The court of public opinion may be souring on Quez Watkins, but the locker room continues to have the speedster’s back. He is the starting slot receiver until somebody (see: Olamide Zaccheaus) beats him for the job.
For now, Watkins remains atop the Philadelphia Eagles‘ depth chart with full backing from the front office and coaching staff. And his teammates. DeVonta Smith was the latest guy to stand up and voice his support for Watkins, noting that the burner from Southern Miss is going to have a big role this season if the Eagles are going to achieve what they want to achieve.
“Quez has been working hard. He understands the standard we have in the room, not just with him but with everybody,” Smith told reporters. “We hold ourselves to a high standard and, I mean, I have all the faith in Quez. He’s going to come in this year and do the things he’s supposed to do and he’s going to be a big part of this team.”
Smith also heaped praise on the player tasked with unseating Watkins. The third-year starter called Zaccheaus “explosive” and his eyes lit up considerably as he described watching the former Falcon run through drills at spring workouts.
“We joked about it because every pass that he catches he explodes out like he’s trying to get that YAC,” Smith said, referring to yards-after-catch, “and we was like, yeah, you could tell that with the ball in his hands he’s going to be very special.”
Smith Fully Healed From Super Bowl Toe Injury
Smith was last seen wearing a walking boot in the locker room following the Eagles’ 38-35 Super Bowl loss. He also had his right foot bandaged up when he came out to ring the ceremonial Liberty Bell at a Sixers-Celtics game in February.
Well, Smith revealed he was dealing with a toe injury and rehabbed all winter. He’s feeling no lingering effects heading into training camp. “Lot of ice, lot of massages,” Smith said. “I’m good now.”
With no injury to worry about, the biggest thing Smith wants to focus on is improving his mental sharpness.
“Continue to get mentally sharp in my preparation and going out there to play where I can see things faster,” Smith said. “Recognition of the defenses, you know, teams change every year — a lot of coordinators change and things like that, so teams that you may have played in the past may not be running the same scheme and things like that.”
Congratulations to Good Friend Jalen Hurts
Jalen Hurts received a bank-breaking $255 million contract extension this offseason which briefly made him the highest-paid player in football. Lamar Jackson has since usurped the financial crown, although Hurts ranks second at $51 million per year. Smith — a former college teammate of Hurts at Alabama — was ecstatic to see his friend’s hard work literally pay off.
“It’s amazing, a guy that comes in every day, puts the work in, and you see it pay off,” Smith said. “Leads the right way, have a lot of people looking up to him and following him. He’s part of the reason why guys enjoy coming to work, to see a guy like that, to see what he does every day to make himself better, maybe he’s doing something that you can do to make yourself better.”