Smith’s Development “Stifled” By Switch

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

It was out of necessity that Marcus Smith II was shuffled from outside linebacker to inside linebacker earlier this year, and it is out of necessity that he is now being shuffled back to his original position.

Trent Cole broke his hand against Dallas and is expected to be sidelined for at least one week. That means Brandon Graham steps into the starter’s role while Smith figures to be the next man in.

“I expect to get some snaps. I’m not sure how many snaps I’ll get but I’m sure to get action,” said Smith. “Hopefully go out there, run around and just make a play.”

Smith is currently practicing at the Predator position, so he’ll likely rotate in for Graham at times. Bryan Braman is the other option at outside linebacker.

Smith was moved inside back in September after Mychal Kendricks and Najee Goode went down with injuries. He was already having a difficult time acclimating to the pro level, and now had to do so while learning a new position. The results haven’t been good. Smith has appeared in six games and has played just 74 snaps, totaling one tackle and one quarterback hurry.

“We set him back by moving him inside, but we needed that because of all the injuries we had at inside,” said Billy Davis. Read more »

Graham Finding Success, Blocking Out Noise

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Brandon Graham has tried to block out the noise.

During his five-year career, he’s pretty much heard it all. That he’s a bust. That the Eagles would be better off with someone else. That they should have never taken him with the 13th overall pick in the 2010 draft.

“People were… saying little stuff,” Graham said. “They used to be like, ‘Jason Pierre-Paul is better than you.’ Now they saying he ain’t. Now they’re like, ‘Oh man, we should have got Earl Thomas.’ Hopefully I can change all that.”

Thomas and Graham will be on the same field Sunday when the Eagles host the Seahawks. The names will forever be linked around these parts. When the Birds traded up in 2010, analyst Mike Mayock predicted on TV that they were going to grab the safety out of Texas. He was wrong. Since then, Thomas has developed into a guy most agree is the best safety in the NFL. Read more »

Game Review: Eagles Defense Vs. Titans

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Philadelphia Eagles

Here’s a player-by-player review of the Eagles’ defense after having re-watched Sunday’s game against the Titans.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Fletcher Cox – Another solid game out of Cox. The coaches credited him with one tackle, one sack and one hurry. Cox stopped Shonn Greene after a 4-yard run in the first. He disrupted a run play that gained 3. Good rush late in the first half, but Zach Mettenberger reset and completed a pass. Got some help from the coverage in the back end, slipped inside the offensive lineman and sacked Mettenberger in the second. Cox batted a pass on the next play. Drew a holding call on a run play in the third. Fought off defenders and stopped Bishop Sankey after a 4-yard run in the third. He played 62 percent of the snaps. Announcers made it a point to mention how much Chip Kelly praised Cox during production meetings. He’s had a great season. The Eagles need him to be disruptive against Dallas. Read more »

Midseason Grades: Eagles Defense

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

With eight games down and eight to go, let’s take a position-by-position look at where the Eagles stand. We’ll hand out grades for performances up to this point and project what’s in store for the months ahead.

Here’s the defense. We’ll get to the offense in a later installment. Read more »

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