Keeping up with the Miami Dolphins offense is going to take every last bit of firepower the Philadelphia Eagles can manage. That made it especially concerning when DeVonta Smith was sidelined from Wednesday's practice with a hamstring injury.
Smith spoke to the media on Thursday, updating everyone on his status for Sunday Night Football:
Eagles News: DeVonta Smith Injury Update
After returning to the practice field on Thursday, DeVonta Smith updated everyone on his status, announcing that he fully expects to play on Sunday despite his hamstring injury.
This is obviously good news — 34-year-old Julio Jones isn't exactly a viable replacement for Smith — but there's still some reason to be concerned.
Hamstring injuries have a tendency to linger, especially for speedy wide receivers. And with Smith's game being so heavily based around his speed and explosiveness, even a bit of a slow-down from the injury can seriously impact how effective he can be. And if Smith isn't taking the top off the defense, suddenly there's a lot less space for AJ Brown to work in the intermediate range.
But I'm not going to fall into doom-and-gloom speculation here.
Smith missed one practice — not exactly enough to start panicking. It may have just been a cautious maintenance day.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that Smith has been highly ineffective over his last two games. He’s recorded just 50 yards on 16 targets (3.12 yards per target) after posting 284 yards on 29 targets (9.79 yards per target) over the first four games.
Maybe that hamstring has been slowing him down.
If Smith does end up limited at all, Olamide Zaccheaus will likely pick up the slack for now.
Julio Jones can certainly earn some run, but he's only been in Philly for a few days, and he hasn't seen any live NFL action since January. Jones won't be ready to take on anything near a full workload this week.
As for Quez Watkins, he's nursing a hamstring injury of his own and seems unlikely to be active on Sunday, leaving Philly worryingly thin at the receiver position.
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