Early in the third quarter, the Eagles had 2nd & 10 from the Packers’ 45-yard line. Carson Wentz snapped the ball and dropped back, looking over the middle for Zach Ertz. He felt pressure coming, and he sailed a pass over Ertz’s head, into the waiting hands of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
After the game on Monday night, Doug Pederson said Wentz threw the ball off his back foot, something he’d obviously like his quarterback to avoid in the future.
Wentz, a rookie, has been working on his mechanics all season long. A physically gifted athlete with the brains to match his brawn, he is in theory the ideal, moldable quarterback. If the quarterback-coaching triumvirate of Pederson, Frank Reich, and John DeFilippo can get Wentz’s mechanics tight enough and sharp enough, he should be a solid NFL quarterback for years.
Earlier in the season, one thing Pederson frequently harped on was Wentz’s hip placement when he threw the ball. He wanted his hips more square to his target. It’s something we haven’t heard about from the head coach in a couple weeks; maybe because it hasn’t been an issue, or maybe because Pederson doesn’t want to discuss it publicly any more.
On Wednesday, Pederson talked a little bit more about the back-foot throw Wentz launched against the Packers, and what he’s seen from Wentz this season as the rookie continues to progress.
“He’s definitely worked on [stepping into throws],” Pederson said. “You saw, earlier in the game, when he stepped into it, how accurate and how smooth the ball comes out of his hand.
“On that [interception], too, there was some pressure. It wasn’t a clean rush, but the fact that he got a bullrush pressure right in his face, naturally you’re going to end throwing a little high and off your back foot because you can’t step into your throw. It was a little bit mechanic, but it was also a little bit of the rush at the time that made that throw go high.”
It’s something you see from most any quarterback at least once or twice during a season. Pressure from a defensive line, and a desire not to be sacked for a loss, entices a quarterback to launch a pass, even if it’s an ill-advised back-foot throw.
The concern would be if Wentz made that same mistake, and other mistakes, over and over again without learning.
Pederson, for his part, seems content with where Wentz is in terms of his mechanical refinement.
“I definitely think he’s in front of the curve,” Pederson said. “And it’s still a work in progress. You look, fast forward to this upcoming offseason, we’ll get a chance to really work with him and spend time, more so, on his mechanics and obviously the details of that.
“But he’s working on it every day. It’s definitely improved. You saw it early in the game and throughout the game. He’s still working on his eyes, progressions and plays, working through the offense, and working through that. There’s definitely ... it’s small strides, but at the same time, it’s going in the right direction.”
Pederson said he thought Isaac Seumalo played well in his first career start. “Isaac looked good. He played well. He wasn’t perfect, by no means, but at the same time for his first start, and day of the game to start, played well and filled in well.”
Pederson said there hasn’t been any thought given to making Jalen Mills a starting cornerback in Leodis McKelvin’s place. “No, not yet,” he said Wednesday.
Ryan Mathews (knee), Jordan Mathews (ankle), and Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee) won’t practice Wednesday.