MYCHAL KENDRICKS leads the NFL with four fumble recoveries.
This is not a major stat. In fact, Kendricks had no idea of his lofty status until a reporter informed him of it yesterday.
"That's good," the Eagles' second-year linebacker said, clearly somewhat less than transformed by the news.
So, falling on fumbles. Largely luck, or skill?
"I think it's a mixture of both," Kendricks said. "You've got to be able to get there, but part of it is being at the right place at the right time, as well."
Kendricks' recovery in Sunday's snow game was a key moment in the Eagles' 34-20 victory. The Eagles were up 28-20 in the fourth quarter, but the Lions had first-and-10 at the Birds' 24, when the shotgun snap flew past Matthew Stafford, clearly surprising the Detroit quarterback. Then, unaccountably, Stafford started trying to sift through several inches of snow to pick up the ball, instead of falling on it.
Much slippery sliding and flailing ensued, until Kendricks was atop the ball at the Eagles' 40. Six plays later, Chris Polk ran for the TD that set the final score.
"It was a bad snap. I don't know what the miscommunication was between them . . . the guard in front of me wasn't ready [for the snap], either," Kendricks said. "I remember him saying, 'Oh, [bleep]!' I took advantage of that and ran right by him."
When Kendricks arrived, Stafford had his hands on the ball again. Then he didn't.
"He tried to pick it up, it fell out one more time. I knew I had it then," Kendricks said.
Wolff ready to howl?
Earl Wolff was still a limited participant in yesterday's practice, but the rookie safety said he was able to do more and felt better than when he first returned to the field on Tuesday. He said his hyperextended knee is "about 90 percent . . . possibly I'll be able to go Sunday. We'll see."
Reading between the lines, he would seem to still be less than 50-50 for this week, after having been sidelined since the Nov. 10 Packers game.
"I just think Nick's a great teammate. He's a very, very unselfish player," Chip Kelly said yesterday when asked about quarterback Nick Foles, who adorns the Sports Illustrated regional cover this week.
"I'm not gonna put 'em all over my house and look at 'em and just think I've arrived," Foles said, when asked about the cover. "I have a lot of flaws, a lot of work to do. In fact, I have to get to the weight room right now to work."
Then he politely deferred further questioning until today's scheduled media session.
Chip Kelly talked about the surprising (to us, anyway) deep success Riley Cooper has had this season, averaging 19.3 yards per catch. Cooper, stereotyped as a big, possession-type receiver, has been a very effective deep threat.
"One of the things Riley has is a great background in baseball," Kelly said. "He does an unbelievable job tracking the ball . . . that catch he made on the post-route [for 44 yards Sunday], he did a great job tracking the ball . . . I think that's a real skill that he has. Watching in practice, you can see him, he can adjust to the thrown ball, and it's not an easy thing . . . with Riley, you can miss him a little bit [with the throw], but because of his ability to adjust to the thrown ball," he can still make the catch.
"This isn't a track meet," Kelly added.
Linebacker Najee Goode (hamstring) did not practice . . . Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, asked on a conference call about the 2010 Eagles-Vikings game that was postponed 2 days because of a forecast that called for heavy snow, said: "All of a sudden now, you guys can play in a blizzard, huh?" . . . Allen said the 3-9-1 Vikings could be leading the NFC North had they not blown so many games at the very end . . . The Eagles' music mix this week includes random tootings from a horn like the one played at Vikings games. Chip Kelly said he had nothing to do with this. "I thought it was the horn from 'Anchorman,' " he said.