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DeVonta Smith reveals what he likes about Kellen Moore's offense

DeVonta Smith reveals what he likes about Kellen Moore's offense originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Through just a handful of practices this spring, it has been pretty apparent that the Eagles’ offense is going to look different in 2024.

DeVonta Smith seems to like that.

“I think it’s going to be great,” Smith said at mandatory minicamp on Tuesday. “Get a new style of offense around. Let guys, not have more freedom, but be able to do things that we weren’t allowed to do, moving guys around, things like that. Overall, it’s always (good) to have a fresh start.”

While it’s not like the Eagles are completely throwing away the successful parts of their offense from the past few years, they clearly needed to change some things. After the 2023 season, head coach Nick Sirianni even admitted his offense had become stale.

The guy charged with bringing fresh ideas is new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

A couple of the changes we can expect this season — based on Moore’s past and a few spring practices — is the increased usage of pre-snap motion and less predictability on offense by using formations like bunch, trips and even empty more frequently.

“I would say it just gives you more space at times,” Smith said. “When you’re getting bunches and things like that, guys don’t press as much. And it kind of confuses the defense so it gives you more space and opportunity to do things.”

As far as the motion goes, the Eagles were dead last in their usage in 2023 at just 10.9%, according to ESPN Stats and Info. Moore’s offense with the Chargers last season was ranked eighth at 25.9%. Based on those numbers and three practices in the spring, the Eagles won’t be dead last again in 2024.

Smith, 25, has had three productive seasons in the NFL as a first-round pick and signed a big-time contact extension this offseason. But even after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, it seems possible the Eagles haven’t been able to truly maximize Smith’s potential. A lot of that comes down to usage.

When the Eagles hired Kellen Moore, Smith was one of the players many thought could benefit most from the change. For instance, Smith has played just 19.2% of his NFL snaps in the slot and just a total of 36 snaps in the backfield. Moore has been successful getting production from the slot. So perhaps, we see Smith and maybe A.J. Brown in different spots this year more often.

“Everyone has always been playing different positions and things like that,” Smith said. “But moving guys around, allowing guys to go out there and create some 1-on-1 matchups and win how they want to win.”

In recent years, the Eagles have had a couple play-callers calling Sirianni’s offense. But there’s a scheme change underway in South Philadelphia this offseason. The Eagles have talked about meshing systems and languages to create a new-look offense.

And, as you’d expect, Sirianni isn’t ready to give too many details.

“Yeah, again, you'll see some of those things out there,” the head coach said on Tuesday. “You guys have seen some of the things out there without getting too much into the X's and O's.

“I think one thing that we have going into game one is, very similar to what Green Bay has going into game one, is there's unknowns, right? There's a lot of unknowns that we won't be showing during preseason games, and they probably won't as well. So, but again, those guys have done a good job, whether it's an option route or whether it's different, different types of things, with some with some options there. There's multiple things.”

Smith said the biggest adjustment is just learning the new terminology. After missing the two OTA sessions open to reporters, Smith is back at the NovaCare Complex this week and he’s getting some valuable on-field time with quarterback Jalen Hurts.

The biggest adjustment for Smith with the new offense is learning the new terminology.

How does he go about that?

“Really just combining with the old stuff until the new stuff just sticks with me,” he said.

That process is just beginning but so far, so good.

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