Wentz passing more as running game sputters - Inquirer
One day after the Eagles opened the season 3-0, coach Doug Pederson explained a formula for quarterback Carson Wentz. It included keeping Wentz to about 30 passes per game and complementing him with a successful running game.
During the last two losses, Wentz attempted 43 and 47 passes. They were the only games with that many attempts, a departure from an average of 30.8 passes during his first six games.
"I wouldn't necessarily like to drop any quarterback back that many times," Pederson said. "Again, it goes back to being able to run the football and kind of hanging your hat there first and then the play-action stuff. So no . . . I wouldn't like to see it. But I've also said, too, that sometimes we're going to have to do that."
"The Falcons are playing well, offensively, because they're not a one-trick pony," said Schwartz. "You talk about Matt Ryan, we talk about Julio Jones, but they run the ball very well. Their stats aren't great running the ball, but they're significant. They’ve got a running back [Devonta Freeman] that can break anywhere. It's not just Julio Jones.
"That's our challenge this week. It's not just about stopping the run; it’s not just about stopping one receiver; it's not just about pressuring a quarterback that doesn't have a lot of playmakers. They have a very good scheme. Shanahan [Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan] does a really good job of putting those guys in good positions. We're going to have to play our very best."
One factor has been the injury to tackle Bennie Logan. Cox did not use that as a reason because of the way Beau Allen is playing, but Cox and Logan have played together for 3-plus years and they can play off each other.
More of a factor has been the way offensive lines are playing Cox. In the Washington game, for instance, it seemed Cox had four hands on him on every play. He’s going to be double-teamed – that’s a reality as a Pro Bowler with a $100 million contract – and it’s up to him to gets the hands off his body, and for the other linemen to take advantage of those double teams. But Cox said the bottom line is he needs to find a way to the quarterback.
"We really don't throw them," Jones said of the fade. "That was like the first time since New Orleans, I think."
Indeed, Jones and Ryan had two unsuccessful fades against the New Orleans Saints in Week 3. On both, he was single-covered by rookie cornerback Ken Crawley. One was first ruled pass interference, but the official determined the ball was uncatchable. On the other, Jones caught the ball but couldn't keep his feet in play.
Those misses shouldn't discourage Jones and Ryan from continuing to try the fade when the chances arise. Imagine how much more potent the league's highest-scoring offense at 33.7 points per game will be if such completions to Jones become a regular part of the repertoire. The two have non-verbal communication on the play depending on if Ryan is under center or working out of the shotgun.
"Just gotta keeping working at it, man," Jones said. "We just need to take those [opportunities]. When we're usually down there, a lot of times guys double. Then when we do get them, we kind of miss them here and there. But again, we really don't throw them a lot because people double me down there."