Eagles Wake-Up Call: Ready Or Not, Wolff Likely To Start

0V3J0410 (1)Chip Kelly had the following to say about Earl Wolff last week when asked if he was considering starting the rookie safety against the Chiefs.

“No, we’re still — I think Earl is growing, and we’ll continue to grow him, but he’s still making some mistakes out there,” said Kelly. “I think they’re bringing him along and we’re excited about what his future is, but we still don’t think he’s ready to go the whole way.”

The plan was to ease the fifth-round pick in; to feed him game situations in doses before giving him a full workload. The NFL has a way of cancelling your plans without much notice. Patrick Chung went down with a shoulder injury against the Chiefs and has yet to practice this week. Wolff will not only make his first NFL start this Sunday in all likelihood, but do so against Peyton Manning.

Ready?

“Yes I am,” said Wolff.

“I just feel real comfortable out there. It’s not like I’m out there doing a lot of thinking; I’m reacting, actually playing football which is what got me here. When I first got here I wasn’t real comfortable with everything, I was still kind of slow, wasn’t reacting as much. But now as I get more repetitions and more plays, I’m starting to feel more comfortable.”

The N.C. State product played in just over half of the snaps against the Chiefs, finishing with five tackles. After seeing eight snaps in the opener against Washington, he has averaged 46 plays per game over the last two outings.

Wolff said last week that he needs to work on seeing the entire field instead of “zoning in” on his half. On Thursday, he said that he is making progress in that area. As for his head coach’s latest assessment?

“I think he’s growing,” said Kelly. “Came in here as a rookie and is starting to play a little bit more as he got through the Chargers game, the Redskins game, and then the Chiefs game.  There’s an improvement as we’ve gone along.  There’s still a lot of work to be done, but we’re happy with what direction he’s heading in.”

Right now, the direction is west, the opposing quarterback one of the greatest of all time. His first start is going to be memorable, one way or another.

“It’s a great opportunity, man,” said Wolff. “He’s a great quarterback, one of the best ever to do it. He might try to pick on me because I am a rookie, but I’m going to be ready for whatever he throws at me.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

Todd Herremans opens up about his play through three games and his recovery from a significant foot injury.

Kelly seems quite pleased with the play of Riley Cooper. 

More on the receivers, Vinny Curry and the fatigue factor in my latest Twitter Mailbag.

Brandon Boykin, outside linebacker? Sheil uses the All-22 to highlight the many roles of Boykin.

Kapadia explains why you can’t blame the fast-paced offense for the struggles on ‘D’.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

John Breech of CBS Sports takes an early look at the MVP race. He has LeSean McCoy fifth behind Manning, Russell Wilson, Justin Houston and Drew Brees.

If the Eagles could win a game or two, everyone would be talking about McCoy. Actually, they’d probably still talk about Peyton Manning, but then they’d talk about McCoy after that. If you’re wondering how good McCoy’s been this season, he’s rushed for 397 yards in three games, no other running back in the NFL has cracked the 300-yard mark yet.

Tommy Lawlor is pumped for Sunday’s game.

Be excited, not scared or nervous.

Sunday is a great opportunity for the Eagles. They get a chance to take on a Hall of Fame QB. These are the games to relish. Sure, Manning may shred the Eagles and win 42-41, but what if they play the game of the season and the Eagles win 26-23 or 28-24? You’re not going to totally shut down the Broncos, but if you can force them to kick some FGs and maybe they have a turnover or two…you can come up with an impressive win.

COMING UP

Inching closer to kickoff. We’ll roll out our predictions for the game.

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

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