Former Birds WR Torrey Smith: 49ers Have Hands Full Vs. Birds WRs Brown, Smith
With the Philadelphia Eagles set to play the San Francisco 49ers for a spot in the Super Bowl, ITB hosts Adam Caplan and Geoff Mosher spoke to a former player familiar with ties to both teams.
Former NFL wide receiver and two-time Super Bowl Champion Torrey Smith, who helped the 2017 Eagles win their first Super Bowl, appeared on ITBTV to preview the matchups that will decide the NFC Championship and to discuss his experience winning the Super Bowl with the Eagles.
Torrey Smith: “Having an opportunity to play with Christian McCaffrey in Carolina, I know he’s the one individual player to watch. Everyone’s going to be tied up with Deebo Samuel, but McCaffrey’s the primary concern to me in terms of his ability to matchup with linebackers or DB’s. You can put McCaffrey out at receiver and he can run the entire route tree. That matchup there is really going to be the difference there.”
Smith: “The number one way to get a QB’s confidence going is getting the ball out of his hands early and having completions early. On the flip side of that, the number one way to derail him is to bat plays down and don’t make it easy. That’s the one thing I do love in passing situations: this Eagles team does a great job of getting pressure with their guys up front. Haason (Reddick) has had an amazing year coming off of the edge. With this Eagles defense being able to get pressure up there, if you make a mistake or let that ball sail just a little bit, there’s going to be someone there waiting for you.”
Conference Championship Preparation
Smith: “It builds over the course of the week. A guy may have a play that they’re working at and it looks great, or one play that you’ve been sitting on for weeks and then you go pull it out, like the Philly Special. For the team as a whole, you start to really get comfortable knowing this (opposing) team, start to really watch the matchup, the quarterbacks get comfortable when you execute in practice. People forget that the scripted part of practice, seeing coverages and looks, it’s ultimately just to build confidence so when you see that in the game, we’ve done this already. There’s no better feeling than when you hear a play call anticipating their coverage and you have it.”
Flea Flicker Vs. Vikings, 2017 NFC Championship
Smith: “I didn’t think he was going to actually call it. I was supposed to run a post. I went and there was a single high safety sitting in the middle of the field and the corners were one-on-one, so if I ran a post, there’s no way I’m going to be available. If you go and watch the clip, Alshon Jeffery was wide open underneath, but I was able to lull them to sleep on the outside then go up the sideline. (Nick) Foles saw it, threw a perfect ball there and the rest is history.”
Smith: “I told A.J. Brown to his face that he reminded me of Anquan Boldin. A physical receiver, explosive out of his breaks, quick and strong, if it’s close it’s his ball. That’s how Anquan played; he was just a real bully on the field. When you talk about DeVonta, he’s an absolute animal. There’s not a route that he can’t run, he’s smooth, he plays way bigger than his weight. I can’t believe he fell in the draft because people were concerned about his size. You watch him go out there and play, he knows how to protect himself. He’s a flat-out baller. Eventually he’s going to start getting credit as one of the top 10 receivers in the league. You’re talking about a really dynamic duo there, they don’t play the same, their body types are different, so when you talk about cornerbacks, you’re feeling two different guys each and every time. They both can run too, which is the scary part as a defender. Whichever side you’re on, the CB knows they’re going to have problems.”
Smith: “The craziest thing is watching Brandon Graham coming off of injury and building back. I love the energy he brings. Graham is one of the best teammates I have ever had in my life, but I’m saying that with Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson right there as well. Fletcher Cox is probably the one I talk to more than anybody. They’re all just great men, leading this organization and playing at a high level. Those guys are the backbone of this team. Having that is a huge advantage for this team going into this game.”
Lane Johnson’s Groin Injury
Smith: “I actually played my entire rookie season with that same injury and had my surgery done by Dr. [William] Meyers, so Lane will be over there in about a month or so getting that same exact surgery. It’s one of those nagging type of pains. It stings, especially when you’re moving. For a lineman, you think they don’t have to deal with as much, but when you’re out there and dancing on the edge like tackles do, it can impact your play. You just go and hope you don’t feel that screaming pain. It felt worse when it was colder, but when I was warm it wasn’t as bad. There’s some things you can do pain-wise to help manage the game. You’re going to feel awful the following day, but it’s one of those things where you can get through three hours battling it out but it’s never going to be all the way healed until you can correct it through surgery.”
Smith: “I’m always pro player. I love when former players are able to step up and have the ability to learn, dictate, and control rooms. Any time you see guys breaking stereotypes down, you know how people have viewed players as not smart enough to be coaches, I think it’s pretty cool to watch his rise as a coach. I think he should be a head coach this cycle, but you have to pick the right situation. If it’s not this year, it’s going to be in the next few because he has that superstar potential as a coach. The one thing people forget is how the team responds to him. Anyone can coach Xs and Os. Football is not rocket science, but every coach doesn’t have the ability to get 50 stubborn men to believe that they’re good enough to buy in to get it done. DeMeco has that potential and we’re seeing what that looks like with Coach (Nick) Sirianni here.”
– Benjamin Paul is a staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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