Eagles Wake-Up Call: Where Wolff Stands


NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Oakland Raiders

Earl Wolff suddenly finds himself in a pretty precarious position.

There was some optimism surrounding the second-year safety heading into the season. Chip Kelly noted back in the spring how Wolff was back to “flying around” the field after being hobbled by a knee injury down the stretch of the 2013 campaign. “Right now we’re really excited about Earl,” he said.

The head coach’s tone was much different leading into the Texans game.

“Earl’s been okay. I think he needs to be a little bit more consistent from [a training] standpoint. But he’s okay,” said Kelly. Wolff started that week in place of the injured Nate Allen and was up and down. The next day the Eagles signed safety Chris Prosinski when DeMeco Ryans was placed on injured reserve. Seven days after being plucked off the street, Prosinski was active and Wolff was on the outside looking in.

“I was pretty disappointed,” Wolff told Birds 24/7. “But I still come out here every day with the same approach, don’t ever put my head down, always keep my head high. I know what type of player I am, I know what I’m capable of doing, and at the end of the day I might be in a valley now but I will be on a mountain one of these days sometime soon. That’s what keeps me positive through everything.”

Wolff was part of Kelly’s first draft class. Selected in the fifth round out of N.C. State, he started six games his rookie season and notched five passes defensed and an interception. His momentum was halted when he hurt his knee this time last year against the Packers. The injury lingered and Wolff was unable to contribute down the stretch. The expected safety competition between Wolff and Allen this summer never materialized. Allen won the job cleanly and Wolff – outside of his spot start in Houston – has been relegated mostly to special teams. It seems he has been replaced there as well.

“He’s been one of the real four core team players in this league for the last couple of years,” said Kelly of Prosinski. “When the opportunity presented itself for us to bring him in here, we thought it would be a good upgrade for us from a special teams standpoint.”

While Wolff is likely the best safety option behind Allen and Malcolm Jenkins on the roster, Kelly puts a lot of stock in special teams as we know, so Chris Maragos and Prosinski could very well be the two active reserve safeties moving forward.

Does the current dynamic get him thinking about his long-term standing on the team?

“It does,” said Wolff, “especially because how tight me and some of the guys are here. I just keep working, man. Stay positive. That’s all I can do.

“I hope I stay here. This is where I got drafted to, this is where I love it at. I love everybody around here. I speak to everybody, I respect everybody, I’m friends with everybody. We’ll just see where it goes from here.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

Sheil gets us more familiar with the Packers. 

“Bridging such a wide gap [to land Marcus Mariota] would come at a steep price.” National media weighs in on the Eagles.

The honors are coming fast and furious for Darren Sproles. 

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Bob McGinn of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel talked to some personnel men around the league about Sanchez and the Eagles.

“I’d like to play against him every week,” a third assistant from a club that played Philly said of Sanchez. “I think if you put pressure on him he’ll throw the ball to you.

“The Eagles are flawed at quarterback. They’re not a real big team, either. I think they’ll have trouble staying with some (top) teams in cold weather.”…

An NFC coach gave it to the Packers just because of home field.

“It will be fun to watch two of the hottest teams in the NFL,” an AFC personnel man said. “I don’t believe Mark Sanchez can sustain their high level of offensive production.”

John Clayton wonders if the Eagles can simply use the plug-and-play approach under Kelly instead of committing big dollars to a quarterback.

His system might be so good that it doesn’t matter who is under center. From Michael Vick to Nick Foles and now Sanchez, each Philly quarterback has experienced success within the scheme. No matter who he plays, there doesn’t seem to be much of a drop-off.

So often you hear fans question quarterbacks’ salaries. Many think it’s ridiculous for top quarterbacks to get more than $20 million a year, and others such as Jay Cutler, Tony Romo, Andy Dalton, Carson Palmer, to receive $16 million, paralyzing the team’s hopes of building the roster around said QB. In a quarterback-driven league, there is no choice. You pay the quarterback, and the prices for the good ones are steep.

Kelly might be the one coach to change that thought process. The danger is other franchises copying the Kelly formula. Copying it might not work unless you have a Chip Kelly creating the scheme.

COMING UP

We’ll talk to Kelly  at 11:40 before practice.