DeVonta Smith is a tough matchup for Commanders
A.J. Brown should be the focus for the Washington Commanders' secondary, but his running mate DeVonta Smith is also a major threat. They know all about this after he burned them for 154 receiving yards in the first half of Week 3's matchup last season.
While Brown is a physical mismatch against almost all defensive backs, Smith is a consummate technician. His subtle speed, nifty moves, and precise routes help the Alabama product cause problems from the perimeter and in the slot.
Finding the right matchup won't be easy for Commanders' defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. Emmanuel Forbes Jr. is the obvious candidate, but the No. 16 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft has a rough history against Smith, dating back to the pair's days in college football.
As Josh Tolentino of The Philadelphia Inquirer noted, Smith helped himself to 11 grabs for 203 receiving yards and four touchdowns when the Crimson Tide faced Mississippi State back in October 2020.
Forbes has all the motivation he needs to make amends, but he'll still need safety help to cover Smith. Del Rio often puts five defensive backs on the field, so doubling Philadelphia's receiving duo shouldn't be a problem.
The plan will only backfire if an unheralded Eagles' wideout takes advantage of single coverage.