Rookie Smith to have limited role against Jaguars
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.”