Donovan McNabb possesses profound insight into the challenges of managing a top-tier wide receiver, one who demands the football’s embrace. McNabb couldn’t help but emit a faint chuckle as he reflected upon the Eagles’ offensive transformation since A.J. Brown’s fervent sideline entreaties directed at Jalen Hurts.
“Its consistency has waned week by week. Reflecting on events preceding A.J. Brown’s candid plea for a more prominent role in the offense, I refrain from categorizing it as a dispute or perhaps a grievance,” McNabb shared with Jon Marks and Ike Reese during his 4 pm Monday dialogue on 94WIP. “I harken back to that juncture because I’ve witnessed analogous scenarios. As a quarterback, one strives to evade entanglement in such matters. However, the prevailing trend is the reorientation of offensive play-calling to accentuate particular individuals, rather than maintaining a rhythm and steadiness through a balanced mixture of running plays, play-action stratagems, and rapid passes for distribution across the field. DeVonta Smith, disregarding any dissent, remains conspicuously marginalized within this offensive framework.
This predicament echoes the bygone era when A.J. Brown first graced the scene. In the inaugural quartile or quintile of matches, DeVonta Smith bore the emblem of the true primary target, even in the company of A.J. Brown. Nevertheless, the tide has shifted towards an augmented focus on A.J. Brown, while the bona fide running game appears to be fading into the background. The recent clash against the Jets witnessed an aerial bombardment, with an estimated tally exceeding 40 passes. This departure from our customary offensive doctrine becomes apparent. Our typical modus operandi entails a prolific Swift, garnering around 18 interactions, whether through the air or on the ground, accompanied by a quota of 12 to 15 for Gainwell. Subsequently, Jalen, whether through impromptu sprints or read-option stratagems, acquires an allocation of 5 to 6 carries, or thereabouts.”
McNabb’s contention finds vindication in the numbers, as Brown has been the target of 60 passes in the current season’s half-dozen contests, in stark contrast to Smith’s 45. In a further amplification of this disparity, Brown has translated his 60 targets into an imposing 42 receptions for 672 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Smith has amassed a relatively modest 28 receptions for 334 yards and 2 touchdowns. His output dwindled to a mere half-dozen receptions and 50 total yards over his previous two outings.
After Sunday’s disheartening loss, Smith voiced his frustration. Alluding to one of his most regrettable drops as an Eagle, expressing, “I lamentably muffed it.”