DeVonta Smith on Saturday night broke the Eagles’ rookie record for receiving yards in a season.
But he still fell short of one of his major goals.
“This record wasn’t one of my goals because I didn’t really know nothing about it,” said Smith, who was hesitant to divulge those goals during the week.
On Saturday night, though, he admitted that one of his goals for his rookie season was hitting 1,000 receiving yards. Ultimately, he fell short of that mark.
After catching three passes for 41 yards in the first quarter of Saturday’s 51-26 loss, in a game where the Eagles didn’t play most of their starters, Smith finished his regular season with 916 yards. That’s short of his goal but enough to take down DeSean Jackson’s rookie record of 912 yards set back in 2008.
Sure, Jackson’s record came in 16 games and Smith needed the 17th game this season, but it still counts. And it has been a pretty good first season for the No. 10 overall pick.
As far as falling short of his goal? Smith took full responsibility for that.
“It’s my fault I didn’t get there,” he said. “I left a lot of stuff out there earlier in the season. Just keep doing what I’m doing, finish this year out and then get back to it.”
Smith finished 84 yards shy of a 1,000-yard season. If he had 5 more yards per game, he would have done it.
When asked if there was any chance he could have lobbied to stay in this game to reach that plateau, Smith said, “Nah, that wasn’t going to happen.”
The last 1,000-yard season for an Eagles receiver came from Jeremy Maclin back in 2014. So it’s been a while. But Smith definitely has a good shot at getting there in Year 2.
On Saturday, head coach Nick Sirianni left Smith in the game long enough to take down DeSean’s record; he did it in the first quarter. Sirianni talked to Smith about it earlier in the week and even though Smith said he wanted to do whatever was best for the team, Sirianni wanted to get him that mark.
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“I know, at some point, he wants that record,” Sirianni said. “So, we were able to get it for him without a lot of risk taken with him.”
Against the Cowboys, Smith caught a 25-yarder, then a 12-yarder to pull even with DeSean at 912. After the 12-yarder, Gardner Minshew went right back to Smith on the next play for a 4-yard gain to put him over the mark.
Sirianni pulled his No. 1 receiver almost immediately after.
Maybe Smith didn’t know too much about the record, but he admitted it did feel good to get it.
“I mean, it kind of feels good just to get it out of the way,” he said. “In the beginning, I wasn’t even worried about it, but once it happened, everybody being around me, congratulating me, just kind of felt good.”