By Kevin McGuire

Any time a football is tossed up in the air and it is the responsibility of the Philadelphia Eagles secondary to cover, Eagles fans may be forgiven for choosing to avert heir eyes until told it is OK to look. The Eagles pass defense has allowed 266.9 yards per game through the air. A good chunk of that average is inflated due to the Eagles being ahead in some games, but anyone who has watched the Eagles this season knows this secondary is vulnerable against a competent quarterback with a steady receiver unit at his disposal. With the trade deadline having now passed, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly and GM Howie Roseman chose to work with what they have moving forward.

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“No, we’re not looking into safeties,” Kelly said while meeting with the media Tuesday, per “I think the whole trade deadline in the National Football League, and I said it this morning, is a little bit overblown… It’s not Major League Baseball where we’re unloading contracts and four guys are going here and then all of a sudden we’re trading Minor Leaguers and all that.”

So Kelly will coach on and come to the support of Nate Allen, who was victimized for a long, game-winning touchdown play over the middle of the field on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. Allen failed to cover the deep pass as the Cardinals converted in the clutch for the win. Unfortunately, it was the only time Kelly felt Allen was beat.

“I think Nate got beat once. I think he made two outstanding plays,” Kelly said. “You look at the fumble and the recovery, did a hell of a job there.  You know, he bit the cheese, and he admits it, and it’s one thing.  But I don’t think he can be defined by one play.”

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This is why players supposedly like Kelly, and this relationship can go a long way for team chemistry. Kelly faced criticism of his own this week after some questionable play calling and a decision not to ask for a review of a spot down by the goal line late in the game with a chance to potentially put the game away. But in defeat we have seen Kelly come to the defense of his players time and time again.

“I thought there were two X-plays in the game, one 80‑yarder and one 75‑yarder, Kelly added. “Besides that, I thought our defense played outstanding all day long against a really, really good offense. But it’s unfortunate at times when you’re in those situations that you’re going to get exposed.”

There is no time to dwell on what could have been a win to keep the Eagles on top of the NFC, or at least the NFC East after Dallas was defeated Monday night by Washington. This week Kelly needs to hope his defense plays better and avoids allowing big plays to hurt them. Houston will look to give veteran Andre Johnson a chance to do some damage, and head coach Bill O’Brien has an offensive flair to focus on. A loss at Houston would not be devastating for the Eagles by any means, but the secondary figures to be tested once again on the road. Will they come up with a big play, or will they be played?

For more Eagles news and updates, visit Eagles Central.

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Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on