It's not looking promising for Bennie Logan to get healthy in time for the Eagles' Week 7 tilt with the Vikings on Sunday (see Injury Update). If that's the case, Beau Allen is expected to get the start alongside Fletcher Cox at defensive tackle.
While Logan's presence would certainly be missed, it's a spot Allen isn't uncomfortable with or unaccustomed to being in. As the third-year player pointed out on Wednesday, he's not exactly in unfamiliar territory here.
"I've played a lot of snaps in this defense, I've played a lot over the last three years and I've started games for this team, so it's kind of nothing really new," Allen said. "It's the first start of this season, but it's not my first start in the NFL."
Aside from playing in all 16 games his first two seasons with the Eagles, Allen started at nose tackle in place of Logan for the final two games of 2015. Not surprisingly, those were by far the two most active games of his brief career with eight solo tackles and 11 total.
Even still, the 43 snaps Allen played in Sunday's loss at Washington were the second-highest he's seen in an NFL game, finishing with three total tackles and nearly doubling his playing time for the season. And if Logan can't suit up against the Vikings this week, his reps might be on the rise.
"It'll be more reps for guys like Beau and then maybe even a little bit more on a guy like Fletch," Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said on Thursday. "We'd like to rotate those guys as much, but sometimes you're not able to."
Allen is aware of the potential challenges he faces with an expanded workload. This is also exactly what the 6-foot-3, 327-pound lineman has been preparing for since he was taken in the seventh round of the 2014 draft.
"I really honestly don't think it changes a whole lot because of the way I prepare on a week-to-week basis," Allen said. "I've played the type of big role that — I've played with all of our starters, so many reps over the course of camp, preseason and during the season that it's really nothing new."
A couple of other things that aren't new for Allen are with respect to the Eagles' opponent on Sunday, particularly their quarterback.
Like everybody else, Allen is very much aware that Sam Bradford is making his return to Lincoln Financial Field. While the 24-year-old interior lineman recognizes Bradford is playing some of the best football of his career, leading the NFL in completion percentage with zero interceptions in four games, the signal-caller's time in an Eagles uniform can be helpful to the defense.
"We're pretty familiar with this quarterback, I'd say," Allen said. "He's playing at a very high level and he's been really accurate, really smart with the football, not a lot of turnovers.
"There are tendencies every week with every team. We know him and we know his strengths and weaknesses because he was here, and we're going to attack them."
Sunday will also be special for Allen in a personal way. The Wisconsin product is originally from Minnesota and will have plenty of friendly faces flying in to see him play.
"I've got a lot of family coming into town just because a lot of them have been Vikings fans historically, but they'll be cheering for the Eagles on Sunday," Allen said.
"I think it's fun to play against your hometown team. It's sweet that they're coming in here, so obviously a big game for me personally that way."
Allen will have big shoes to fill on Sunday, as Logan was playing very well prior to the injury. Not only that, but the Eagles' defensive line as a whole struggled with consistency the past two weeks, and is now relying on Allen to help turn their fortunes around in just his third career start.
It's no small ask, but Allen understands the task at hand.
"Our run defense last week, there were a lot of problems," Allen said. "Overpursuing was one of them. I think it's more about discipline, front-side to back-side, knowing where the ball carriers are trying to cut back, things like that. Those are things that we worked to correct this week too.
"Obviously, we didn't have any sacks last week, so we're going to everything in our power to pressure the quarterback, get him off his spot, disrupt those timing throws and get after him."