Eagles Notebook: Molk making a place for himself

Posted: August 12, 2014

PLAYERS WHO can be pretty sure they're going to make the Eagles' 53-man roster for the start of the regular season: LeSean McCoy. Nick Foles. Jason Peters. Trent Cole. David Molk.

Yes, David Molk. The guy wearing Danny Watkins' old No. 63 jersey became the Birds' backup center when Julian Vandervelde underwent back surgery late last week. Starter Jason Kelce and Molk now are the only centers on the team, though one probably will be added, given that two is a really small number on a 90-man training-camp roster.

But it seems unlikely anyone is going to come in off the street this late and unseat Molk, who has had a solid camp. When Kelce sat down after 18 snaps Friday in Chicago, Molk played the rest of the way, 41 snaps with quarterbacks Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley and G.J. Kinne.

Molk, 25, was a seventh-round pick of the Chargers in 2012, from Michigan. He appeared in 12 games as a rookie but was cut just before last season, and never signed anywhere.

Asked after yesterday's practice at Franklin Field if he were more optimistic about making the roster, following Vandervelde's surgery, Molk said: "Well, I hope so!" in a kind of "no-duh!" tone. "The only sad thing is that this is how the NFL works, that your gain is off someone else's hurt, which is terrible, but that's the business."

Vandervelde went to the sidelines very early in camp. The surgery was first reported by Phillymag.com, then was confirmed yesterday by the Eagles, who offered no prognosis. Vandervelde's injury is thought to be similar to that of guard-tackle Dennis Kelly a year ago. Kelly, a fifth-round pick in 2012, had disc surgery during training camp and was able to get back to practice a few weeks into the season, but he never played in a game in 2013.

Vandervelde, a fifth-round pick in 2011, tweeted yesterday: "I believe God has the best plan for me, and like Gandalf after he fell with the Balrog in Moria, I shall return stronger than ever."

Vandervelde later told the Daily News he doesn't know how long he'll be sidelined, that he is "just trying to get a little better every day, get back to the field ASAP."

Molk said he felt he played well against the Bears. He said he is "very comfortable" making blocking calls at the line.

He said he thinks he fits well into the Chip Kelly-Jeff Stoutland style of o-lineman.

"It's a strong zone offense. Quick, athletic center is kind of what I am, so it's perfect," said Molk, listed at 6-1, 290.

"David Molk's a great player," Kelce said yesterday. "He's really come on strong here for us . . . He had a great first game. He's really solidifying the backup role . . . Right now, Molk's playing just as good as me."

Birdseed

Wideouts Riley Cooper and Jeff Maehl, who had been sidelined with foot/ankle injuries, returned to practice, at least for individual drills . . . Chip Kelly said linebacker Casey Matthews (back) should practice by tomorrow, when the Eagles move to New England for three sessions in advance of Friday's preseason game. He said he anticipates running back Matthew Tucker (hamstring) coming back this week.

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