Wolff Adds Mystery To Safety Situation

Earl WolffEarlier this afternoon, Chip Kelly said that Nate Allen would start at safety opposite Patrick Chung.

But in the end, that might not end up mattering much.

Kelly conceded that Earl Wolff would see time too, and the rookie safety echoed that sentiment after today’s practice.

“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.”

Asked about how he found out he was starting, Allen said: “I never got a formal, ‘This is what’s happening.’ But I was in with the ones today, and me and Earl were still rotating in and out. So I just heard it from y’all. It’s all good regardless.”

Their comments could mean a few different things. One is that maybe Wolff and Allen will rotate. It’s not as if either guy separated himself in the preseason. Maybe the coaches want to go with Wolff, but don’t want to just throw him out there full-time right away. This would be an unorthodox move, but probably not one we can completely rule out.

Another possibility is that the Eagles could show some three-safety looks. We saw this at practice during the summer with Chung, Allen and Wolff all playing together. The coaches believe Chung has some versatility. He sometimes played the slot receiver and looks like the Eagles’ best defensive back against the run.

“I’m not exactly sure,” Allen said. “I know we have some packages and stuff. But I’m not exactly sure what it’ll be like on gameday and how much we’ll rotate in and out. But we’ve just gotta get out there and make plays.”

The Eagles are thin at cornerback. The plan in nickel is simple: take Isaac Sopoaga out and put Brandon Boykin in. But if Billy Davis wants to go with six defensive backs, that’ll probably mean playing all three safeties.

Asked if he was expecting a rotation or just be involved in some special packages, Wolff said: “Probably both. I’m not exactly sure, but Coach told me to just be ready to go at any time during the game, at the beginning. So I’m just gonna be ready.”

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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