Marcus Smith, Ed Reynolds ‘Show Up’ In Win
Chip Kelly used the same turn of phrase when asked separately about Ed Reynolds and Marcus Smith in his post-game press conference.
“He showed up today,” Kelly said about both his first and fifth-rounds picks from last year.
Both players are starting to show signs of life after quiet starts to their respective careers in Philadelphia. Reynolds had a pair of interceptions Sunday in the Eagles’ preseason opener against the Colts. The first was on a long Bryan Bennett pass intended for Ryan Lankford. He got his hands on another Bennett throw later in the fourth, then came up with his second pick two plays later. When a reporter noted afterwards that he was close to having three interceptions on the day, Reynolds replied, “I should have had four.”
“He had two interceptions and a big tackle on the kickoff return. He’s a guy that’s pushing to make the 53-man roster and I’m happy for him,” said Kelly. “We put a big emphasis on how you play in the games, it’s not just about training sessions, it’s how you play when it’s live, full-go and I thought he did a nice job and put himself in a nice situation coming out of game one.”
Because of the NFL graduation rules, the Stanford product missed a good portion of last year’s offseason conditioning program and never really caught up. He was released when the roster was trimmed to 53 before being signed to the Eagles’ practice squad. With question marks at safety behind Malcolm Jenkins and Walter Thurmond, Reynolds has a chance to stick this year and possibly carve a niche out for himself if he continues to play well.
“I just want to prove to the Eagles that they didn’t waste a draft pick on me in the fifth round last year. I’m here to play, I’m comfortable back there, and now it’s just stacking those games on top of each other.
“I feel like this is just one step in the right direction to show these coaches that I can be that third safety, but at the same time it’s only one game. You’ve got to stack those days on top of each other. You’ve got the Baltimore Ravens coming this week. Just showing that it’s not just a one-time flash of greatness, trying to come out here and show it week in and week out.”
Smith saw a lot of snaps at outside linebacker Sunday against the Colts and also played special teams. He was credited with a tackle and a pass defensed. On one sequence in the second quarter, he got the better of tackle Denzelle Good and stopped Zurlon Tipton for no gain.
“I think I did better in the run game. I’m just bigger, stronger,” said Smith. “Playing against tight ends and playing against tackles, I think I can go up against anybody; if I’m going up against J.P. [Jason Peters] or anyone else in practice, it helps me out a lot in the game.”
Smith said he wasn’t totally happy with his pass rush, but felt he fared better not only against the run but in coverage. At one point he was one-on-one with tight end Erik Swoope, tracking him this way and that in the end zone before a pass in his direction finally fired and fell incomplete. That play can be looked at as a result of a lesson hard-learned. One moment Smith is remembered for from last year is when he stopped covering Frank Gore midway through a Colin Kaepernick scramble, leading to a 55-yard Niners touchdown.
“I always think about that play. You never leave your guy, even when the quarterback scrambles,” said Smith.
“He’s a year older, I think it’s not all new for him, I think he’s been there, done that,” said Kelly. “This isn’t his first preseason game or his first training camp. I just think there’s just a calming sense around him. He has a better grasp on what we’re trying to do. He’s really showed up in our training sessions and he showed up today.
“He’s carrying himself a little differently. He was excited about going out and playing a football game today, so we’re excited to see where this goes.”