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Offseason Program Countdown: 21 Days

Posted Mar 31, 2014

Believe it or not, the beginning of the 2014 season is rapidly approaching. Players will report back to the NovaCare Complex on April 21 for the start of the Eagles offseason program. Join us as we count down until the Eagles are back in town ...

The Eagles defense improved by leaps and bounds through the course of the 2013 season, the first campaign under the guidance of Bill Davis as defensive coordinator. A pivotal moment for the Eagles came in the Week 5 win over the New York Giants. Quarterback Michael Vick exited the game with a hamstring injury and it was up to the defense to help keep the lead. The Eagles won 36-21 and while it was unknown at the time, it started a streak for the defense. It was the first of nine consecutive games in which the Eagles allowed 21 or fewer points to the opposition. The Eagles put themselves in position to win the NFC East by winning seven of those nine games.

Sticking with the defensive theme, 21 was also the amount of quarterback hurries by second-year defensive end Fletcher Cox, who led the team in that category.

When the Eagles traded for running back Darren Sproles, they acquired a player who has the ability to be a threat both as a runner and a receiver on offense. But Sproles is a triple threat who is also deadly as a return specialist. Last season, the Eagles averaged 21.4 yards per kickoff return, which was good for 25th in the NFL – an area where Sproles can help in 2014.

One final note regarding big gains - quarterback Nick Foles' longest run of the season was a 21-yard scamper in Week 15 against Minnesota.

First Eagle To Wear No. 21: G James Zyntell (1933-35)
Current Eagle Wearing No. 21: CB Roc Carmichael (2013-present)

ERIC ALLEN

In 1988, the Eagles moved up in the second round to select cornerback Eric Allen out of Arizona State. Allen was welcomed into a locker room that featured the cornerstone players who would form the Gang Green defense just a few years later - Reggie White, Jerome Brown and Andre Waters among others.

Another player who welcomed Allen into the NFL was wide receiver Mike Quick. Every day in practice during Training Camp in 1988, Quick would school Allen on the art of what it took to cover an elite wide receiver.

Those lessons served Allen well.

Allen was a day one starter for the defense and as a rookie began his prolific career, one that would earn a spot in the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame. Allen played seven years in Philadelphia and earned five Pro Bowls during his tenure. In that time, Allen missed just one regular season start. A self-described blue-collar version of Deion Sanders, Allen still had a knack for making big plays. Blessed with 4.4 speed and soft hands, Allen shares the franchise record of 34 career interceptions as an Eagle. He returned five of those interceptions for touchdowns, a team record, including two in one game against New Orleans in 1993.

In 2011, Allen was inducted into the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame and has been a nominee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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