Smith, Laws Making Up for Lost Time

Steve Smith speaks with the media after practice Monday. (Photo by Les Bowen)

Wideout Steve Smith knows he has a spot on the Eagles' roster, he just isn't sure how big a spot, how soon.

Trevor Laws is in a tougher position, having needed a solid camp to cement his defensive tackle role, and then having missed three weeks with a hip flexor.

Both were practicing today, trying to make up for what they've missed, feeling good about where they are, and where they hope to be when the team opens its season Sept. 11 in St. Louis.

 Smith, who has practiced three days in a row in his return from knee mocrofracture surgery, reiterated that he hopes to be able to play in the opener. Today he said he expects he'll have a specific, limited package of plays, partly because of his recovering knee, partly because he is still so new to the Eagles' offense.

"I'm not all the way, but I'm out here, being able to work," Smith said. On Saturday, when he practiced for the first time, Smith cautioned that he hadn't had a defensive back pushing or pressing on him yet, wasn't sure how his knee would respond.

"I've had some of that the past few days," Smith said today. "It's felt pretty good. It's (good) enough where I'm able to continue my route, get in and out of my cuts."

Laws was the Eagles' top pick in 2008, in the second round, chosen 47th overall, two slots ahead of DeSean Jackson. His first two years were so disappointing that he came to camp a year ago needing to show something to stick around, and he did. Laws worked his way into the d-tackle rotation last yeat, got his first career start, his first four career sacks, and his first interception.

But Laws still had something to prove this year, playing for a new d-line coach in Jim Washburn, particularly with the Eagles adding DTs Derek Landri and Anthony Hargrove during camp, in addition to Cullen Jenkins, who steps into the starting job vacated by the trade of Brodrick Bunkley.

Laws worked extremely hard during the lockout and felt he was in his best shape ever as camp began. He lasted a week.

"I'm able to practice. It's a lot better than it was before," Laws said. "I'm not 100 percent, I wouldn't say, but I've made huge strides in my recovery process ... It's the worst. You spend the whole offseason working your tail off, getting your body right, only to come into camp and blow a little gasket. It (stinks). But it's good to be back in time for the regular season; I'll start making plays when it matters."

Laws was asked if he feels he has to show something in Thursday's subfest, the final preseason game, at the New York Jets.

"I don't know. They know what I've got. I played last year and did good for 'em. I just want to get out there and get back to playing," Laws said.

Landri, Laws' former Notre Dame teammate, has played and practiced well. He might be standing between Laws and a roster spot right now.

"I'm happy for him," Laws said. "He's been ballin' out."


Wideout Sinorice Moss left practice with a knee contusion, the Eagles said.