Here are some Eagles-related links to check out this weekend. Read more »
Today’s question comes from reader Steve, via e-mail.
I remember hearing that Chip Kelly doesn’t like to play rookies, and aside from Jordan Matthews, Beau Allen and Cody Parkey, this seemed to be the case for the most part last year. It seems as though the media and the fans pretty much dismiss these second-year players as busts and give them little or no chance of developing. I think Josh Huff, Trey Burton, Ed Reynolds, Taylor Hart, Travis Long and Jaylen Watkins have the chance to develop into good players. Am I being overly optimistic about these players having a chance to develop into starter-types?
Let’s tackle the first part of the question, Steve.
I wouldn’t say that Kelly doesn’t like to play rookies. He’s been pretty consistent with his belief in running a meritocracy. The players who give the Eagles the best chance to win will get on the field. It doesn’t matter if they’re rookies, veterans or whatever. I believe Kelly 100 percent when he says he believes this is the only way to govern a team and manage playing time. Read more »
Below is a player-by-player look at how the Eagles’ rookie class performed in 2014 and what to expect going forward.
Marcus Smith (1st round, 26th overall)
He got on the field in eight of 16 games. Smith was inactive twice and a DNP-coach’s decision six times. In all, the Eagles’ first-round pick played just 68 snaps all season.
Smith started the season at outside linebacker, but switched to inside linebacker after the Eagles were decimated by injuries. At times, Billy Davis tried to use him in a specialized role in sub packages, but Smith’s head appeared to be spinning, and that experiment didn’t last. Read more »
Like many of you, I spent the weekend watching four playoff games and fell into the habit of viewing many things through an Eagles lens.
Keeping that in mind, here are five thoughts, along with a flurry of observations. Read more »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »