Marcus Smith Now Practicing At Inside LB

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Eagles first-round pick Marcus Smith II has yet to play a snap this season.

In Week 1, he was in uniform, but did not get on the field. In Week 2, he was one of the Eagles’ seven inactives.

It could be awhile before Smith contributes, but the Eagles have decided to try a different plan – for now. Smith spent the entire practice today working at inside linebacker, not outside linebacker. Read more »

Zone Read: Eagles-Colts, the Day After

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INDIANAPOLIS — With the Eagles facing a 2nd-and-goal from the Colts’ 19 yard line, Darren Sproles set up in the backfield to the right of Nick Foles.

The quarterback handed him the ball, and Sproles initially headed to the left, where his blocking was. But there was no hole, and the cutback was open, so he brought it back to the right side. Foles was a couple yards behind him carrying out his fake.

At the 15, there was safety Mike Adams waiting. Sproles juked him and headed further to his right where there was open field. At the 7, linebacker D’Qwell Jackson closed in and made contact, but didn’t wrap up. Another Colts defender went low, and cornerback Darius Butler tried to help out as well. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Defense Turns The Tide

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Indianapolis Colts
INDIANAPOLIS – It was 3rd-and-9 from the Eagles’ 22 and Andrew Luck was heating up.

The standout QB had never lost consecutive games in his young career and he was fixing to keep that streak alive. A 12-play, 80-yard drive capped by his seven-yard touchdown pass to Ahmad Bradshaw put the Colts up 27-20, and he had the offense in position to stretch the lead to double digits with just over five minutes to play.

And then, a remarkable turn of events. Read more »

Three Eagles-Colts Pregame Thoughts

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

INDIANAPOLIS – Here are three thoughts on the Eagles as we count down to kickoff.

1. Chip Kelly insists he didn’t go into last season with any preconceived notions about life in the NFL. That applied to big-picture stuff, but it also applied to on-field game-planning and specifically how teams would defend his offensive attack.

What he discovered was that the strategy of choice was a lot of man coverage. The Eagles’ run game was lethal, and teams had to guard against it. That meant loading the box, playing with a single high safety and daring Nick Foles and the receivers to beat them. Read more »

Three Eagles Leftovers

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Chip Kelly called it a notebook. Cody Parkey said it was a binder.

Either way, the head coach is impressed with the way his new kicker charts his performance on a daily basis.

“Practice and games, makes and misses,” Parkey said. “I go in and watch what I do good, what I do bad and what I can improve on every day. If I’m having a bad day of kicking, I can go back and say, ‘I went 10 for 10 this day. What did I do here? What I did do on the bad day?’ Compare ‘em so when I come back the next day, I know what I need to do to better myself.”

As part of his daily routine, Parkey now watches all his kicks on film with special teams coach Dave Fipp. In addition to charting makes and misses, he takes notes on mechanical strengths and weaknesses. He’s been doing it since his college days at Auburn and believes the daily evaluation will serve him well at the NFL level. Read more »

All-22: Strong Start For Eagles Defense

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Billy Davis is expecting improvement on the defense to come from two separate areas.

One is that players from last year are more comfortable in the Eagles’ 3-4. And two is that he’s now able to add more layers to the scheme.

“Looking at last year, a lot of things we did, we were growing into this,” Davis said. “And it’s nothing more than a progression of growth from the end of last year to again a couple pieces we added and a couple schematic things we added to it and just threw it all at them. We will continue to grow that and hopefully continue to grow that way with both the understanding they have in our scheme and the scheme itself.”

Sunday’s Week 1 win against the Jaguars was a good start. It must be noted that Jacksonville could end up being one of the five worst offenses in the league. But after a couple lapses early, the Eagles’ defense dominated in the second half. Jacksonville was held scoreless on eight second-half possessions: five punts, a turnover on downs, a fumble and the end of the game.

The pass-rush, a question mark going into the season, looked like a strength against the Jaguars’ below-average offensive line. And players like Fletcher Cox and Mychal Kendricks turned in outstanding individual performances. Below is a look at what we saw in Week 1. Read more »

Boykin Sees Limited Reps Against Jags

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Arguing the merits of moving Brandon Boykin outside is the equivalent of banging your head against the wall at this point. As Chip Kelly re-emphasized at his day-after press conference Monday, it’s not happening.

“It really is how we practice and he practices as our nickel corner.  It’s a very vital position for us.  Billy [Davis] said that that’s a starting position for us, I say that’s a starting position for us, that’s kind of where it is,” said Kelly. “Our third corner outside right now [behind Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams] is Nolan Carroll.”

While the importance of the nickel corner position makes Boykin a starter in their mind, the fact remains that one of the team’s top playmakers sees a limited amount of reps in his current role. That was particularly true in the opener against Jacksonville, as Boykin played 23 of a possible 73 snaps, or 32 percent of the time.
Read more »

Davis: Smith Will Have ‘Limited Role’ Sunday

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The progress of rookie Marcus Smith II has turned into a daily storyline at the NovaCare Complex.

T-Mac wrote about the Eagles’ first-round pick this morning, and in the afternoon, defensive coordinator Billy Davis was asked what kind of role Smith would have Sunday against the Jaguars.

“He’ll have a limited role,” Davis said. “We’re still not at that place where we’re positive with everything. We’re game-planning for certain situations. What they come at us with will dictate what we can come back at them with, what personnel groupings we’re in, how we use our players, what the matchups are. So all those things will fall into that decision.

“Marcus is like a lot of rookies. You have the preseason where you continually saw him get better and he got more comfortable in the scheme. I think he stopped trying to make plays and let the plays come to him a little bit more. I think when you turn on the bright lights of the real season and it’s all ones against all ones, I think things change a little bit. As we move forward, we’ll grow all our rookies in the same light. We’ll see what they can handle, what they can’t, drop ‘em in their limited roles and grow it as they show us that they’re capable of handling it.” Read more »

Playmaker: The Rise Of Brandon Boykin

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles-Training Camp

On the basketball court is where Al Boykin first really took notice.

Big brother was a high school sophomore and had grown accustomed to having to drag Brandon along with him wherever he went. On this occasion, the setup was a two-on-two game against a couple of older kids in their neighborhood.

“At first, it started out as, ‘Man, I gotta play with my brother. He’s six years younger than us. It might not be much of a game,’ ” Al recalled. “And then we started playing. He was actually killing the other guy. At that point, it was like, ‘Yeah, you could play, bro.’ It was good. And we just rolled it from there.”

Alfred, their father, saw it on the baseball diamond at a much earlier age.

“When he was 5-years-old, I put him in T-ball,” he said. “And I saw that he understood exactly what he needed to do right away. I didn’t have to teach him or anything. He was just 5-years-old, a little kid, and he loved it. …He was a fast learner. He loved sports.”

In every class, there is a kid who seems to win every race. The guy who plays quarterback and shortstop. The one who’s able to climb the ropes with ease, while others struggle to make it past the bottom knot. The first one picked, and the last one standing.

In Fayetteville, Ga., that kid was Brandon Boykin. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Cole In Year 10

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Trent Cole is well aware that this is his 10th season in the NFL. He is at the point in his career where there is some inner-dialogue going on about how much longer he will be able to play this game.

“You kind of [ask] yourself, ‘When is that time going to come when you say, ‘It’s time to put ‘em up, Trent. You’re done. It’s your time,’ ” he said.

One thing that the 31-year-old knows for sure is he hasn’t hit that point yet.

“I don’t know what it is, man, but I feel good,” said Cole, rolling into a half-crazed laugh, “and I’m ready to [expletive] rock-’n’-roll.” Read more »

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