It’s been a promising camp for last season’s first round draft pick Marcus Smith. By promising, we mean it’s a huge improvement after the disappointment we saw last season.
There’s been a lot of praise for Marcus Smith this off-season, with players saying he looks the best he ever has and that he’s looking like a much more complete package. Well, Eagles fans had better hope they’re right because he is going to be tested hugely against the Colts on Sunday.
With no Kiko Alonso, no Kendricks and no DeMeco Ryans, the Eagles are worryingly light on linebackers. It seems almost obvious that Marcus Smith is going to take some reps as he’s thrust onto a stage and forced a mic into his hand whilst being expected to sing perfectly. Smith HAS to step up. Not just because of how light the team are at the position but because nobody has quite forgotten what happened last year.
It could be argued that The Eagles perhaps stunted Smith’s development when indecisively changing him between inside and outside linebacker in his eight games last season. Bill Davis has since confirmed he sees him as an outside Linebacker and that with the pressure removed, he has developed massively.
But now..the pressure is back on. Because whilst the spotlights have been diverted into wild trades, new signings and a re-shaping of both sides of the ball, without the big names there..the lights naturally fall back onto the former Louisville star.
Smith has had a decent camp, whilst inconsistent. One minute he’s mid flattening Dennis Kelly, the next he’s having rings run around him by Darren Sproles. He has improved physically and he looks much more impressive on the practice field, but can he do it in a gameday situation?
It’s the perfect opportunity to put the neighsayers down, to silence the critics and to prove his worth to Chip Kelly. With so many absences there is no question that Smith can work his way into the lineup with a series of good performances in pre-season. The Ravens are in town next week for a run of competitive sessions before their pre-season contest, giving Smith even more time to prove himself against Joe Flacco’s Offense. An experience that the injured players will naturally miss out on.
There will be a lot of things to watch out for in Sunday’s game against Andrew Luck’s Colts. The presence and stats of linebacker Marcus Smith will be one of them without a doubt.