Eagles Insider

How concerned is Nick Sirianni about DeVonta Smith's drops?

Eagles Insider

Remember how the word on DeVonta Smith was that he'll never drop a pass?

About that ...

Smith has had a bad drop in each of the Eagles' last two games, and in the loss to the Raiders he had two other non-catches that may not technically have been drops -- they weren't perfect throws -- but they were passes Smith should have caught. They were both borderline drops.

Nick Sirianni said his philosophy about drops is to address the issue but don't dwell on it.

"I played wide receiver, and so when you have a couple drops in a couple games back-to-back, my experience with wide receivers and my experience as a wide receiver individually, is that you don't want to go there," he said. "You want to fix the issues that happen. You want to fix the technique that happened with it. But you don't want to make a big deal about it."

Smith's drop in the win over the Lions came on the Eagles' first offensive play of the game. That turned out to be their only drive that didn't result in points.

In a game where the Eagles threw only 14 times, Smith was targeted just two more times and caught one pass for a career-low 15 yards.

"I want DeVonta to catch the ball really bad on 1st-and-10, first play of the game," Sirianni said. "You want Devonta to catch the ball really bad. The fans want DeVonta to catch the ball really bad. But nobody wants to catch the ball more than DeVonta wants to catch that ball. 

 

"That's just a spot with wide receiver play that I've never (yelled), 'Catch the ball!' And (I'm not) getting mad at a guy for not catching the ball. You fix what's wrong fundamentally and move on. It's been my experience to never dwell on a drop. You just try to build that confidence back up."

Overall, Smith is having a good year. But not a great year.

He has 33 catches for 421 yards and one touchdown but doesn't have a catch longer than 37 yards and has only one over 25 yards.

Smith is on pace for 70 catches for 894 yards. That's 53 yards per game, and that's 6th-highest ever by an Eagles rookie. Not bad. But not great. Especially for the 10th pick in the draft.

Smith trails only Bengals WR Ja'Marr Chase (786 yards, seven TDs) and Falcons TE Kyle Pitts (484 yards) in receiving yards among rookies.

Jalen Hurts doesn't throw to the wide receivers a ton. All the WRs have a combined 75 catches, or just 9½ per game.

So there aren't going to be a ton of opportunities for Smith, and he's got to take advantage of the ones he gets.

That means if the ball is thrown slightly behind him or a little high? If it's not a perfect throw? Go catch the football. 

"He knows he has good hands," Sirianni said. "He knows he has great hands. We have a lot of confidence in him. It's just duplicating the style of catch that he dropped, which has been right in that midsection right there, because sometimes when it's right in that place you're like, 'Do I want to put my pinkies together? Do I want to put my thumbs together?' 

"Sometimes you get into (a habit) where you're not (doing) either one of them. So it's just correcting and attacking that spot that he had a couple drops with. So I'm confident he'll get out of that rut. That's always obviously been my thought as a wide receiver coach, as a wide receiver: 'Hey, fix the technique and move on.'"

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