PHILADELPHIA - Nate Allen is going to be one of the Eagles' starting safeties in Monday's season opener at Washington.

But rookie Earl Wolff will also be getting his share of playing time.

"Nate will start, but Earl is pushing him," Eagles coach Chip Kelly said Wednesday. "Earl is going to play defense (against the Redskins). We have to get him in the game."

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Allen, who is in his fourth season with the Eagles, enjoyed a solid preseason and training camp. The 2010 second-round draft pick seems to be fully recovered from the nagging injuries that have plagued him the last two years.

But Wolff, a fifth-round pick this year, has also been impressive. He proved to be a quick study of defensive coordinator Billy Davis' scheme and even got some reps with the starters during a few practices in training camp.


The Eagles filled out their eight-man practice squad Wednesday by signing former Raiders and Chiefs defensive end Brandon Bair.

Bair played for Kelly at the University of Oregon, as did safety Patrick Chung, linebacker Casey Matthews, wide receiver Jeff Maehl and fellow practice squad member Isaac Remington.

It raised the question if Kelly will be relying on Oregon players to help him build this program.

"If we were going to sing the Oregon fight song, it would (help)," Kelly said. "But besides that. ... I'm familiar with them and I know what they can do. But it's all about special teams. There are three ways to make this football team: special teams, special teams and special teams."


Kelly confirmed Wednesday that tackle Dennis Kelly (no relation) will not play at Washington after undergoing back surgery last month. Cornerback Brandon Hughes (broken hand) is also not expected to play.



Member of The Press sports staff since 1986, starting my 25th season as The Press Eagles' beat writer. Also cover boxing, MMA, golf, high school sports and everything else.

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