Eagle Eye: Eagles D vs. Peyton Manning
Patrick Chung has 18 tackles in three games with the Eagles. (AP)
Eagles free safety Patrick Chung missed another practice Wednesday with a shoulder injury, and rookie Earl Wolff is poised to make his NFL starting debut Sunday against the Broncos if Chung is sidelined.
Wolff, the fifth-round pick from N.C. State who has shared time with Nate Allen at strong safety, is taking first-team practice reps in Chung’s place.
“Every week I prepare like I’m the starter, because you never know what can happen, even when you’re not the starter,” Wolff said. “I’m out there with the 1s, basically getting reps with them, which is going to help me from a communication standpoint.”
All other Eagles practiced Wednesday, including left tackle Jason Peters, who is playing through a dislocated middle finger on his left hand that he sustained against the Redskins in the season opener.
Peters, who allowed a sack by Tamba Hali in last Thursday’s game against Kansas City, said the finger would be problematic for him all season and prevents him from grabbing pass rushers the way he normally would.
“I’m working with it,” he said after practice. “I had to adjust against Kansas City because [the finger] came back out and I had to re-tape and it was hard for me to grab. But I worked it out. I just got to adjust with it, that’s all. It’s going to be all season.”
Wolff stands to be the only new starter as the Eagles try to stop a two-game losing streak against unbeaten Denver. He played 43 snaps against the Chiefs, his second-most of the season. In total, he’s played 100 snaps, or 42 percent of all defensive snaps.
It’s widely assumed that Wolff will supplant Allen as the starting strong safety at some point this season. Against Denver, he and Allen will compose the starting tandem if Chung isn’t ready to return. Chung injured his shoulder against the Chiefs.
“I just feel real comfortable out there,” Wolff said. “It’s not like I’m out there doing a lot of thinking. I feel like I’m reacting and actually playing football, which is basically what got me here. I feel like when I first got here I wasn’t real comfortable with everything. I was still kind of slow. I wasn’t reacting as much.
“Now, as I get more repetitions and I get more plays, I’ve started to feel more comfortable. Right now I feel like I’m very comfortable to the point where when I do go in and start I’m ready for the opportunity.”