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Torrey Smith Answers 'Speed' Questions

Posted Jul 29, 2017

Torrey Smith, fresh off the practice field at the NovaCare Complex, walked into the building on his way to the locker room and paused, considering the question. “When is the last time,” he was asked, “reporters asked you about your speed?” ...

Torrey Smith, fresh off the practice field at the NovaCare Complex, walked into the building on his way to the locker room and paused, considering the question. “When is the last time,” he was asked, “reporters asked you about your speed?”

Smith stopped walking. He smiled.

“Come to think of it,” he said, “nobody has asked me about my speed since we got on the field. That’s funny. I never thought of it. I haven’t heard the question since the day I signed here.”

Smith agreed to terms on a three-year contract with the Eagles on March 9 after two seasons in San Francisco during which he caught a total of 53 passes and scored seven touchdowns. His production with the 49ers was far from when Smith played in Baltimore and scored 30 touchdowns in four seasons, averaging almost 17 yards per reception.

So, naturally, when Smith signed in Philadelphia, he faced a torrent of questions about his speed. Did he still have it? Could Smith still stretch defenses?

“I understood the questions, because San Francisco was so up and down for me and for everyone,” said Smith, who played for two coaches, Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly, and won a total of eight games in two years. “I take full responsibility for what happened there. The last two years were what they were, but I knew what I could do and I knew that once I became a free agent I was going to find the right fit.

“I don’t want to talk too much about San Francisco. I don’t want to look back. I’m glad to be here.”

The key to maintaining speed, Smith says, is to take care of the body and the mind. Smith doesn’t drink. He doesn’t smoke. He sleeps plenty. He eats right. Some of his speed is, of course, natural, but he also works at keeping his speed.

It’s been obvious through the first few days of Training Camp that Smith can still motor. He’s fit right in with the offense as a starter on the outside opposite of Alshon Jeffery. Smith is catching the football consistently and he’s making big plays down the field. Actually, Smith has made plays all over the field, displaying strong hands and confidence in his routes.

Wide receiver is, obviously, a position the Eagles are monitoring very closely after their offseason makeover, and so far the results have been encouraging. It’s a night-and-day difference from last year. The drop rate appears to be way, way down. The level of competition is way, way up.

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“It’s been positive so far,” Smith said. “But as you know with camp and with the preseason, there are going to be a lot of highs and there are going to be a lot of lows. As a unit I think we’ve picked up where we left off in the spring. That’s very positive.”

Smith has been impressed with quarterback Carson Wentz, who during a 7-on-7 drill on Saturday ripped off 15 consecutive completions and added another two straight completions in an 11-on-11 session. In his second NFL year, Wentz is coming on strong and a veteran like Smith notices things like that right away.

“Oh, it didn’t take long to see that he’s got ‘it.’ Big guy, big arm, and he knows the game,” Smith said. “He’s a great leader. He’s a guy you want to play for and play with. I look at him in the huddle and, man, I can’t wait to see what it’s going to be like on gameday. He’s not going to be flustered. He is going out there making great throws, so we know that if we do our jobs, we’re going to make big plays.”

Smith has his veteran goals for camp: Stay healthy, improve every day, and lead by example. He’s clearly doing a good job to all observers. The question, the one about his speed, hasn’t been asked since Smith showed his burst down the field.

“That is so funny,” Smith said, laughing as he walked off toward the locker room, “I’m going to make sure I pay attention to that from now on. I guess maybe that means they’re seeing that I can still run.”

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