September 11, 2017
Torrey Smith only had three passes come his way in his debut with the Philadelphia Eagles against the Washington Redskins Week 1, only one of which he caught, for a gain of 30 yards.
While his production may have been quiet on TV on Sunday, he made an impact on the game film that future Eagles opponents will study. On two of Smith's targets, he was able to get open deep down the field, but Carson Wentz missed him.
The first time Smith got open was on the first play of the game, when Doug Pederson ran play action and took a shot deep down the field. Smith toasted Redskins corner Josh Norman, but had to slow up for the underthrown ball.
Pederson explained the underthrown ball by Carson Wentz.
"On the first play of the game, his front foot slipped," Pederson said. "He couldn't get everything on it, so it was a little underthrown."
Later in the game, Smith roasted Norman once again. This time Wentz failed to connect with him because of an overthrow.
"Because (he slipped earlier), in the back of your mind as a quarterback you say, 'The next time I get that opportunity I'm not going to underthrow it,'" Pederson said. "That was the reason for the overthrow."
Still, even though the Wentz failed to convert on the opportunities Smith provided, opposing defenses are going to have to respect that the Eagles are capable of hitting big plays deep.
"You've got to take those shots," Pederson explained. "You just see sometimes, maybe when you're struggling offensively, or maybe you're not moving the ball, the run game is not really clicking, defenses begin to kind of crowd the box. You start seeing eight, nine guys sometimes around the box. We've got to continue to take shots.
"We had them. We had them there (on Sunday). We got behind the defense a little bit and just missed. But doing that, it shows number one, you can do it offensively, but number two, it backs them up just a little bit more and opens up some other things."
Over the last two seasons, the Eagles have not had any receivers who could consistently get open deep down the field. As a result, opposing defenses crowded the box. With a legitimate deep threat in Smith showing on film that he still has plenty of burst, the short to intermediate areas of the field will be more open for players like Zach Ertz, Nelson Agholor, and Alshon Jeffery to do their damage.
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