The fact that Earl Wolff ran with the first-team defense during Monday’s Philadelphia Eagles practice at the Novacare Complex may be meaningless. Not for nothing, though, as the North Carolina State product spent time with the second-team on Tuesday.
“I believe that when they start they should start at the bottom, and they should earn their way up,” Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis Jr said of rookies. “It doesn’t take long for the better players to push their way up. Really, it comes from basically saying, ‘hey the vets have been here and worked at it, someone has to take it from them before you just anoint somebody.’ But a lot of times when you see the talented young guys come up, they take it pretty quick. And when it’s time and you’ve seen enough and they’ve earned it, then you move them up.”
Wolff, chosen by the Eagles in the fifth round of April’s draft, was paired with Nate Allen on Monday and during Tuesday’s walk-through practice was alongside Patrick Chung with the second-team defense.
“Every day we walk in [to the meeting room] as DBs we have a little depth chart on the board. And when I saw I was with the ones I didn’t think too much of it, but I was like, ‘Let me go out here and have a great day and show the coaches that I can play with the ones,’” Wolff said Monday. “I feel like the coaches are starting to trust me more and more as the days go on. I stay after [practice] and do extra, I feel like I had a pretty decent game in my first NFL game, and I’m just trying to go up from there.”
In Friday’s preseason opener against the New England Patriots it was Chung and Allen who started on defense, so it certainly is telling that Wolff already is working alongside both of the projected starters this week. There is nothing set in stone at the position, and Wolff is getting an opportunity to show he can start.
“Right now it’s a close battle,” said Davis, “and the games will separate it along with the practices.”
Given the Eagles’ woeful struggles tackling against the Patriots, inserting Wolff, a self proclaimed heavy hitter, into the lineup may be just what this team needs to spark some life into a listless defense.
The Eagles kickoff against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field at 7:30PM.
Matt Lombardo is also a sports radio host on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Join the conversation and follow him on Twitter.