“I don’t think it’s the mechanics,” Wentz said after Sunday’s loss. “You make mistakes. Things happen.”
But a handful of personnel evaluators who spoke to Yahoo Sports over the past week about Wentz’s mechanics said his throwing motion is showing up prominently on film. They also believe it’s leading to some accuracy issues and mistakes. Two issues in particular are sticking out to those who have viewed the rookie quarterback: a long-armed looping windup that needs to be more compact; and an awkward arm position in the middle of his throwing motion that is slowing down his delivery.
One NFC East source likened Wentz’s arm positioning to something from a baseball pitcher. Another evaluator said the rookie displayed “bountiful bad arm angles” during his throwing motion.
“[The] ball is dropped down, turned out, then looped back around,” one evaluator said. “With his long arms and that motion, [it’s] very hard to be accurate. Especially on the move. … [The] inability to get the ball out quick and on time is key.”
The motion was also something that concerned the Cleveland Browns in their scouting evaluations of Wentz, prior to their trading of the No. 2 overall pick to the Eagles. A Browns source told Yahoo Sports Wentz’s motion was noted in draft evaluations – though he also maintained trading the No. 2 pick was more about netting draft picks than not liking Wentz.
Interestingly, a league source told Yahoo Sports that restyling Wentz’s throwing motion was an important bullet point on the Eagles’ offseason docket, but that the team was able to make only marginal progress before the start of the regular season. According to the source, those efforts were spearheaded by Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and offensive coordinator Frank Reich, both former NFL quarterbacks.
Wentz is in completely unfamiliar territory. During his four years at North Dakota State, the Bison went 57-4. He compiled a 20-3 record (.870 win percentage) while leading the team to a pair of national championships. With the Eagles sitting at 5-7, he has more than doubled his loss total as a starter at the collegiate level. If there are moments of defensiveness starting to creep up in postgame, it can probably be traced to the anxiety and restlessness that come with the unfamiliar sting of repeated defeat.
"Obviously, we're on a skid. There's really nothing to change," Wentz said. "We've just got to lock in, and we've got to be more disciplined. At the same time, you don't get down."
That's a difficult task, given how hard and quickly the offense is sinking. Sunday felt like a new low. The offensive line, just a shell of its original self, leaked badly at times and yielded 10 quarterback hits. Running back Ryan Mathews (knee) and wide receiver Jordan Matthews (ankle) were missing. The running game sputtered to the tune of 2.8 yards per attempt, and and the offense generated a meager 4.5 yards per play.
Wentz now has three touchdowns and eight interceptions the past five games. The entire offensive operation has broken down, yet it has four games to go before it can be mercifully put in the shop for extensive repair. That's a rather dangerous environment for a young quarterback.
Eagles pass rush excuses are weak - Philly Voice
The Bengals absolutely did not run a "dink and dunk" offense Sunday against the Eagles. There were certainly some quick-hitter throws on occasion, but Dalton took shots down the field regularly, and averaged a lofty 10.7 yards per attempt. On average, he took 2.65 seconds to throw, which is right around a reasonably normal amount of time to throw.
Furthermore, by my count, the Bengals kept seven players in to block just three times. They most certainly were not showing max protect looks all day.
The Eagles' pass rushers got opportunities to to pressure Dalton on Sunday, and they simply just did not beat their blocks.
In Pittsburgh, Harris wakes up in total darkness, a development that is better than it sounds. Earlier this year his coach, Mike Tomlin, brought in a sleep expert, Stanford’s Cheri Mah. Harris, who owns a massage table, a chiropractic table, an air compression system, heat packs, ice packs and Epsom salts, took all of Mah’s suggestions. He started going to bed earlier and sleeping longer. He put blackout blinds in his bedroom and lowered the temperature at night. He took shorter naps and didn’t eat too close to bedtime. And he found himself processing his new playbook more quickly, retaining the information better. For a lineman who has played in 115 games and won a Super Bowl ring with Denver, steps like these matter. Always have. Even when Harris plays only six snaps in the Steelers’ victory over the Redskins on Monday night, he follows his routine exactly: back to the blackout blinds he goes. “If I didn’t do all this,” he says, “I wouldn’t have lasted in the NFL.”