Smith Continues to Lose Playing Time
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — With the Calvin Johnson rumors flying in advance of Tuesday's trade deadline, the Eagles continued to scale back the work of ineffective receiver Torrey Smith during Sunday's 33-10 win over San Francisco.
The veteran, who has amassed just 14 receptions for 210 yards at the midway point of the season, was in on a season-low 32 snaps (46 percent) against the 49ers and for the second consecutive game was targeted just once and was whitewashed on the state sheet. To be fair, however, Smith did draw a big pass interference call that set up the Eagles' first touchdown of the afternoon, a 1-yard Carson Wentz to Zach Ertz scoring pass.
As far as playing time, however, Sunday was the first time Smith dipped under 50 percent all season and it's a far cry from where he was in Kansas City during Week 2 when he participated in 86 percent of the team's offensive snaps.
Smith's continued downtick in playing time meant more work for the younger receivers as both Marcus Johnson (21, 30 percent) and Mack Hollins (18, 26 percent) reached career highs in playing time.
Johnson has found a niche as the WR on the field when the Eagles use 13 personnel (three tight ends) while Hollins have been effective catching the football in limited opportunities, generating eight receptions for 164 yards in 88 total snaps versus Smith's 14 in 375.
"Torrey's in a great spot actually," Eagles coach Doug Pederson insisted Monday. "He's doing fine. It's also good to see our young players step up. He and -- when I say he, Mack and Marcus are out there."
As far as the committee at running back, undrafted rookie Corey Clement seems to be distancing himself from Wendell Smallwood as the main alternative after LeGarrette Blount.
Blount in 35 of the team's 70 offensive plays against the 49ers while Clement was next at 19 and Smallwood was on the field for only 13 plays, back to the kind of level he was at before Darren Sproles went down with a torn ACL.
"Corey is out there getting valuable reps," Pederson said. "It just helps the whole of the football team. Bottom line, we're going to do everything we can to win the football game regardless of who's in it."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen