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Philadelphia didn’t just lose their playoff game Sunday. They also lost track of their top wideout, DeVonta Smith, for much of the game.
The electric receiver finished with just four receptions for 60 yards and was largely ignored until the game was out of hand. For almost three quarters, Smith had just one catch for six yards, and the Eagles trailed 31-0 before the rookie wideout hauled in another pass.
“No doubt, it’s my job to get DeVonta going earlier, because he’s a heck of a football player,” head coach Nick Sirianni said following the Eagles’ loss.
Nick Sirianni on neglecting to prioritize DeVonta Smith in first half: “The defense dictates some of that. We didn’t really have a good drive, a sustainable drive, until the fourth drive. That’s my job to get DeVonta involved. I’ll accept that. He wasn’t part of it early.”
— Josh Tolentino (@JCTSports) January 16, 2022
Smith, who was selected 10th overall in last April’s draft, led the Eagles in receptions, yards and touchdowns during the regular season, but seemed to be an afterthought on Sunday afternoon in Tampa Bay.
Sirianni felt partially responsible for Smith’s limited play, but then he also pointed the finger at the Buccaneer defense.
“Early on, again you always want to get your playmakers going as early as you can, but again the defense dictates some of that and the amount of plays we had dictates some of that,” commented Sirianni. “We really didn’t have a good drive until — what was it? our third or fourth drive? — maybe it was our fourth drive where it was a sustained drive.
“And of course we wanted to get [Smith] going, but there’s some different things that play into that, but I’ll accept that,” Sirianni added. “That starts with me, regardless of how the drives are going.”
Unfortunately for Sirianni, he’ll have a long offseason to play the “what if” game.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF