Earl Wolff Runs with First-Team Defense, Clay Harbor Trying Out Wide Receiver

Earl Wolff Runs with First-Team Defense, Clay Harbor Trying Out Wide Receiver

The other shoe finally dropped after Nate Allen’s rough outing in the preseason opener. According to reports out of the NovaCare Complex, the fourth-year safety was replaced in the defense’s top pairing at practice on Monday by rookie Earl Wolff.

Wolff being elevated to the first string at this stage in camp is big news, as it would seem the fifth-round pick is getting a serious look to start sooner rather than later. Patrick Chung remained with the first-team defense, and he probably has one of the two spots locked down, but the other job is still wide open.

Allen fumbled his opportunity on Friday against the Patriots. He took a horrible angle to the ball carrier on Stevan Ridley’s 62-yard run to open the game. He would have been on the hook for a touchdown in coverage had the starting quarterback still been on the field. Generally speaking, he hasn’t looked very sharp.

Allen worked with David Sims in the second grouping on Monday per reports. However, Kenny Phillips was not at practice, as he’s apparently dealing with a quad injury – not sure who would have run third string, though my gut says Sims.

When the unofficial depth chart was released last week, Wolff was at the very bottom. That was reflected in the game as well, as Wolff did not get in until late. It’s a huge jump, going from the seventh safety on the roster to potential starter Thursday versus Carolina in a matter of days.

Also of some interest, multiple reports over the past two have had Clay Harbor working with the wide receivers. The team is still thin there after a series of camp injuries, and Harbor’s fine receiving performance on Friday – three receptions for 47 yards – stood out.

One popular line of thinking is the Eagles will keep four tight ends, and Harbor is in line for that final spot so far. Chip Kelly likes to move those guys around the formation, too, so it's probably important to find out whether Harbor can be more than an in-line tight end. The head coach did mention Harbor is the fastest player at his position, per Reuben Frank:

“We’ve got seven tight ends, and he already knows how to play inside because all the tight ends know how to play the slot,” Kelly said. “He had three big catches for us Friday night. He’s probably the fastest of the tight ends. Until, really, there’s some cut downs and there’s some guys available, we think that the best route for us is the guys we have.

The big news is Wolff though. Chip has downplayed the existence of a true depth chart at every turn, but given Allen’s performance and that he had previously run with the ones all of last week, it’s tough not to read into the change. And given the state of the Eagles’ safeties, it’s not unreasonable at all to assume a rookie has a chance to start there.

Matt Rhule's first Baylor hires include 4 Temple assistants

Matt Rhule's first Baylor hires include 4 Temple assistants

WACO, Texas -- New Baylor coach Matt Rhule has made some immediate Texas connections by hiring the president of the state's high school coaches who is a former Bears receiver.

Rhule announced his first five hires with the Bears on Friday, three days after being named Baylor's coach. They include four members from his staff at Temple and David Wetzel, the head coach and athletic director the past 13 seasons at Ronald Reagan High School in San Antonio.

Sean Padden will serve as Baylor's director of football operations, similar to his role at Temple the past four years.

Rhule didn't immediately announce the titles and job duties for Wetzel, Francis Brown, Mike Siravo and Evan Cooper. There was also no indication of when the rest of his staff would be completed.

Brown and Siravo were defensive assistants at Temple, and Cooper was director of player personnel for the Owls.

Wetzel, who has coached in the state high school ranks for 25 years, was serving as president of the Texas High School Football Coaches Association. He lettered at Baylor in 1990 and 1991 while playing for Grant Teaff, and also earned a master's degree from the school in 1994. Before Reagan, he was head coach at schools in Killeen and Austin.

Wetzel told the Waco Tribune-Herald that he expects to play a major role in recruiting, but didn't know yet if he'd be coaching offense or defense.

"Given the opportunity, it's really a unique deal," Wetzel told the newspaper. "I feel like it's God's timing for me to be in the right place at the right time."

When Rhule was introduced Wednesday in Waco, he said he had already received about 480 text messages, many from coaches. He also didn't rule out the possibility of some of the current Baylor assistants staying, but said he hadn't had a chance to meet with them. Those assistants were retained from former coach Art Briles' staff with Jim Grobe as acting head coach this season.

Note
Baylor announced Friday that Jalen Pitre, a defensive back from Stafford, Texas, signed a financial aid agreement that will allow him to enroll for the spring 2017 semester after graduating from high school early. Before Rhule was hired, Pitre was the only player verbally committed for Baylor's recruiting class in February. He had 83 tackles, six interceptions and four forced fumbles as a senior.

Dorial Green-Beckham fined by NFL for wearing Yeezy cleats

Dorial Green-Beckham fined by NFL for wearing Yeezy cleats

Dorial Green-Beckham didn't support any charity with his cleats last Sunday.

In reality, he was funding the NFL.

The Eagles' receiver was fined $6,076 by the NFL for wearing Yeezy cleats (Kanye West's shoes), which had no affiliation to a charitable organization or cause, CSNPhilly.com has confirmed. Players around the NFL last weekend wore decorative spikes supporting a charity or cause they felt passionately about as part of the league's My Cleats, My Cause promotion. Green-Beckham was fined because his cleats were unapproved by the league; earlier this season Houston receiver DeAndre Hopkins was fined for wearing Yeezy cleats. 

Green-Beckham told NJ.com’s Eliot Shorr-Parks he was supporting the "Yeezy Foundation." ESPN's Tim McManus first reported the fine on Friday. 

Bradham fined for tackle
Speaking of fines, Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham was hit with a $18,231 fine for his horse-collar tackle last Sunday on Bengals running back Jeremy Hill in the third quarter.

The first-year Eagle finished the game with five total tackles and a forced fumble.