By Max Harper
Wide receiver A.J. Brown had a huge Eagles debut last week.
But DeVonta Smith didn’t have a reception against the Lions.
Smith did have an 11-yard reception in the first quarter, but the play was nullified by a holding penalty.
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts threw to Smith four more times without making a connection.
Smith and Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Isaiah Likely were the only players in the NFL targeted at least four times who didn’t have a reception during Week 1 of the 2022 season. Smith became the first Philadelphia player since wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham on Nov. 6, 2016, in a 28-23 loss to the New York Giants to be thrown to at least four times without coming away with any catches.
“You come away from that game and you felt good,” Sirianni said. “There’s things that, I told the offense, we did so many good things. We did so many good things, but yet again we have a lot to clean up. And a lot of it in my mind was communication issues, so I came out of that game thinking, ‘OK, we got communication issues to clean up.’ But, man, we ran the ball well, we were pretty efficient passing the ball, we were great on third down, we were really good in the red zone. We had a really good two-minute drive to get points at the end of the half. Like when you end with the ball in your hand and a four-minute drive, that is huge, huge, huge, huge.
“So there were so many good things we did, but coming away you’re like, ‘DeVonta Smith didn’t get any catches.’ Sometimes you don’t feel that in a game. He’s got to touch the ball. There’s no doubt about it. He’s got to touch the ball. And it’s just the way the game went. We looked at it, and he did have the four targets, but there was a handful of other things that were called for him, and for whatever reason, there’s so many different reasons of why it doesn’t go to him.”
After winning the Heisman Trophy in 2020 for Alabama’s undefeated national championship team, Smith joined the Eagles as the 10th pick in last year’s draft. Smith set a franchise rookie record with 916 receiving yards as he caught 64 passes and scored five touchdowns in 2021.
Smith caught at least one pass in all 17 regular-season games and Philadelphia’s playoff game as a rookie.
“DeVonta Smith is a great playmaker. Not a good playmaker – a great playmaker,” Sirianni said. “I think everybody in this city saw that last year.”