The Eagles on Monday released their first depth chart leading up to Friday's preseason game against the Chicago Bears, and it listed Nate Allen as the team's starting safety. Nolan Carroll is listed as the Eagles' top kick returner, with Darren Sproles as punt returner. The base offense is a three-receiver set, with Brad Smith listed over Jordan Matthews in the slot.
The depth chart is unofficial, and it is still premature to form any major conclusions about what it will look like when the regular season begins next month. But it does offer clues about some of the rotations for Friday's game.
Allen and Earl Wolff are competing for the starting safety spot. Both have played with the first-team defense during camp, and defensive coordinator Bill Davis said Monday that the Eagles are trying to mix and match at that spot at this point in camp.
"In these first couple weeks we are simply throwing them in against different people," Davis said. "I'm putting different safety rotations along with corner rotations so the backup safety can talk with the starting corner or whoever. I'm trying to get the communication to be comfortable."
Carroll has impressed throughout the summer, although he missed Monday's practice because of an undisclosed injury. Coach Chip Kelly has said that Carroll "warrants playing time," and Davis said the dime defense is one way to do it.
"He is a perfectionist," Davis said. "I've moved him inside to a dime . . . which he's never played. He's learning and struggling. . . . So he's in the middle of a learning curve, and he's hard on himself, but I think I'm very pleased."
Prepare for penalties
NFL officials met with the Eagles last week, and Davis expects penalty flags to be plentiful in the preseason. The team is still getting used to the new emphasis on what's allowed in pass coverage.
"They told us 20 times, the flags are going to rain down in the preseason until the game gets adjusted," Davis said. "And we'll adjust to it, and hopefully we get there faster than our opponents get there."
Starting wide receiver Riley Cooper (foot/ankle) remained in a walking boot. Jeremy Maclin, the other starting receiver, did not finish practice but walked off the field without any apparent issues.
Jeff Maehl (foot), running back Chris Polk (hamstring), Jake Knott (hamstring), and Julian Vandervelde (back) continue to miss practice.