Nate Allen will start at safety Monday night against the Redskins, but he may not be in there for long. Rookie Earl Wolff, who pushed Allen in a competition that went up until the final preseason game, said that he expected to play as much in Washington.
He said Chip Kelly told him so.
"I honestly feel like me and Nate will get almost, I would say, an equal opportunity on the field Monday night," Wolff said Wednesday. Kelly "told me I would play every quarter. Like I said, I don't know exactly how much I will play. But I'm going to be ready to take advantage of every opportunity."
Kelly said earlier that Wolff would play, and not just on special teams. But the Eagles coach, as expected, didn't give any particulars.
"We've just got to get him in the game," Kelly said. "But it's not a special package where we have an Earl Wolff defense. He's going to go out there and play safety, yeah."
There are certainly ways that Wolff can play along with Allen and fellow starter Patrick Chung. The Eagles have employed a three-safety look in camp, mostly with Chung moving into the slot in the nickel. They could also keep Chung in the slot in the dime, along with regular slot corner Brandon Boykin on the other side, and have Wolff and Allen back deep.
Wolff was asked if the Eagles planned to play him in a rotation or in certain packages.
"Probably both. I'm not exactly sure," Wolff said. "But coach told me to just be ready to go in any time during the game, at the beginning. I'm just going to be ready."
Kelly said Allen would start because he's "a little bit ahead of" Wolff. But Wolff is seemingly closing the gap. He had one forgettable play in the third preseason game when he took a back angle and Jaguars running back Jordan Todman ran 63 yards for a touchdown. Chung also looked bad on that play. But Wolff has been a stronger tackler than Allen.
The Eagles could be going with a three-safety look to combat the Redskins' running game that features running back Alfred Morris. Even though quarterback Robert Girffin has yet to play since tearing his ACL in January, he remains a threat to run if Washington employs its "pistol" set and has some read option.