Davis: Smith Will Help With ‘Mirrored’ Defense

Marcus Smith II

Billy Davis wants a mirrored defense.

The Eagles’ defensive coordinator spoke Monday for the first time since the team used a first-round pick on outside linebacker Marcus Smith. Smith has been practicing at the Jack spot this spring – the position occupied last year by Connor Barwin. Davis provided insight on what the plan is for the Birds’ rookie.

“Marcus is a young guy that we had to start at a position to learn it,” he said. “The positions can be mirrored or they can take on little different variations depending on who’s out there – who’s out there at that time or even in a series. So it’s very flexible what I can do with the Jack and the Predator. But Marcus, we started at the Jack. There’s probably a little bit more versatility and movement. More of what he did in college was the Jack so we started him there. But I’m willing to bet once he settles down a little bit he can go either side.” Read more »

Photos From Eagles OTAs



Marcus Smith, the Jack And the Predator

NCAA Football: Louisville at Southern Mississippi

During Thursday’s practice at the NovaCare Complex, Eagles rookie Marcus Smith had to wait his turn.

First he watched veteran Connor Barwin run with the first team. And then he kept his eye on free agent addition Bryan Braman, who ran with the twos.

This is the way Chip Kelly has done things since he arrived, and there are a couple reasons for his philosophy. One is relatively straightforward: Make rookies earn their standing. Let them know that nothing will be handed to them.

And the other is more practical. To maximize efficiency and practice fast, guys have to know what they’re doing and where they’re supposed to be on every rep. If one player is confused, the pace slows down, and as far as Kelly is concerned, that’s unacceptable.

“I’m a patient learner,” Smith said. “I try to take everything in that my coaches tell me and I try to integrate [it] every day in practice. If I mess up on something, I try to ask my coaches exactly what I messed up on so I can look at in on film and be able to correct myself.” Read more »

Twitter Mailbag: Cole, Maclin And ‘Murderleg’

 

Jan 4, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) prepares to throw the ball as Philadelphia Eagles outside linebacker Trent Cole (58) and Eagles defensive end Fletcher Cox (91) chase in the first quarter during the 2013 NFC wild card playoff football game at Lincoln Financial Field. Photo |  Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 4, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) prepares to throw the ball as Philadelphia Eagles outside linebacker Trent Cole (58) and Eagles defensive end Fletcher Cox (91) chase in the first quarter during the 2013 NFC wild card playoff football game at Lincoln Financial Field. Photo | Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

Always follow the money, Nick.  Read more »

Do DeSean Jackson’s Teammates Want Him Back?

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Before Thursday night, only a couple teammates had voiced their opinions publicly about DeSean Jackson and his future with the team.

Mychal Kendricks backed Jackson during an interview with NFL.com. And Michael Vick, a former teammate of Jackson’s, told a New York TV station that change might be good for the wide receiver.

But as several Eagles strolled in to Todd Herremans’ Hoops 4 Help fundraiser, they knew what the topic of discussion was going to be when approached by a small group of reporters.

None could come up with a clear explanation for why the Eagles would be looking to move Jackson, but the general sentiment seemed to be that they would move forward with whatever decision the organization settled on. Read more »

Three Eagles Numbers That Matter

NFL: Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders

Here are three free agency-related Eagles numbers that matter.

18 – The number of missed tackles last year for Panthers safety Mike Mitchell, according to Pro Football Focus. That was tied for most among safeties.

As we’ve mentioned in this space, the Eagles are one of the teams that has looked into signing Mitchell. But it seems like many of you would be against the move based solely on the missed tackles number. And that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Read more »

Free Agency Preview: Outside Linebackers

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys

It’s no secret that the Eagles are in need of outside linebacker help.

Connor Barwin showcased his versatility last year and is a keeper on the left side. He’s not a prolific pass-rusher, but Barwin is excellent against the run, can line up in a variety of places and is good in coverage.

On the other side, Trent Cole did an admirable job of transitioning to a 3-4 OLB. But he’ll turn 32 next season and is still a bit of a square peg/round hole option. And the coaching staff saw Brandon Graham as purely a rotational player last season.

It’s possible that the Eagles go into 2014 with those same three rotating, but the better bet is that they add a piece either through free agency or the draft.

Keeping that in mind, here are four guys who will be on the market when free agency starts Tuesday. The two biggest names – Brian Orakpo and Jason Worilds - are staying with the Redskins and Steelers, respectively. So this is a watered-down group. Read more »

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