Eagles rookie DeVonta Smith had a breakout game last Sunday against the Chiefs, catching seven passes for 122 yards.
He was more focused on the play he didn’t make.
In the fourth quarter, Smith caught a 34-yard touchdown pass but it was called back because he stepped out of bounds during his route. So on Wednesday, when the Eagles got back to practice, there was one thing he wanted to focus on.
“Yesterday,” Smith said on Thursday, “it was just holding my line on go routes, working better releases at the line.”
The Eagles’ 22-year-old rookie has a growth mindset. He enters each individual practice with a specific goal.
Smith picks that goal. It’s not a directive from the coaching staff.
“Every day I go into practice and have one thing that I want to get better at. I attack that,” Smith said. “But I don’t lose sight of everything. I have the one thing I’m going to attack but I attack everything also. But I’m a little bit more focused on that one thing that I want to get better at that day.”
On Thursday morning, he hadn’t yet decided what his focus would be for that day, but said Wednesday was about holding his line on routes.
“I’ve been doing that since Alabama,” Smith said. “Everyday you go out there, you want to have one thing you’re working on to get better at.”
No matter how well Smith plays in the previous game, he still comes up with things to work on.
The rookie might be able to enjoy his accomplishments, but he chooses to focus on his mistakes.
“I’m the type of guy, I don’t look at the positives,” he said. “Because the positives are the positives, I did that right, I did that right. I know what I did to cause it to go right.
“I look at the negatives, what I didn’t do right. That’s what I’m going to focus on the most. I can have this many yards, this many touchdowns, I’m always going to point out the negatives first more than anything.”
Through four games, Smith has 18 catches for 237 yards and a touchdown. He’s on pace to break the Eagles’ rookie record for receiving yards set by DeSean Jackson back in 2008.
Smith has a chance to become the first rookie 1,000-yard receiver in Eagles history.
But after each big game, he’s still going to find something to focus on that next day back at practice.
“It’s just … that’s how it has to be,” Smith said. “You can’t always expect for everything to be positive. When you’re a person who can take the negatives and turn them into positives, it’s going to make you a better person. So that’s what I try to do.”
Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast: