3. Can Nate Allen be a difference maker?
With free agent acquisition Marlin Jackson already suffering another devastating season-ending injury, all attention turns to second round draft pick Nate Allen to play a key role in revitalizing the secondary.
The value of a Brian Dawkins was on display for all 17 games last season. With the beloved player donning orange and blue in 2009, the void left behind resulted in missed assignments, receivers gleefully catching balls across the middle, running backs finding more daylight, and the defense losing an important dimension in its blitzing schemes.
In order for the Birds to be effective on defense, this will have to change— at least partially. Can Allen provide enough of a presence to eliminate a glaring weakness? Can he elevate beyond that and be a true difference maker?