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Eagles Breakdown: Reviewing every play of Carson Wentz's preseason rookie debut

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Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Carson Wentz was far from perfect in his NFL preseason rookie debut, but the rookie quarterback did show a number of encouraging signs. Unfortunately for the Eagles, Wentz is going to miss some playing time after suffering a hairline fracture in his ribs on Thursday night. Since we won't be able to see Wentz play again for some time, let's revisit his tape from Philadelphia's preseason win over the Buccaneers. You can watch all of Wentz's throws from the game in the clip below. The NFL also put together this highlights video, which includes his running plays.

Wentz entered the game with 1:19 remaining in the second quarter. After chanting "We want Wentz!" while Chase Daniel was really struggling, Eagles fans gave the rookie a standing ovation as he ran onto the field. Wentz gave a thumbs up, which was thought to be intended for the crowd, but after the game he said the signal was to let Doug Pederson know he could hear his coach in his helmet.

Andrew Gardner promptly ruined all the buzz in the stadium by committing a false start.

Throw 1 - 1st and 15 with 1:19 left in the 2nd

Wentz drops back and throws a short pass through the hands of Nelson Agholor. The throw was high, but Agholor needs to make that play and help the rookie out.

Throw 2 - 2nd and 15 with 1:15 left in the 2nd

Wentz drops back before stepping up into an open space and hitting Zach Ertz for a 19-yard gain. Nice job of climbing the pocket and delivering a strike to the open target. Wentz made sure to get everyone back to the line with the clock running.

Throw 3 - 1st and 10 with 0:51 left in the 2nd

Wentz throws short throw over the middle to Rueben Randle for a 3-yard gain. Took what was the defense gave him.

Throw 4 - 2nd and 7 with 0:30 left in the 2nd

Wentz drops back and looks to go deep but no one is really open. He targets Randle, who didn't do a good job of running his route, but the pass sails out of bounds. Wentz couldn't step up into the throw because backup center Josh Andrews was driven back right into him.

Throw 5 - 3rd and 7 with 0:23 left in the 2nd

Wentz drops back and gets nailed immediately by a blitzing defensive back after targeting Ertz over the middle. Once again, the ball was high. It would have been a tough grab, but it was catchable. Wentz showed a nice, quick release here. He knew the hit was coming but stood in there and took it.

Throw 6 - 2nd and 13 with 13:58 left in the 3rd

Wentz looks left all the way and throws short to Paul Turner for a 2-yard gain. Had time to look elsewhere but he was locked in to Turner from the start.

Throw 7 - 3rd and 11 with 13:23 left in the 3rd

The center messes up the snap count and several offensive lineman fail to even get out of their stance (looking at you, Halapoulivaati Vaitai). Wentz eludes the free rusher, scrambles to the right, and delivers an accurate throw on the run to Turner along the sideline. Very impressive play by Wentz. What easily could have been a sack instead turned into a 10-yard gain.

Run 1 - 1st and 10 with 9:35 left in the 3rd

Wentz rolls out after faking a hand-off and looks to throw but doesn't see anything down the field. Runs out of bounds for a 1-yard gain.

Throw 8 - 3rd and 5 with 8:36 left in the 3rd

Wentz drops back and throws a little high and off target to Cayleb Jones, who is being tightly covered by Jonathan Banks. A late flag is thrown for defensive pass interference. Looked like a generous call. Quarterback and receiver got bailed out on this one.

Throw 9 - 1st and 10 with 8:29 left in the 3rd

Wentz drops back and throws to a wide open T.J. Graham. Dropped. Gotta make that catch, would have been an easy first down.

Run 2 - 2nd and 10 with 8:22 left in the 3rd

Vaitai gets beat badly and immediately allows a rusher in Wentz's face. The quarterback evades pressure by running right and keeps his eyes down the field before tucking the ball and deciding to take off for a 9-yard gain. Great slide to avoid taking a hit, though he was a little shy of the marker. After the game, Wentz told reporters this was the first time he's ever slid in a game. You wouldn't be able to tell that otherwise.

Throw 10 - 2nd and 10 with 6:33 left in the 3rd

Wentz takes the shotgun snap and throws short over the middle to a wide open Chris Pantale for an 8-yard gain. The ball was thrown a little behind the tight end. If it was thrown out a little more in front, Pantale could have had a chance to gain more yardage.

Throw 11 - 3rd and 2 with 5:50 left in the 3rd

Another quick release throw from Wentz, who hits M.J. MacFarland over the middle beyond the marker. The tight end had a linebacker trailing him. MacFarland was able to run after the catch to make it a 16-yard gain.

Throw 12 - 1st and 10 with 5:10 left in the 3rd

Wentz sees the corner sneaking over to blitz at the last second and throws to his hot receiver, Turner, for an 8-yard pickup. Great recognition by the rookie QB.

