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Where oh where has LJ Smith gone?

We've all been sold on the value of the TE in any offense, but especially in the West Coast offense. While we did have Chad Lewis at the time, who caught anything thrown to him but did little more than fall down after he made the catch. So hhen LJ Smith was drafted a few years ago and showed flashes of the playmaking, athletic TE that has become so popular in recent years Eagles fans were understandably excited.

All his potential seemed to culminate last year when before McNabb went down LJ Smith was leading all TEs in most every significant category. His late season drop off was easy to write off on the Mike McMahon led offense.

This year, he and McNabb picked up right where they left off and for the first 8-9 weeks of the season LJ was once again among the top TEs in the NFL in receptions, yardage, and TDs. In the past 6 weeks however, he's inexplicably disappeared.

Narducci had a startling stat.

In three of the last six games, he has caught one or fewer passes. Smith has totaled 16 receptions for 107 yards and three touchdowns in the last six contests.

It should be noted that overall this year LJ is still performing like a top 5 TE...

For the season, Smith has the third-highest total of receptions by NFC tight ends - 44, for 480 yards. He has tied a career high with five touchdowns.

LJ has been as diplomatic as he can without flat out complaining for the ball more but it's pretty clear that he and lot of us fans don't understand why he has not been used nearly as much in the second half of the season.

To his credit, Garcia has realized that he hasn't utilized the TE as much as could and offered some thoughts, while also suggesting that maybe LJ could do a better job getting open?>

In going through the progressions, maybe I am coming off of him too quickly at times; whereas Donovan did a little bit better job, especially early in the season, of hanging with L.J. a little bit more. So those are the things I am concerning myself with, how I can give him opportunities because he is a monster with the football.

Going into to 2 very tough division games that will decide not only who wins the NFC East but whether the Eagles make the playoffs at all, LJ could possibly emerge as a "secret" weapon.

These are very important games and who knows? My number can be called a lot," Smith said. "Maybe people will be looking at me as if I am a major factor in these wins.

Oh yeah, and he's looking for a new contract...

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