Molk steps in at center for Vandervelde

PHILADELPHIA -- David Molk was getting plenty of playing time at center while backup Julian Vandervelde was sidelined with a back injury. When doctors decided Vandervelde needed surgery late last week, Molk’s chances of making the Eagles’ roster became very good.

“I hope so,” Molk said after Sunday’s practice at Franklin Field. “The only sad thing is that this is kind of how the NFL works. Your gain is from someone else’s hurt, which is terrible. But that’s the business.”

In Jason Kelce, the Eagles have a center who seems custom-built for coach Chip Kelly’s offense. Kelce is smart, quick and mobile. Last season, the Eagles didn’t find out how much of a drop-off there would be if Kelce got hurt.

“It’s a strong zone offense,” Molk said. “Quick, athletic center is kind of what I am. That’s kind of where I’ve been slotted.”

He has also played guard, but is comfortable making the line calls and reading defenses, key chores for a center. Molk got plenty of playing time in the preseason opener in Chicago Friday night.

“I played well,” Molk said. “There were a couple little mental things, but overall it was a really good game. There’s always stuff. You could be a 10-year, Pro Bowl guy, and you have things to clean up. All of us have different things. I have things I need to tweak.”

The 6-foot-1, 290-pound Molk signed with the Eagles as a free agent during the offseason. He did not play in 2013 after being a late cut of the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers took Molk out of Michigan with a seventh-round pick in the 2012 draft.

Molk chose to join a team that saw all five starting linemen healthy for all 17 games last season. Already, the Eagles will be without starting right tackle Lane Johnson for four games. The loss of Vandervelde is another test of the team’s depth.

That’s where opportunities come from for guys like Molk.

“Lose a guy, lose two guys,” Molk said. “You’ve just got to go.”

As for Vandervelde, he was not at Franklin Field. But he did send out a message via Twitter.

“I believe God has the best plan for me, and like Gandalf after he feel with the Balrog in Moria I shall return stronger than ever!” Vandervelde tweeted.