Kelly: ‘There Aren’t Any Safeties On the Street’

Earl WolffChip Kelly recognizes that the Eagles have a safety issue. The problem? It looks like there might not be a solution.

“Right now?” Kelly asked after Sunday’s loss to the Chargers. “There aren’t any safeties on the street, I can tell you that.  So we’re going to play with the ones we’ve got.”

Raise your hand if you take that as a ringing endorsement of the players on the roster.

Patrick Chung played 82 of 83 snaps at one safety spot. Nate Allen (63 snaps) and rookie Earl Wolff (49 snaps) rotated at the other spot. And the Eagles even had all three on the field at times because they were thin at cornerback

The results were ugly. The safeties weren’t the only problem, but Philip Rivers carved the defense up, completing 36 of 47 attempts for 419 yards and three touchdowns. The safeties couldn’t match up with tight end Antonio Gates, and they were slow to react on in-breaking routes in front of them when playing deep.

“We’ve got to coach them better and put them in positions to make plays,” Kelly said. “We’ve got to make sure we put a game plan together so they understand it. It’s a simple deal.”

Of course, in a league where savvy quarterbacks and offensive coordinators are adept at identifying mismatches and exploiting them, it’s really not that simple. Sunday’s loss was a perfect example of that.

For now, the Eagles could replace Allen with Wolff, but Kelly said they’re not going that route yet.

“I think Earl’s growing,” Kelly said. “We’ll continue to grow him, but he’s still making some mistakes out there and I think they’re bringing him along and are excited about what his future is, but we still don’t think he’s ready to play the whole game.”

Asked how Wolff graded out, Kelly said: “He was OK. Wasn’t 100 percent, but wasn’t in the failure category, so he’s still a work in progress.”

The other options on the roster are veterans Kurt Coleman and Colt Anderson.

The Eagles could also try to sign someone off the street. There have been a lot of comments here about Kerry Rhodes, but from what I understand, they are not going to go that route. Rhodes is 31 and hasn’t caught on anywhere yet.

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