We wrote multiple times, as many others did when the Eagles let Brian Dawkins sign with the Broncos, that the Eagles were making a mistake letting Dawkins go. At the time, I did believe that, but it was a lot of emotions writing since Brian Dawkins was such a large part of Philadelphia sports for the past decade.
Fast forward to Week 16 and we now see that Brian Dawkins is having a pro bowl caliber season at safety for the Broncos, and the Eagles are struggling to find someone who can start at free safety. Dawkins has taken over a leadership position on the Broncos defense, and according to coach Josh McDaniels, is the team MVP. The Eagles meanwhile, have yet to find a replacement for Dawkins, which makes you wonder why they didn't pay him in the first place.
The Eagles spent training camp telling us how great 2nd year man Quintin Demps was, and how he would be the starter at free safety. Apparently Demps couldn't cut it, and the Eagles then announced a week before the season that rookie 5th round pick Macho Harris would be the starting free safety alongside Quintin Mikell. Harris was horrible out there, and was replaced by Sean Jones. Jones played well when he was first out there, but has been bad the past couple weeks, and has been splitting time with Demps now. So the Eagles basically now have a platoon situation at a very important position.
The Eagles also have not gotten the same play out of Quintin Mikell that they got last season when Mikell was playing next to Dawkins. Mikell thrived last season next to Dawkins, and was almost a pro-bowler in his first season as starter. This season, Mikell has not been bad by any means, but has taken a slight step back as the leader of the safety position.
Also, no one on the team brings the same leadership qualities that Brian Dawkins does. Not only does Dawkins fire up his teammates and fans with his antics, he also is constantly talking to the defensive coaches throughout the game, and is the quarterback of the defense.
If the Eagles do not make a deep run in the playoffs this season, it might be because the defense lets us down, and a lot of that has to do with Dawkins not being on the team anymore. Sean Jones is the best player at free safety in my opinion, but he is nowhere near what Brian Dawkins brought to this team, and we are still struggling to replace him.