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Nate Allen (left) will start Monday night against Washington, but expect rookie Earl Wolff to see playing time on defense too. (AP and USA Today Images)
The safety competition between Nate Allen and Earl Wolff isn’t over yet.
Eagles coach Chip Kelly on Wednesday said the veteran Allen would start alongside Patrick Chung for Monday night’s season opener against the Redskins, citing the fourth-year pro’s experience and preseason performance.
But Kelly said Wolff, the impressive rookie out of N.C. State who would embrace a 50-50 split of snaps at safety, would also see time on the defense.
“Yeah, Earl’s pushing,” Kelly said in his first press conference of the regular season. “Earl is pushing. And he’ll play. It’s just right now Nate is ahead of him.”
Wolff will play on special teams, but Kelly said the fifth-round pick will factor into the defense, and not just on sub packages or specific formations but also in the base.
- Dennis Kelly, who had back surgery last month, is out for Monday’s game. In a good sign, Kelly wore a cap and jersey at practice Wednesday and warmed up with the team.
- Fullback James Casey, who tweaked his hamstring in the preseason finale against the Jets, practiced.
- Kelly had no update or recovery timetable for Brandon Hughes, who had surgery on his broken hand.
- Tight end Emil Igwenagu changed his jersey from No. 41 to No. 82, the number formerly worn by Clay Harbor, whom Igwenagu outlasted for the fourth tight end spot.