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.

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  • G_WallyHunter

    Couldn’t ask for a better read to wake up to, thanks

    Let’s hope Manning only makes Wolff look silly a few time…… lol a few times… who am I kidding..

    • Richard Colton

      I’d be twice as excited if it meant Allen was sitting.

      • G_WallyHunter

        Ha Touche.. Eagles D ONE TIME!

        • Richard Colton

          I just want to save Allen’s fierce tackling and hitting for special teams.

          • G_WallyHunter

            Really is a good point, we need his superb tackling angles on kick returns

  • cliff henny

    the only good thing about staring a rookie next to Allen, is Manning wont bother hunting for Wolff’s weaknesses. Allen sux the big one so much, there’s really no need. Wolff may indeed be low hanging fruit to Peyton, but Allen is picked, cleaned and on the kitchen table

    • G_WallyHunter

      With a bite or two out of it

    • All In Eagles

      Haha, love the analysis. I’m thinking the deep middle is primed for a good raping on Sunday. Either way, I’d love to see Early back there. Over/Under on Peyton TD count on the day? Odds on Earl getting a pick or big play (forced fumble/pass breakup on a big down)?

      • cliff henny

        so far the defense has made average slot recrs look like all-stars. now that they are up against an actual all-pro in Welker, he might be in for record setting day. think our main hope is welker gets so many catches and yards in first quarter that he hurts a hamstring.

  • Kushan Patel

    If this kid pans out in a year or two, I’m buying his jersey, if only to have “Wolff” on my back.

    • knighn

      If he pans out in a year or two, you should make sure that your friends / family all have Wolff jerseys so you can call yourself “The Wolff Pack”!

      • EagleDuck

        N.C. State (Wolff’s school) beat you to it.

    • knighn

      If there was a great player named “Monkey”, I wonder how many people would buy that jersey. I mean, it’s nice to appreciate a great player, but who wants a Monkey on your back?

      • smallestsmurf

        +1

      • KobraKai7474

        [rim shot]

    • Chris

      during the draft part of me was pulling for them to grab Bacarri Rambo (to have a RAMBO Eagles jersey, how awesome would that be) but after seeing him getting torched in the Skins secondary, i’m sort of glad my wish didn’t come true

      • G_WallyHunter

        maybe Chip would use pictures of Rocky as Rambo lol to communicate plays

    • macadood

      hopefully turns into a b-dawk type. certainly has the name for it.

      i predict a pick and a fumble rec for a td for the dude and a fluke of a career breakout game.

  • aub32

    With Allen and the rookie likely to start, I wonder if they will go more man coverage in order to simplify things a bit.

  • KobraKai7474

    Sometimes you just have to toss a kid into the deep end and see if he can swim. As long as the defense and coverages are not overly complicated, safety is a fairly intuitive position: Read the play, and either come up and fill if it’s a run or drop back to your coverage responsibility if it’s a pass. If Wolff is a player, he will do fine. That is not to say he won’t make mistakes or ever get beat. He will, but the good will outweigh the bad…. and that is more than we can say about a safety on this team, arguably since B-Dawkins left.

    • Adam

      The thing about young guys in secondary in the NFL is that they get abused and lose their confidence early they may never bounce back, especially in a city like Philly where you’re under a magnifying glass under a microscope. Tossing a guy into a deep end is one thing, but when it’s playing against Manning there’s hungry sharks in that deep end too.

      First start + Philly fans (compounded by poor safety play over the past 5+ years) + Manning in Denver + Playing next to Nate Allen = Me feeling really bad for Earl Wolff

      • Token

        Well if that happens he wasnt going to be a good player anyway. If your confidence gets shattered that easily you dont have what it takes plain and simple.

        • Adam

          Jarrett would be an example of a guy who got off to a terrible start in Philly and was never able to bounce back, but now he’s at least looking serviceable in NY, which is more than we can ever say about his time here.

      • KobraKai7474

        Point taken. I still think he will be fine. Mind you, he WILL make mistakes, but I don’t they will be the kind of confidence-crushers you are referring to. Wolff wouldn’t have made it this far if he’d let having an occasional receiver get behind him go to his head.

        • Adam

          For sure, but it’s easy to say that until you get torched for 3 TD’s and start getting death threats from Philly fans, haha.

          • Richard Colton

            I think if the secondary only gives up three TDs we might be in good shape. Actually – if we hold PM to three passing TDs and force two INTs, I think we can win.

  • KobraKai7474

    Between having a rook at safety and going against Peyton Manning, it is a pretty safe bet that they will be conservative in coverage…. giving the corners lots of deep help. Of course that probably opens up the Denver running game, which may or may not be up to the task of grinding out a win 5 yards at a time. Either way, we had this game pegged as a shoot out long before the season started and that is almost certainly what we’re going to get. The real question will be whether the Eagles offense will be able to outscore the Broncos. They probably won’t but, as they say in boxing, they have a puncher’s chance. They just have to land a few big punches early.

  • morgan c

    Or, Tommy Lawlor, if we lose 48-17… haha I couldn’t resist. No, I don’t think that will happen and I agree this will be exciting, and a great opportunity. I think it will be a 4 point game either way. I just don’t think we can assume anymore that our offense will be able to score at will…

  • #7

    Let’d do this Earl Wolff!!!!

    Sigh

  • EaglePete

    Here I was hoping he was replacing Allen, no idea he Chung was hurt. Darn. Is everyone still as optimistic about winning this game? I sense a lot of frustration coming fans way when Peyton abuses this defense. Boy I hope Im wrong, I at least want a competitive game for a half or so. An early blowout just makes a game tough to watch. Just really hard for me to think they can slow him down at all. Maybe it rains and passes are tough to catch and we can use our run gm to our advantage.

    • anon

      Low expectations so i think less expectation that we’ll be disappointed.

  • Mr. Magee

    Would love to see Wolff do well and gain some confidence, but truthfully the only reason he has looked ok so far is because the people around him are so bad… Even Chung has been no better than average, IMO. We’ll see. Best (only?) chance the D has is if they can get some pressure on Manning without having to throw the whole kitchen sink at him.