Earl Wolff plays with the 1st team over Nate Allen, but there has not been a promotion or demotion

Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

Earl Wolff lined up with the first-team defense in place of Nate Allen on Monday, but this apparently was not a promotion for Wolff and a demotion for Allen -- even if it seemed like it was exactly that.

"We're in a rotation in the training camp practices, so the rotation of the secondary because the battle is so intense, that every day we rotate who is with the ones, and we continue to work and tweak it as we go," defensive coordinator Bill Davis said. "Now as we're getting closer to the season, I'm looking at different combinations of safeties and how they interact with each other. So that is not a demotion for Nate. It's just the way the rotation is right now. As we continue to move forward, we'll continue to evaluate. And the starters are not in place at all."

If nothing else, the timing was conspicuous. It's the team's first padded practice after a game in which Allen and the first-team defense seemed to struggle. And Wolff has not taken this many first-team snaps in previous practices. 

 "Tomorrow he will not be," Davis said. "It has nothing to do with somebody beating out somebody yet. As we're moving forward in these preseason games, that will start happening and we'll start settling in on the core players, but nobody has been demoted."

What's clear is that the defense is experimenting. Bennie Logan took first-team snaps at nose tackle on Monday. Davis said no changes were made as a reaction to the game and just fall on the normal practice rotation. 

One of the issues is Davis still does not know what the defense is. He admits that the players are moving from a Wide-9 to a 3-4, but he doesn't know how far along that spectrum the Eagles could go. He thinks the issue on Friday was more technique than personnel, although he's still trying to figure out the best personnel. 

"It's about the guys being able to execute the defense they're trying," Davis said. "In the game, they reverted back a little bit. And some of the break downs happened from those, and we're all over it right now. In practice, we'll tighten it back, peel it back, if we have to. We'll play as many defenses as we can play well, and I'll throw the rest out."