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December 06, 2017

Eagles need to get more out of Torrey Smith, or replace him

In 2015 and 2016, the Philadelphia Eagles had nothing in the way of receivers who could consistently get open deep down the field. As a result, opposing defenses crowded the box, making to tougher to run the ball and throw in the short-to-intermediate parts of the field. 

During the 2017 offseason, the Eagles wanted to find a receiver who could stretch the field. They landed on Torrey Smith, a player with a career 17.0 yards per catch average.

Twelve games into the season, Smith has just 27 catches for 308 yards and 2 TDs. His production simply has not been good enough to continue to warrant the number of snaps he is on the field. 

"That's just part of the flow of the game," said Carson Wentz, when asked about Smith's lack of productivity. "There were a handful of times on film where I just didn't go there."

That may be, however, Smith's deep ball production, save for one 59-yard TD vs. the Arizona Cardinals, has been nearly non-existent. Some additional stats:

  1. Over the last seven games, Smith's long reception is 11 yards. 
  2. He has just four catches of 20-plus yards, which ranks fourth on the team. By comparison, Dorial Green-Beckham had five receptions of 20-plus yards last season.
  3. He is averaging just 11.4 yards per catch. Without his 59-yard TD reception against the Cardinals, Smith would be averaging 9.6 yards per catch.

If Smith isn't making plays down the field, or at least keeping opposing defenses honest with the threat of the deep ball, he doesn't bring much value to the offense. If the Eagles don't get back to using him that way, they should strongly consider replacing him with rookie Mack Hollins, who has caught 13 of his 14 targets for 201 yards and a TD, despite playing fewer than a third of the snaps that Smith has.

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