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 »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Jaylen Watkins Bounces Back

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

 Billy Davis noted on Monday that the first preseason game is generally the rockiest for the rookies. It’s their first time on the big stage under the bright lights wearing the shiny pants (h/t Pat Shurmur), and the moment can get a little big for them.

Jaylen Watkins seemed to be going through some of that. The rookie corner had his share of miscues against the Bears, none more noticeable than the 73-yard touchdown he gave up in the third quarter to receiver Chris Williams.

“The play I had a was a technique issue. It was all on me,” he said. “I make that play every day in practice. It’s something that I have to translate to the field.”

Watkins walked us through exactly what went wrong.
Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Rookie Progress Report

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

From time to time, we like to check in on how the Eagles’ draft picks are doing. With the first preseason game a day away, here’s an update.

Marcus Smith, OLB – He’s been running with the second team at the Jack spot behind Connor Barwin. And in all likelihood, that’s where Smith is going to see most of his action this season. He has looked the part from the first day of camp – long, athletic and can move in space. A couple days ago, he showed some feistiness, mixing it up with James Casey after the whistle. Smith, who has never before been to an NFL game, will likely make some normal rookie mental mistakes tomorrow night, but overall, he appears to be on schedule to contribute. Read more »

Photos: Eagles Rookies



Wake-Up Call: Matthews Training With the Best

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Pro Bowl is the mandate. We’re not here just to play football. We’re here to dominate.

That’s the motto that floated off the lips of Tom Bender when speaking of his Atlanta-based program, which trains anywhere from 25-35 NFL players at a time during the offseason. It sounds a bit bold until you consider that his clientele includes the likes of Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green and Demaryius Thomas, arguably the top three receivers in the game.

This is the environment Jordan Matthews has nestled into for the past week, and where he’ll remain until the Eagles open training camp.  Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Coaches Remain High On Watkins

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Much of the attention paid to Jaylen Watkins faded as the draft gave way to OTAs and minicamp.

The more that was learned about the Florida product after he was selected in the fourth round by the Eagles, the more expectations grew. A team captain who ran a 4.41 40 on a bad wheel that can play safety and corner? Some wondered if he could make a push for playing time from the jump.

Like many of  his fellow rookies, though, the Florida product found himself working with the third team for most of the spring. Any thoughts of him skyrocketing up the depth chart were put on hold as he began negotiating the steep NFL learning curve.

While he may not have captured the headlines or flashed as much as, say, fellow corner Nolan Carroll this spring, the coaching staff remains optimistic that Watkins can have an impact in 2014 — though there is still plenty of work to be done. Read more »

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