Jim Schwartz isn’t out on Marcus Smith. Philly.com:
The simplified narrative from people covering the Eagles has been, ex-practice squad defensive end Steven Means good, 2014 first-round draft choice Marcus Smith bad, but that perception might be colored by Smith’s poor first two seasons here, and by all the time he missed in this training camp with a concussion. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz also likes Means, Schwartz said Tuesday, but not necessarily at the expense of Smith. Asked what he’d seen from those two, Schwartz said: “Same stuff we’ve seen from those guys in training camp just about every day. You guys were probably on Steven Means before anybody else because you saw the same things we saw. And Marcus was doing really well. He just had a setback with the concussion and missed time. But he sort of picked up right where he left off.
Stephen Tulloch once got mad at Jim Schwartz for trying to give him a day off. Philly.com:
Tulloch said he invests in his body the same way he would invest in the stock market, and Schwartz said he’s unconcerned about Tulloch’s fitness level this late in the summer because of the way Tulloch trains. In 2013 in Detroit, Schwartz tried giving Tulloch a day off in training camp. Tulloch went to Schwartz’s office upset. He said he has never missed a game or practice going back to high school. He called practice “more important than the game.”
Tulloch is here for whatever is asked of him. Philly.com:
On Tulloch’s first day, two things became clear: Tulloch, 31, is eager to embrace whatever role Schwartz gives him. And no one on this team has a closer, deeper connection with the coordinator. For now, the first factor will keep any friction from developing, but in the long run, it’s hard to see the second factor not figuring into the story of the 2016 season. “Just come in and play ball,” is his goal, Tulloch said. “I didn’t ask (Schwartz), when I first came here, what role I was going to play. I just told coach, whatever you need me to do, I’ll do. “I know what he does, I know what he expects out of his players. If that helps younger guys get better, I’ll do that.”
And Tulloch feels very comfortable in the defense. Philly Mag:
“I feel most comfortable with this defense,” Tulloch said. “Teryl Austin’s defense in Detroit, [a] very good defense, [was] something I was getting used to going into my second year there. But obviously, I played in this defense for about six, seven years and numerous games, numerous playoff games, battling back down to the Colts many years in the AFC South, so we’ve been through it. Some tweaks have been made along the way through his time in Buffalo coming here, but it’s pretty much the same defense.”
Darren Sproles is set to take on a more standard role. Philly Voice:
When asked who might fill a role similar to Woodhead’s, Reich pointed to the obvious answer. “Sproles is the original. He’s the prototype,” said Reich. “Right from the start, I remember first coming in when (Doug Pederson) hired me, some of the immediate talk was how we get to use a guy like Darren Sproles.” In San Diego, it didn’t end with Woodhead. The trio of Melvin Gordon, Brandon Oliver, and Donald Brown chipped in an additional 54 catches in 2015. “All the backs have shown a good aptitude to pick things up in the pass game, and be good route runners,” Reich added, “so we think we can mix it up, but certainly Darren, he’s the starting point.”
The players the Eagles have in place are very important because of the future cap situation. Philly Voice:
The Eagles aren’t going to be able to do much in 2017 or 2018 free agency, as they have the least amount of cap space in the NFL both of those years. We spend a lot of time here talking about if Carson Wentz can become that franchise quarterback, and make no mistake, he’s the most important piece of the puzzle. But Roseman also needs production out of almost all of the players he locked up. With the Eagles missing draft picks in addition to cap space, this doesn’t figure to be a particularly deep roster anytime soon.
Marcus Hayes thinks the team needs leaders. Philly.com:
No team in Jeffrey Lurie’s era of ownership has featured less dynamic star power to act as the voices of the team. Leadership is intangible, and leadership is often dismissed, but leadership in a brutal, short-term job like the NFL cannot be overstated. All good teams have capable leaders, and the best leaders combine talent on the field with the ability to articulate issues off the field; and, if necessary, administer justice in the locker room. It’s hard to be sheriff and spokesman if you’re an ordinary player. Howie Roseman seems to have compiled a team chock full of ordinary players.
And rookie RB Wendell Smallwood is excited to finally hit the field. CSN:
“I’m really excited, ready to go,” Smallwood said Tuesday. “It’s been a while since I’ve been in a game.” Smallwood held out some hope that he would play against the Steelers, but said he never cleared the final hurdle.
“The trainers and coaches didn’t feel like I had my last burst,” he said. “I didn’t feel like I was up to full speed, I was about 85 percent running. I didn’t feel like I had that last gear … this week, I’m back to full speed.” As he discussed last week, Smallwood has maintained his focus and tried to learn from watching his teammates while on the sidelines. Given his desire to impress as a rookie and the fact that he’s never missed a game before in his football career, that’s obviously been a challenge. Running backs coach Duce Staley and veterans like Darren Sproles understand that and have paid close attention to Smallwood’s development.