Marcus Smith did not attend the Eagles’ voluntary OTAs, but that’s not stopping the fourth-year defensive end from thinking he’s going to have a hell of a season.
Whether that is with the Philadelphia Eagles or not remains to be seen. In fact, due to Smith’s absence from OTAs, coupled with the Eagles signing Chris Long and drafting Derek Barnett, many have Smith pegged on the outside looking in. But, for Smith, he’s already on the inside.
In a rather candid Q&A session with reporters today, Smith didn’t sound like he’s worried about earning his spot on the 53-man roster come August. While Smith said missing voluntary OTAs was nothing more than him deciding to stay home and train, he said he and his agent haven’t asked the Eagles to release him.
Why did you decide to skip OTAs?
MARCUS SMITH: There wasn’t a reason. It was voluntary, and I just stayed at home and trained.
Do you feel like you missed anything?
SMITH: No. I don’t feel like I missed anything. I knew the playbook, knew the playbook well. I think when I went home, I was just working on my pass rush, working on stuff that I would be working on here.
How was it beneficial for you not to be here?
SMITH: I think the benefit is just being by yourself training, being with a coach and getting one-on-one training. I did want to be here, as far as being with my teammates, I just decided to stay home. It was just a decision that I made not regarding to the coaches, not regarding to the GM or my teammates. It was just my decision.
Have you or your agent asked them to release you now?
SMITH: No. I still want to make this team. I still want to be a part of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Do you think you have a good chance to make the team?
SMITH: Yes, I do.
What was your reaction when they drafted Derek [Barnett] and signed Chris Long, did that kind of get your attention?
SMITH: Well, I was happy because, first of all, Chris Long is a great pass rusher. He’s been in the league, this is going on his 10th year. And I always knew Derek Barnett because we trained with the same guy, Chuck Smith, so I was happy that they drafted him.
Are you surprised that your absence generated so much interest on the outside looking in?
SMITH: I wouldn’t say surprised. I wasn’t trying to make it any bigger than it already was. I didn’t want to mess with anybody’s head or anything. It was just a decision that I made.
Do you think it affects you? Do you think coaches look at you a different way because you didn’t go to the voluntary practices?
SMITH: No, I was still talking to my coaches and I don’t think it affected them any way. Me and my coach, we still talk and the assistant coaches, we still talk, so I don’t think it affected our relationship at all.
Do you expect to be on the team this year?
SMITH: Yeah. I’m expecting to be on the team. I’m expecting to play. I’m expecting to have a great year.
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