Marcus Smith's work as an inside linebacker might be more than a temporary move while Mychal Kendricks is absent.
Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis said Tuesday that Smith is still an outside linebacker, but he did not rule out keeping the first-round pick on the inside.
"This is a let's-see-if-he-can-do-it move," Davis said. "At the end of the day, if it doesn't work out and he goes back outside, he's going to have a broader understanding of the defense and all the calls because he would have seen it through two different positional eyes. It does help you overall. It will make him a better outside 'backer if we decide to say, 'Hey, this experiment didn't work, we'll move you back outside.' "
Smith was a surprise selection in the first round of May's draft. The Eagles have pledged patience in his development. The move to inside linebacker seemed to take valuable practice and meeting time away from Smith, although it allowed him to play for the first time this season. Smith took 16 defensive snaps against Washington. Davis said he did "a nice job."
"It's a learning curve that's a little bit different, so at first he'll be a little more hesitant, but as he gets reps and we grow him, we'll see if he has the skill set in there," Davis said. "He really does add another dynamic of a pressure, of a blitzer in there from the inside linebacker position, especially in our nickel package."
Smith said he is not sure how long this will last, but he hopes to "find a home." Smith is playing exclusively on the inside at practice and meeting only with the inside linebackers. The question now is when - or if - he will move back.
"It's a better role and an opportunity for me to learn the defense better and play a lot more this year," Smith said.
Davis intimated that the Eagles do not think Brandon Boykin would be better than Cary Williams or Bradley Fletcher at outside cornerback. Boykin, one of the top slot cornerbacks in the NFL, has played only 31.8 percent of the defensive snaps this season.
"If you want to start him at corner, then you say he's better than Fletch and Cary out there, and . . . obviously we start who we think are the best players at those positions," Davis said. "We're really happy about what he's doing in there at the nickel spot, and then when we play games with more nickel, he gets more opportunities."
No fine for Baker
Troy Vincent, the NFL's executive vice president of football operations, told the Washington Post that Redskins defensive lineman Chris Baker's hit on Nick Foles was legal. Although there might be fines for the ensuing fight, Vincent said Baker would not be disciplined for the hit.
"Baker didn't do anything wrong with that hit," Vincent told the newspaper. "When you look at the rule, he didn't do anything illegal. . . . He didn't hit him in the head. He didn't hit him in the neck."
Kendricks (calf) and defensive lineman Fletcher Cox (unknown injury) apparently did not practice Tuesday. The Eagles do not need to release injury reports on Tuesdays. . . . Wide receiver Josh Huff, who has been inactive for all three games with a shoulder injury, expects to be healthy Sunday.