Eagles’ DeVonta Smith, Darius Slay have relationship that’s making them better

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How 2 of Eagles best players constantly make each other better originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

There’s a major dispute going on between two of the Eagles’ best players.

Ask Darius Slay and DeVonta Smith about the events that took place on the Eagles’ practice fields last and you’ll get two different stories.

They both think they won.

After Smith said he’d lock up Slay if roles were reversed, the two put his theory to the test last week and came away with very different views of how that experiment went. Lucky for you, you don’t have to take their word for it.

All jokes aside, normally it’s Slay covering Smith. And that work has been helping both of them get better this season. Through 10 games, you could make an argument that each has been the best player on his respective side of the ball.

“Just showing me different looks and things like that,” Smith said. “And when we do 1-on-1s or we go against each other in practice, he always tells me what he sees me do here, why it didn’t work, things like that. Him being there and being the vet that he is, it helps me a lot.”

Smith and Slay are 7 years apart in age but are both football junkies. That’s the origin of their friendship. And since Smith arrived in Philadelphia as a first-round pick, the two have been spending a lot of time together.

We saw their bond really begin to form in training camp and that has continued into the regular season.

In fact, Thursdays have become their regular day to chat.

“We be sitting out on the field for 10 minutes after practice,” Slay said. “We either talk about releases or we just talk about life in general. Or we just talk to catch up. We love them talks. We talk every day. It be good for us, good for me, his point of view. Good for me to get information, good for me to receive information. Because I’m no bigger than him. Whatever he need to help me with, I’ll listen as well.”

While it has undoubtedly helped Smith to work with Slay, it’s a two-way street. Even though Slay is 30 and has been to three Pro Bowls, he says he isn’t above asking anyone — not even a rookie — for help. So as much as Smith picks Slay’s brain, Slay asks just as many questions.

The relationship has helped the two on the field but it’s likely helped Smith off of it too. Smith isn’t the loudest personality on the team but he does have a personality. Earlier this year, he said he has been letting that personality fly quicker in Philly than he did when he arrived at Alabama as a freshman.

Sure, he’s older. But his new teammates, especially Slay, have really allowed him to open up and feel loose.

Heck, try not to be loose around Slay.

“He’s like a little kid. He plays a lot,” Smith said. “Just the energy that he brings, there’s never a dull moment with him. He’s always got you laughing.”

As much as Slay proclaimed himself to be the winner of the 1-on-1s, he’s clearly impressed by his rookie teammate. Slay seems impressed by Smith’s confidence and his desire to get better. Smith is always asking questions too; he’s never too proud. So maybe Slay sees a little bit of himself in Smith.

Slay also sees a little bit of his former teammate Marvin Jones in Smith too.

“As smooth as he is, he just reminds me of Marvin Jones,” Slay said. “He’s just a little more polished route runner than Marvin at a young age. He’s like Marvin now. Marvin was a smooth guy. He’s got sneaky speed. You feel like he’s not fast but then the next thing you know, he ran past you. Good routes, 50-50 balls turn into 70-30, 80-20. He goes up and attacks the ball.

“And he don’t ever complain. And that’s what Marvin do, he don’t ever complain, don’t talk no trash, just goes out there and plays. That’s how DeVonta is. He just goes out there and plays. Silent assassin.”

Yeah, Smith is normally pretty quiet and not one to talk trash.

Unless he’s locking up Slay. Then he'll let him know about it.

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