Heading into their second NFC east matchup of the season and a pivotal showdown with the New York Giants, the Philadelphia Eagles may once again be forced to turn to Earl Wolff to make his second career start in as many weeks Sunday opposite Nate Allen.
For the second week in a row Patrick Chung has been limited in practice while battling a shoulder injury suffered against the Kansas City Chiefs in week three and could be forced to miss his second consecutive game.
Despite not practicing at full capacity for eight days, Chip Kelly isn't worried about him missing a beat should he be cleared to play Sunday.
“When Pat’s out, Pat’s mentally not out," Kelly pointed out Thursday. "He’s in there making the checks, understanding if it’s two-by-two we’re going to this, if it’s three-by-one we’re going to this. It’s not that Pat’s not involved in the game plan or what’s going on from a mental standpoint, but you also know with a guy who has been out for eight days there’s going to be a little rust there.”
Wolff was up and down in his first career start last Sunday against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. The Eagles fifth-round draft choice made seven tackles but struggled in coverage.
"Everything I did wrong last week that I did wrong," Wolff told reporters Thursday. "Just being out-leveraged on certain plays, not being deep enough in certain coverages, I've been working on a lot this week and those things are going to get me ready for this Sunday."
Still, the rookie is taking his lumps but knows he's come a long way from his first training camp where reps with the first team were few and far between.
"Honestly, I can say I've improved on every area since camp," Wolff said. "I wasn't as instinctive then. I was thinking a lot before the play, thinking a lot during the play and now I'm able to react a lot more which allows me to make plays in practice. I feel like if you can make those plays in practice you'll be able to make them in the game. I'm a lot more confident now than I was then."
Whether it's Chung or Wolff in the secondary Sunday, Kelly isn't concerned about his safeties missing a beat.
"I see improvement in Earl," Kelly said. "But you're not, in the short amount of time since he's been here, been able to put him through every single route combination, sets, recognition, all those things that a guy who has been in the league for two or three years can recognize."
"But we all see every day I think you just see Earl improving and there's something you keep looking at him and see, he's starting to make plays."
Chung is likely to be a game time decision. Elsewhere on the injury front cornerback Brandon Boykin who has been battling a shoulder contusion was able to return to practice Thursday and likely will be able to suit up against the Giants.
Matt Lombardo is the Editor-In-Chief of Eagledelphia and also an on-air personality on 97.5 FM The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Join the conversation and follow Matt on Twitter.