Eagles Tease ‘Big Role’ for DeVonta Smith in Opener

DeVonta Smith

Getty Eagles rookie WR DeVonta Smith made his NFL debut on Thursday might against the Patriots.

Philadelphia Eagles rookie DeVonta Smith was feeling confident after Monday’s team meeting with head coach Nick Sirianni. The two chatted about the regular-season opener and how to attack it. No one knows what to expect from the new-look offense. And Smith wasn’t set to spill the beans.

The 10th overall pick would only say that Sirianni talked about “embracing roles.” Whatever that role is remains to be seen, although Smith appears to be penciled in as the starting outside receiver in Week 1. He saw 26 offensive snaps in the preseason and finished with two catches for 19 yards (four targets). Throw the numbers out. Smith’s crisp route-running was a thing of beauty.

“Just play my role,” Smith told reporters. “Coach Sirianni, we just had a meeting, it was all about people playing their roles. So whatever my role is, just embrace it and just play my role.”

Sirianni didn’t elaborate too much when asked what he told Smith. The Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama is mature beyond his years and has more big-game experience than half the Eagles’ roster. He knows how to keep his head down and make the plays when his number is called.

“We just talked today about embracing our role on the team,” Sirianni said. “What is your role, embrace your role and DeVonta is going to have a big role on this team.”

Big role, huh? Smith has already started picturing it in his mind.

“I envision myself probably making some plays, there’s going to be plays that are going to be called,” Smith said. “I’m excited just to get to work this week to dive into the game plan.”

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Smith Proudly Watched Alabama Roll Miami

Smith spent his time away from the team down in Atlanta watching his alma mater stomp Miami 44-13. Prior to the game, the rookie receiver predicted Alabama would win by 30 points so he was one point off. Maybe he has a future in college football prognosticating. Smith was also honored as an honorary captain for the contest by the Crimson Tide.

Smith talked about how good it was to back in the Alabama locker room and see a lot of familiar faces, including legendary head coach Nick Saban. He even shared some words of wisdom for his former college teammates about how to adjust to life in the NFL.

“It’s a business, you got to carry yourself the right way,” Smith said. “One wrong mistake and things can go the opposite way that you want them to go. So it’s a business and you have to carry yourself the correct way.”

Smith added that it was nice to see a packed house again at a football game coming off empty stadiums during last year’s COVID-19 pandemic. He will make his NFL debut at that same place, Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, on Sunday when the Eagles and Falcons go at it.


Learning the Ropes From Mike Quick

Eagles play-by-announcer Merrill Reese and color commentator Mike Quick have been raving about Smith’s skillset throughout the offseason and training camp. They have both been insanely impressed with every single rep he’s taken.

Now a viral video of Quick and Smith talking about the tricks of the receiver trade has people juiced up. Smith never gets too high or low about anything, but his eyes got a little brighter when asked about that conversation.

“[We talked] about being an Eagle and just the NFL in general,” Smith said. “Just the things that he did to perfect his craft and things like that, just how he handled certain things and stuff like that. And, like I said, it’s a business so the business side and how he brought that along too.”

Quick ranks fourth in franchise receiving yards (6,464) and third in receiving touchdowns (61). Those are lofty stats that many people in Philadelphia, including Quick himself, would like to see Smith surpass someday.


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