLeod, a former Ram, said."As a secondary, everybody is competing, getting their hands on the ball — and that's what you want as a unit."
The Eagles, thanks to some slick moves from Howie Roseman, sent overpriced Kelly acquisition Byron Maxwell packing to Miami. The move opened cap space and helped the Eagles move into position to trade for the second overall pick and select Carson Wentz. It also opened things up for them to sign former Buffalo Bill Leodis McKelvin. His hard work and passion for the game will surely endear him to Eagles fans.
"I wear my emotions on my sleeve," said the cornerback, excited to be playing for defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz once again."Come game time, I am into it. I will be on the sidelines talking, talking, talking, keeping myself motivated and keeping myself going."
McKelvin will join another new Eaglessignee and former Buffalo defensive back, Ron Brooks, as well as several other players drafted and undrafted looking to make Schwartz' secondary.
One of two holdovers who are likely to start from last season, safety Malcolm Jenkins (the other is cornerback Eric Rowe) is excited for the regime change.
"He has a clear plan, a clear vision of how he sees the team looking,how he sees practices flowing, the pace, what he demands of every player," Jenkins recently said of Schwartz."That's what it is about as a coach: to clearly communicate. It gives us the ability to set the tempo."
"He's a very passionate guy," McLeod, Jenkins' fellow safety said of the D-coordinator."He'swild, crazy — but that's what you want from a coach. He is going to give it his all to get the most our of his players. He's a coach players want to play for."