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August 22, 2023

Eagles training camp game ball: DeVonta Smith destroys Colts' secondary

Continuing with PhillyVoice's 'game ball' training camp series, DeVonta Smith and Jordan Davis had big days at Eagles practice on Tuesday.

Eagles NFL
8.6.23_EaglesPractice_DeVonta-Smith-1735.jpg Colleen Claggett/For PhillyVoice

Eagles WR DeVonta Smith during the team's open practice at Lincoln Financial Field back on August 6, 2023.

During a fiery day in South Philadelphia that saw an end-of-practice brawl, the Eagles got the best of the Indianapolis Colts on both sides of the ball in Tuesday's joint practice. As we do after every training camp practice here at PhillyVoice, we're handing out a "game ball" to a member of the Eagles' offense and defense. Expectedly, an Eagles star receiver dominated. For the Birds' D, a young player on the rise made some noise. 

Here's more on how DeVonta Smith and Jordan Davis looked down at the NovaCare Complex...

Offensive game ball: WR DeVonta Smith

For the second-straight practice, Smith brings home the game ball honors. Sunday's Smith story was entitled, "DeVonta Smith has a highlight reel day." That could've been easily repeated on Tuesday. The third-year wideout had three jaw-dropping plays in 11-on-11 work that had him looking like he's on the cusp of superstardom in the NFL.

• After a fumbled shotgun snap, Jalen Hurts looked Smith's way deep down the left sideline. From about 40 yards out, Smith hauled the ball in for a touchdown. It wasn't a perfect ball from Hurts, who had a strong performance on Tuesday overall, but Smith expertly tracked it, making the grab.

• As practice progressed, Hurts targeted Smith on a go route by the right sideline. It was a 50-50 ball and Smith "mossed" Colts cornerback Darrell Baker Jr. for a gain of at least 30 yards. 

"That's something he's always been able to do," Hurts said about Smith's contested-catch ability after practice. The duo's history, of course, dates back to their shared time at Alabama. Hurts stated that Smith is small in terms of weight, but he "plays big."

• Shortly after that on a red zone play, Smith "mossed" a Colts defensive back in the end zone. Another TD. Pretty similar! Why mess with a good thing? 

The hardest job in the NFL this season? It might be the No. 2 cornerback for whatever team is playing the Eagles, a lesser corner drawing the assignment of one of the Birds' elite receivers. 

Defensive game ball: DT Jordan Davis

Some signs of life for the Eagles' 2022 first-round pick! Davis has had a quiet camp. It's a bit hard for interior defensive linemen to have immediate impacts at camp when there isn't live tackling, the running game is minimized, etc. Jalen Carter has certainly flashed and even though they were star teammates at Georgia, Carter already appears in a different stratosphere than any other rookie DT coming into the league in a while. 

Davis was active in the Eagles' run defense, helping halt some read option work from Colts rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson and Indy's stable of backup running backs with Jonathan Taylor in trade demand no man's land. Davis also had a solo sack on Richardson. 

This isn't breaking news, but Davis' NFL success will come down to how much of his ceiling he reaches as a pass-rusher. If he's just a two-down player, that's not quite what the Birds envisioned when they traded up for him last year. If he's a true three-down DT playing alongside Carter for the next seven or eight years, the NFC East is in trouble. 

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