So I’m going to step up on my soap box for a minute here.
In a move that has Giants fans in rare form the Eagles signed Steve Smith. Seriously people, Giants fans have gone nutzo over this move. The fans have really shown their true colors ever since Steve Smith defected to the Eagles. I know that Philly fans have got the stigma where everyone calls them terrible fans but does someone want to remind me of a time where Eagles fans have done this? I’ve seen Giants fans wish death on Steve Smith. When Brian Dawkins left, did we turn on him? No. When Westbrook was let go did we suddenly wish harm on him? No. When McNabb was traded, did we show a complete and utter disrespect for him? How about Trotter, Sheldon Brown or Quintin Mikell? Never, whenever an Eagle shifts team we show them nothing but the upmost respect. It really goes for all sports too, Phillies fans continued to love Cliff Lee and they handled the Jayson Werth defection much better than the Giants fans are handling theirs’. It’s about time that Eagles fans are let off the hook for things that happened decades ago, we’re clearly not the worst fans in sports. While everyone is busy bashing Philly fans the NY fans are wishing death of Steve Smith, spitting on Cliff Lee’s wife, throwing beer bottles at DeSean Jackson and bailing on teams that aren’t winning. Giants fans should really be ashamed of the way they’ve reacted to this news, its pathetic.
I’ll go ahead and step off my soap box now and actually write what I came here to write about: Steve Smith.
I’ll start with the question that everyone asked, is this signing a reflection on Jeremy Maclin? Absolutely not. It doesn’t make any sense at all. Why would the Eagles sign a guy that can’t play until about week 7 to be an insurance policy for a guy who might not play? Where’s the logic in that? Luckily an Eagles source came out and squashed this fairly quickly. Jeremy Maclin will be ready for the regular season, Steve Smith will not. End of story. The Eagles signed Steve Smith for that extra shot in the arm down the stretch (when he’ll be back) and as a back-up receiver to Maclin and Jackson. Injuries are always a concern and the Eagles can’t have an injury at WR derail their superbowl freight train.
Steve Smith is a very established receiver. In the past three seasons he has put up 212 receptions, 2323 yards and 11 touchdowns. His best year came in 2009 (his first year as a starter) where he put up 107 receptions, 1220 yards and 7 TDs. He is a proven workhorse at receiver, he has been targeted 308 times in the past three seasons and caught 68% of those targets. In 2009 he led the NFL in catches for first downs and he was on pace to finish amongst the leaders once again before he got hurt last year. Steve Smith is truly one of the best possession receivers in the game with his great hands, route running ability and feel for the game. When healthy he is probably second only to Wes Welker as a possession/slot receiver. But Steve Smith wasn’t a dynamic player for the Giants. He only had 11 touchdowns in 3 years of significant play time, he averages 10.8 yards per catch on his career, according to ProFootballFocus he only forced 9 missed tackles in the past 3 years and he has only averaged 2.3 yards after the catch. And Steve Smith loves to work out of the slot (watch out Avant?). In 2010 he got 48.6% of his snaps from the slot and in 2009, 57% of his snaps came from the slot.
The only question I really have is whether or not Steve Smith is really a big upgrade over Jason Avant. Just compare their numbers over the past 3 years.
|Statistical Category||Steve Smith||Jason Avant|
|Receptions Per Target||.68||.6|
|Touchdowns Per Target||.03||.02|
|Yards After the Catch||2.3||4.3|
I think the comparison between the two is interesting.
And with this move the Eagles will have the best set of receivers in the league. The only teams that can even compare are the Packers, Saints and maybe the Steelers. What other teams have two probowlers at receiver, another probowl caliber receiver and one of the best slot receivers in the game.
But enough with the negativity, if Steve Smith comes in and makes plays after coming off the PUP the Eagles offense is going to get a big boost. No team in the NFL is going to be able to go four wide quite as well as the Eagles do. And he just adds to the weaponry the Eagles have accumulated on offense. If you can think of it on offense the Eagles can do it. Explosiveness, smash mouth, possession, trickery, etc. etc. The Eagles can do it all.