Combine Notes: Lovie On Winston/Mariota

Jayne Kamin / Oncea / USA TODAY Sports

Jayne Kamin / Oncea / USA TODAY Sports

INDIANAPOLIS — An ESPN report earlier this month indicated that Tampa head coach Lovie Smith prefers Jameis Winston over Marcus Mariota.

Speaking at the Combine in Indianapolis Wednesday, Smith suggested that he would be comfortable making Winston the face of the franchise.

“I understand allegations are against him, I understand he went through the justice system, court system to be exonerated on some allegations against him. I understand some of the college things that a lot of guys do that you wish you wouldn’t later on. I understand some of the things that he did that are on his record right now. We just take all of the information that we could possibly get at this point.

“It’s early. Keep in mind that we are just to the Combine. We have a lot more research to do and we’ll do that. But right now, with the information I have right now, we haven’t taken him off our list or anything like that.”

A big part of this week in Indianapolis is interviewing the prospects. Smith said they haven’t really had the opportunity to sit down with Winston as of yet, and is looking forward to speaking with both Winston and Mariota.

Smith spoke highly of both quarterbacks, saying both have demonstrated accuracy and leadership the college level.

Will he factor playing style/scheme fit into the evaluation?

“Yes we will,” he said. “We would have to, of course. But again, we need a quarterback that can throw the ball and make a variety of throws. We need a leader and a guy that makes great decisions. We would like to have a guy that is mobile in the pocket, a guy that has won football games.

“This will help in the process. We’ll get a chance to know the players and see them up close and personal.”

Tampa general manager Jason Licht added that they are leaning towards using the pick and said it would “be an insult” to suggest that they have two guys tied at the top.

“We have a favorite,” he said. “But we want to let the process play out.”

Colbert on Worilds

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was asked about free-agent-to-be Jason Worilds, who was coveted by the Eagles last year before the Steelers placed the transition tag on him.

“Jason is an unrestricted free agent. We’ve talked,” said Colbert. “He understands that if he doesn’t get tagged — which we still could do — that he will explore the market and see what’s out there, and we’ll stay in communication. And maybe he comes back, maybe he moves on. He’s been a good player for us and we’d love to have him back if it all fits.”

Not exactly an impassioned speech about how badly they need him in the fold.

Eagles add linebackers coach

The Eagles have hired Brian Smith to be their assistant linebackers coach.

 Smith, 35, served as the Jets’ assistant defensive backs coach for the past two seasons.  Prior to joining the Jets in 2007 Smith was an assistant coach at the University of Massachusetts, working part of that time with the wide receivers, including Victor Cruz.

 Smith is a native of Wilmington, DE.