As if there isn’t already enough pressure when you start your first game in the NFL, all eyes will be on Philadelphia Eagles safety Earl Wolff when he takes the field on Sunday against the Denver Broncos and one of the all-time greats in Peyton Manning. With Patrick Chung not having practiced all week, it looks that Wolff will make the first start of his career with the challenge of trying reading the ins and outs of Manning’s at line audibles. A test for any defender, but especially a player in only his fourth game in the league, Wolff will be confronted for much of the day, making early reads and helping to cover the potent aerial attack of Denver.
Dealing with Manning would be enough, but add to that the experience and depth of the Denver receiving core and the job is near impossible. Wolff has been moving his way up the ladder since joining the Eagles as a fifth-round draft choice in this past year’s draft. He has seen his time increase with each passing game, in part due to the inconsistent play of Nate Allen, assisted by the output he is providing on the field. It’s been known that the Eagles would like to give Wolff a bit more time to develop before throwing him into the fire. But with the injury to Chung, he’ll be primed to make the start against what should be the hardest possible opponent.
If Wolff can continue to show that he belongs and is picking up the ebb and flow of weekly scheme changes, he could see his time continue to increase and take over a starting job on a regular basis in the Philadelphia secondary. For the future of the franchise, the Eagles hope that their not putting him in harm’s way to early and taking the chance on ruining his confidence for future endeavors, against a sniper like Manning.