Philadelphia Eagles: Earl Wolff Very Much In The Mix At Safety

By Matt Lombardo
Phil Sears – USA TODAY Sports

True to form, Chip Kelly isn’t putting much stock into who sits atop the depth chart.

On Wednesday morning, Kelly announced that Nate Allen would be starting at safety alongside Patrick Chung, but that it didn’t matter who played the first snap as much as who played in the next 60.

In the case of the Philadelphia Eagles safety position, it appears that rookie Earl Wolff is poised to play a significant role as early as opening night on Monday against the Washington Redskins.

“Yeah, Earl [Wolff]’s pushing him,” Kelly pointed out. “Earl’s pushing, and he’ll play. Right now Nate [Allen]’s a little bit ahead of him.”

Wolff, the Eagles fifth round pick in April’s NFL Draft was on Allen’s heels throughout training camp in the battle for the starting job and even took first team reps on several occasions. If not for a forgettable play in which he took a terrible angle against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third preseason game leading to a 63-yard Jordan Todman touchdown run, he may be sitting atop the depth chart.

Regardless, the North Carolina State product anticipates plenty of playing time in his first NFL game and beyond.

“I honestly feel like me and Nate probably will get almost an equal opportunity on the field Monday night,” Wolff said. “He [Chip Kelly] told me I’m gonna play every quarter. Like I said, I don’t know exactly how much I’m gonna play. I’m just gonna be ready to take advantage of every opportunity.”

Earlier this summer the Eagles practiced several three-safety looks with Chung, Allen and Wolff all on the field at the same time. Against a team that can run the ball as effectively as the Redskins with Alfred Morris, look for that wrinkle to make an appearance in Week 1.

Whether he starts or not, Wolff has obviously shown the coaching staff he deserves a chance to prove himself beyond contributing on special teams in the early part of his rookie season.

Matt Lombardo is also a sports radio host on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Join the conversation and follow him on Twitter.

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