Thursday, September 26, 2013
Wolff knows he'll wear bull's-eye in debut
By Phil Sheridan
PHILADELPHIA -- Earl Wolff watched Peyton Manning dissect the Oakland Raiders on “Monday Night Football.” The Eagles’ rookie safety knew exactly what he was seeing and what it meant for him.
“When I come out there, I felt like Peyton Manning is going to target me,” Wolff said Thursday. “That’s how I felt when I was watching him.”
Wolff is expected to make his first NFL start Sunday in place of veteran Patrick Chung, who injured his shoulder last Thursday against Kansas City. Chung has not practiced yet this week. Coach Chip Kelly said it was still possible for Chung to play, but all signs point to Wolff.
As luck would have it, the Eagles have dealt with injuries in the area where they have the least depth. They were without cornerback Bradley Fletcher for their 33-30 loss to San Diego. And now they are likely to be without Chung, the veteran safety they signed in the offseason to shore up what was arguably the league’s softest secondary in 2012.
After competing with Nate Allen for a starting job all summer, Wolff has played a bit more each week. Kelly likes to say the Eagles are “growing him.”
“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,” Kelly said. “ 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.”
Thanks to that approach, Wolff at least has a feel for the NFL game.
“I like the way Coach Kelly has been doing that for me,” Wolff said. “I know it’s for the better, him not just throwing me into the fire.”
It doesn’t get much hotter than lining up across from Manning. But Wolff figures he might as well face the best.
“I’m competitive,” he said. “He’s a quarterback. I’m a DB. I want to compete on every play. I’m just going to go out and make the plays I can make.”