Three defensive backs — Brandon Boykin, Kurt Coleman and Colt Anderson — stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the sidelines, all spectators as their teammates continued their preparations for the Bears Wednesday.
Boykin has yet to be cleared after suffering a concussion in Minnesota. This is a significant injury to watch for the Eagles, who are about to face a daunting Bears receiving duo in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.
“It’s a huge challenge,” said Chip Kelly, “and no one is going to give us a waiver because we’re banged up. It’s part of what this deal is all about. We look at it as an opportunity for us to go out and compete against them, and that’s what we got — a bunch of competitive guys, competitive coaches that want to go challenge themselves, and there’s no better group of receivers to challenge yourself with than the guys that they can put out there in Marshall and Jeffery.”
Coleman (hamstring) and Anderson (knee) are not critical pieces of the defense, but their absence could be felt on special teams. Anderson is considered a special teams ace, and the Eagles have the challenge of containing Devin Hester. Keelan Johnson was signed off the practice squad this week. Kelly said they made the move because they knew they would be down a safety for this game, but would not say which one.
Earl Wolff (knee) practiced for the second consecutive day. He expects to play, but will likely be eased back in. That means a lot of the snaps will fall to the struggling Patrick Chung.
-- Kelly was asked if he agrees with Cary Williams' theory that the loss to Minnesota was a good thing for this team.
"I don't think that any loss is a good thing," said Kelly. "But I think every situation you're in you can learn from. I think that's a very valid point. Losses happen, wins happen, you have to learn from all your experiences and then get ready for your next game."
-- The head coach was asked about his players' mentality this week coming off that loss.
"I think our guys are very consistent in their approach. They were the same way when we were 3-5. That's how I knew we had a good group of guys that are very serious about what we are trying to get accomplished here."