Philadelphia Eagles safety Nate Allen is listed as questionable on the team’s injury report, making it a 50-50 chance he plays Sunday when the team travels to Houston.
Allen injured his hamstring in last week’s 24-20 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, a game in which he was beaten for a 75-yard touchdown pass from Carson Palmer to rookie speedster John Brown in the final minutes.
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Tuesday, Allen took part in the team’s abbreviated practice, but then sat out Wednesday and Thursday, although he did some light jogging and stretching Thursday.
"We’ll just see how it goes," Allen said. "I’m getting treatment, doing everything I can."
If Allen cannot play, second-year safety Earl Wolff would likely get the start, although Eagles coach Chip Kelly wouldn’t say that was a definite.
Special teams ace Chris Maragos and rookie Jaylen Watkins could also see time, if Allen is inactive.
Maragos, signed as a free agent from Seattle this offseason, has been strictly a special teams player since he arrived. Watkins, a fourth-round pick from Florida, has been inactive in five of the team’s seven games. He’s gotten most of his practice reps at cornerback.
"It depends on how we go through training and what package Billy (defensive coordinator Billy Davis) is in and how we are doing. So there are a lot of different variables that are involved in that," Kelly said.
"Maragos is a guy that’s involved in the mix. Watkins is a guy that’s involved in the mix."
Wolff has gotten most, if not all, of the first team reps in practice this week. Still the head coach was lukewarm at best in his assessment of the second-year player.
"Earl’s been OK," Kelly said. "I think he needs to be a little more consistent from that standpoint. But he’s OK."
Asked to elaborate on what Wolff needs to do better, Kelly made it clearer.
"Everything," he said. "I think everybody does, though. That’s not a slight of Earl. There’s no one right now that I can say `Hey, they got it, go take it in, don’t practice today.’ I think (Wolff) needs to show us he can become more consistent in terms of the way he practices and I think he’ll be the first to tell you that."
Wolff agreed with Kelly — somewhat.
"I have a lot of confidence in myself, and my teammates have a lot of confidence in me," Wolff said. "I know I can play at a high level. It’s just all about the consistency."
Wolff started six games as a rookie, but a nagging knee injury kept him on the sidelines more than he was on the field. The knee flared up again last week, but he’s not even listed on this week’s injury report.
"He hasn’t gotten a lot of plays in the game, but he’s gotten plenty in practice," safety Malcolm Jenkins said of Wolff. "Earl’s a good athlete. He can do everything we ask him to do: play in the box, play deep. The biggest thing is the communication, and settling that side of the field.
"He has to know when to make the calls, when the offense moves, reiterating the calls, making his calls loud so everybody understands what he’s doing, so everybody is on the same page. That’s really the biggest concern. We have to have all of our guys on the same page, so we don’t have confusion and those blown coverages."
NOTES: Center Jason Kelce, coming back from sports hernia surgery, was listed as probable for Sunday’s game. Also probable were running back Darren Sproles (knee), who missed last week’s game in Arizona, and guard Todd Herremans, who is playing with a torn triceps.