Eagles Wake-Up Call: What Life’s Like For Marcus Smith II

Marcus Smith

Tra Thomas wasn’t wearing pads or a uniform. Instead, he was dressed in a black Eagles t-shirt and black shorts.

With his hat cocked to the side and dark sunglasses covering his eyes, Thomas settled into his stance at left tackle just as he’d done thousands of times throughout the course of his 12-year career.

Lined up across from him, angled to the left, was rookie Marcus Smith II. Thomas, now an assistant on Chip Kelly’s staff, started 174 games in the NFL and made the Pro Bowl three times. He’s seen 4-3 fronts, 3-4 fronts and everything in between. On some weeks, he faced the game’s best pass-rushers. On other occasions, guys that had no chance of getting past him.

In 1998, the Eagles took Thomas in the first round. In 2014, they took Smith. And on Monday after practice, the two were working together. Read more »

Expect More Base Looks From Eagles ‘D’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Billy Davis and the Eagles made a decision going into last year’s playoff game against the Saints: Commit resources to stopping Drew Brees,and force New Orleans to move the ball with its ground game.

In the first half, the gameplan worked well as Sean Payton’s offense managed just six points. But in the second half, the Saints got going, scoring on four of five possessions to secure a victory.

In reality, it was a pick-your-poison situation. Against the Saints’ prolific passing attack, Davis wanted Brandon Boykin on the field. But against the Eagles’ nickel package, New Orleans ran 13 times for 84 yards (6.5 YPC).

Fast-forward to 2014, and Davis feels like he has more options – specifically because of the addition of Malcolm Jenkins.

“Absolutely,” Davis said, when asked if Jenkins’ versatility will allow him to stay in base more this season. “I think all of our safeties have the skill set of being able to come down and cover a third wide receiver. I don’t have to put nickel on the field. Read more »

Foles, Eagles Add Back Shoulder Fade To Arsenal

backshoulderd_all22

During a team period earlier this week, Jeremy Maclin found himself lined up one-on-one against cornerback Bradley Fletcher.

Maclin got an outside release and headed straight up the sideline, but at about 15 yards downfield, he slammed on the brakes, turned around, flashed his hands late and caught a Nick Foles pass that was already there waiting for him.

It’s the back shoulder fade – a weapon Foles, Chip Kelly and the Eagles are looking to add to their arsenal as they prepare for 2014. Read more »

Camp Notes: Wolff Runs With the Ones

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

For much of the spring and summer, Nate Allen has occupied the starting safety spot opposite Malcolm Jenkins. On Wednesday, though, it was Earl Wolff running with the ones.

“I saw it this morning,” said Wolff, speaking about the depth chart. “I don’t think too much of it. I just went in there, made a couple plays.”

“I thought he did well,” added Jenkins. “As far as communications he was loud, he was on point, he thought before the play. I know they’re going to be continuously rotating — even I was with the twos a couple practices ago — it’s good for him to get that exposure, those reps, and I’m watching the competition just like you guys.” Read more »

All-22: How the Eagles Lean On Cover 3

cover3a_all22

Your 2014 Eagles Almanac is now available for pre-order.

If you’ve missed this publication the past two years, it’s a comprehensive look at the season ahead with contributions from a variety of talented writers.

There are also some untalented writers who are allowed to pen chapters. That’s where Tim and I come in.

My piece this year focused on the defense as a whole. What did Billy Davis run in his first year as the Eagles’ coordinator? What were the strengths and weaknesses? What changes are in store going forward?

Below is part of what I wrote, focusing on one of the Eagles’ primary schemes on the back end: the Cover 3.

And remember, order your Eagles Almanac today! Read more »

On the Allen/Jenkins Dynamic

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Chip Kelly cracked wise as a reporter began asking whether Nate Allen and Malcolm Jenkins play a physical enough brand of ball to be an effective safety duo.

“They’ve been knocking the [stuffing] out of people in OTAs, so be ready for that,” Kelly quipped.

Joking aside, the two safeties currently atop the depth chart aren’t exactly known for laying the lumber. Philosophically, how important is it to have an enforcer in the back end in the head coach’s view? Read more »

Photos: Eagles Mini-Camp, Day One



« Older Posts