Rookie Smith to have limited role against Jaguars

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - SPORTS - By JACK McCAF­FERY

PHILADEL­PHIA — The Ea­gles made Mar­cus Smith the No. 26 over­all pick in the first round of the 2014 draft, ex­pect­ing him to pro­vide fury and sacks from an out­side line­backer spot.

He will have chance Sun­day. Kind of. “He’ll have a limited role,” de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Bill Davis said Wed­nes­day, be­fore prac­tice at the No­vaCare Com­plex. “We are still not at that place where we are pos­i­tive of ev­ery­thing. We are game-plan­ning for cer­tain sit­u­a­tions. What they come at us with will dic­tate what we come back at them with — what per­son­nel group­ings we are in, how we use our play­ers and what the matchups are.

“So all of those things will fall into that decision.”

Smith regis­tered 24 sacks at Louisville, in­clud­ing 14.5 as a se­nior. But he did not reg­is­ter a sack in the pre­sea­son. He ended train­ing camp as a No. 2 out­side line­backer be­hind Con­nor Bar­win on

that the Birds’ pub­lished un­of­fi­cial depth chart.

“Mar­cus is like a lot of rook­ies,” Davis said. “You had the pre­sea­son where you con­tin­u­ally saw him get bet­ter, and he got more com­fort­able in the scheme. I think he stopped try­ing to make plays and let the plays come to him a lit­tle bit more.

“When you turn on the bright lights of the real sea­son, and it is all ‘ones’ against all ‘ones,’ I think things change a lit­tle bit. So as we move for­ward, we’ll grow all our rook­ies in the same light and see what they can han­dle, what they can’t. We will drop them in limited roles and grow it as they show us that they are ca­pa­ble of han­dling it.”

That plan works for Smith.

“It’s been gru­el­ing, a re­ally great train­ing camp,” he said after prac­tice. “It was the hard­est train­ing camp I’ve ever been in, as far as work­ing and try­ing to get my pass­rush to­gether. I think it’s been good.

“I’m not sure what my role will be, but what­ever the coaches want to do with me, that’s what I am go­ing to do.”


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