Eagles Wake-Up Call: What To Watch For vs. NYJ

C.J. Smith. (Jeff Fusco)

C.J. Smith. (Jeff Fusco)

Despite most of the Eagles’ starters sitting for tonight’s game, there will still be several interesting players to keep an eye on as the Birds host the Jets at 7 p.m.:

Fighting For A Roster Spot

Surprisingly, Carson Wentz isn’t the Eagles rookie from North Dakota State who has made the most noise this preseason. While the quarterback has missed the last three games, undrafted free agent C.J. Smith has worked his way up the cornerback depth chart. After Aaron Grymes’ injury and subsequent departure, Smith is the favorite to make the 53-man roster if the Eagles keep six corners. Read more »

The Marcus Smith Dilemma: Keep Or Cut?

Marcus Smith. (Jeff Fusco)

Marcus Smith. (Jeff Fusco)

After two years of little production and play that only strengthened the “bust” label that surrounded him, Marcus Smith has finally given the Eagles a glimpse of why some once thought he could be a dangerous threat off the edge.

The defensive end has only played in two preseason games, one of which was against a weak Colts offensive line, but he still showed something. His performance in Pittsburgh, when he recorded four tackles, including two tackles-for-loss and one sack, earned him praise from Jim Schwartz, who doesn’t hand out compliments lightly.

“Marcus was doing really well. He just had a setback with the concussion and missed time. But he sort of picked up right where he left off. The thing I’m most proud about with Marcus is that he’s done a good job in the run game,” Schwartz said. “He’s a very skilled athlete. He’s fast and he’s smooth. I think he was a quarterback when he first went to Louisville. I mean, that stuff shows. Where he’s really making good improvement is setting the edge of our defense [and] attacking tackles. He did that against a physical group from Pittsburgh. That was a great sign.” Read more »

Kendricks, Shepherd, Smallwood Out For First Game

Mychal Kendricks. (Jeff Fusco)

Mychal Kendricks. (Jeff Fusco)

Malcolm Jenkins (hamstring), Marcus Johnson, Mychal Kendricks (hamstring), Mike Martin (knee), Jordan Matthews (knee), Jason Peters (quad), Hunter Sharp, JaCorey Shepherd (hamstring), Wendell Smallwood (quad) and Marcus Smith (concussion) will not play in the Eagles’ preseason game on Thursday against the Buccaneers. Peters, however, will work out with the team during pregame workouts and be in uniform. Read more »

Marcus Smith Suffers Concussion, Ertz Frustrated

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Marcus Smith suffered a concussion during practice on Friday, the Eagles announced. Jordan Matthews suffered a left knee sprain, but Doug Pederson told SiriusXM that Matthews will just be sore for a few days. Mike Martin (left knee sprain) also left practice early, while Nolan Carroll (ankle) was given the day off.

Zach Ertz, who was also evaluated for a head injury, was cleared, but he said he was “not happy” with how some of his teammates have approached the hitting periods. Ertz was hit low by Blake Countess today and by Rodney McLeod two days ago, while Matthews was hit low by Jalen Mills when he suffered his injury.

“Guys gotta be pros. Rookies coming in, they don’t know what the atmosphere is like, the respect that’s given in practice,” Ertz said. “I think it needs to be addressed, but it is what it is. It’s live football, so that situation is in the game. We got to get ready for it. Obviously, Jordan and I getting hurt today, you don’t want to see that.” Read more »

Jim Schwartz: Fletcher Cox Will Fit ‘Very Well’

Jim Schwartz. (USA Today Sports)

Jim Schwartz. (USA Today Sports)

In his first media availability since the Eagles hired him in January, Jim Schwartz didn’t want to talk about Fletcher Cox much on Tuesday afternoon. He declined to comment on whether he’s spoken to the Pro Bowl defensive tackle, and he didn’t want to answer any additional questions about the biggest name missing from the Eagles’ OTAs.

But when he did discuss Cox, Schwartz didn’t seem concerned the 25-year-old will fall far behind.

“It’s voluntary, so you can only do so much,” Schwartz said. “Fletch was drafted in a scheme that was similar to this; he’ll catch up. I’m sure there’ll be some carryover for him, but I assume he’s a fast learner and I assume he’ll pick things up quickly.

“We think scheme-wise and technique-wise, what we’ll do will fit him very well.” Read more »

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