Throw 13 - 2nd and 2 with 4:29 left in the 3rd

The ball is snapped at Wentz's feet, which is just a bad job by the center. Wentz manages to pick it up and get out of the tackle box before throwing it out of bounds. Great job of avoiding a disaster here. I love how Eagles fans in the stadium applauded this smart play.

Throw 14 - 3rd and 2 with 4:16 left in the 3rd

Wentz hits Jones, who is running a slant, in the hands with an accurate throw. It's ripped out by the defensive back and the Bucs recover, but the play is canceled by a roughing the passer penalty.

Throw 15 - 1st and 10 with 4:10 left in the 3rd

Wentz gets hit as he throws and overthrows Turner over the middle. The ball gets picked off by the Buccaneers for a 35-yard return. Rough play for the rookie quarterback. Can't turn the ball over in the red zone like that. Wentz explained what went wrong here after the game.

"The receiver beat his guy," Wentz said. "We got what we wanted and I just kind of overthrew it and it kind of missed him. So again, it’s something we’ll work on.  The timing was a little off as well, so we have to just be more on the same page with that as well."

Throw 16 - 1st and 10 with 2:29 left in the 3rd

Wentz is in the gun, looks left, and looks right and fires short to Turner for a 5-yard gain.

Throw 17 - 1st and 10 with 0:32 left in the 3rd

Wentz got hit as he threw and delivered a pass low to Pantale, who had it in his hands who couldn't hold on. Bad protection, but Wentz could have stepped up a little more.

Throw 18 - 2nd and 10 with 0:27 left in the 3rd

Wentz looks like he wants to go deep left but holds the ball, runs right, and throws the ball out of bounds. Didn't like what he saw after his first read was gone. Good job of not forcing the throw.

Throw 19 - 3rd and 10 with 0:18 left in the 3rd

Wentz has good protection and steps into his throw but simply airs it way over the head of an open Jones. Bad. Should have been an easy gain of 20+ yards.

Throw 20 - 1st and 10 with 12:50 left in the 4th

Wentz looks deep but doesn't see anything to gets hit as he dumps off to the running back. Cedric O'Neal drops the pass.

Run 3 - 3rd and 7 with 12:06 left in the 4th

Wentz keeps the ball on the zone read and uses his speed to run around the crashing defenders. Tries to leap for the first but gets hit low by a defensive back and flips up into the air. Watching this play from the press box, I thought Wentz had a real chance to run to the end zone here. Wentz, Pederson, and Sam Bradford also saw the same thing.

"Kind of loved it," said Pederson about his reaction to this play. "Wish he would have hurdled the guy instead of taking one in the legs. You know the guy is going low on a big quarterback like that. They're usually not going to stay up. I wish he would have hurdled. The fact he'd done a lot of that in college, that was a no-brainer for me.

"That guy actually fell off a block," said Wentz. "The receiver was blocking for the other receiver, so I saw that it was zero blitz and thought if I got around the edge I would maybe take it to the house, but the guy fell off the block and kind of surprised me. I’m fine though, so that’s a good thing."

"On the run on which he got upended, he and I both thought that he was going to score because it was cover zero and he made a great read and he pulled it down, and the defender made a nice play," Bradford said.

Throw 21 - 1st and 10 with 7:57 left in the 4th

Wentz fakes the hand off, rolls left, and throws on the move short to Turner for a 6-yard gain.

Throw 22 - 1st and 10 with 7:24 left in the 4th

Wentz throws a screen pass to Turner for a 3-yard gain.

Throw 23 - 1st and 10 with 6:01 left in the 4th

Wentz's protection breaks down and he rolls right to throw a short pass to Byron Marshall for a 3-yard gain.

Throw 24 - 2nd and 7 with 5:28 left in the 4th

Wentz throws short of Graham as the pocket collapses around him. He needed just a little more time.

Throw 25 - 3rd and 7 with 5:24 left in the 4th

Wentz throws short to Marshall for a 5-yard gain despite having a free rusher coming right at him. Good job to stand in there and deliver the throw. Big hit. This was the play where Wentz suffered a hairline fracture in his ribs. Nice show of toughness to get back up stay in the game.

Throw 26 - 4th and 2 with 4:24 left in the 4th

The Buccaneers cornerback knocked down Wentz's pass intended for Graham, who was running a slant. Not a terrible throw, just a tough play to make in tight space on a fourth down.


Wentz's box score numbers weren't pretty: 12 for 24 (50%), 89 yards, 3.7 average, 0 TD, 1 INT, 41.8 rating, 15 rushing yards. After watching the tape, however, it's clear he was more impressive than the numbers indicate. Keep in mind Wentz often wasn't getting more help from his shoddy offensive line. He also wasn't really able to ever go deep because his receivers weren't beating anyone.

Wentz deserves praise for his toughness, intelligence, arm strength, and mobility. One area where he definitely needs work, which is also apparent during practice, is accuracy.

Again, it was an encouraging debut for Wentz. Now it's just too bad for the Eagles he'll have to miss some practice time and preseason game action as he recovers from his rib injury.