Even before the season ended and Chip Kelly was tabbed to take the place of the dearly departed Andy Reid, it was assumed by many that the back seven of the defense — and more specifically the safety position — could get quite a facelift.

The Philadelphia Eagles defense as a whole was giving up big chunks of yardage and long touchdowns at a historic pace. Though a fair amount of that can be explained away via poor cornerback play — so long, Charmin Brigade, a defense built on the wide-9 — which is all the more ridiculous because it’s really just an alignment for the defensive line, not a scheme, the turmoil created by defensive coordinator Juan Castillo’s (undeserved) firing then defensive line coach Jim Washburn’s (absolutely necessary) firing.

However, at least a portion of the blame must be placed at the feet of the safeties.

Defensive back’s coach Todd Bowles — who was then promoted to defensive coordinator to take Castillo’s place — did his best to help the unit by changing up the coverages so that the safeties did not have run-first responsibilities on the same play that they had deep coverage responsibilities (via Iggles Blog). But his promotion seemed only to further confuse the situation — he ended up being party to a dismal 4-12 season that saw Reid’s tenure end after 14 years and Kelly arrive triumphantly into the eye of the Philadelphia sports storm.

In an effort to shore up the safety position, Howie Roseman and the front office used every option at their disposal. Free agency was busy as they brought in former Patriot and second round draft choice Patrick Chung, and former Super Bowl winning Giant, safety Kenny Philips. Let’s get this straight right off the bat, since I’ve seen some chatter to the contrary — anything the Eagles are able to get out of Philips is pure gravy. He’s got a degenerative knee issue that was bad enough for the Giants to overlook his immense talent and first round pedigree and let him walk for nothing.