After the Eagles first practice in London on Friday, quarterback Carson Wentz spoke to the media about making the international trip — a first for him and the organization — as well as what the offense is doing to try and create more explosive plays and what he’s learned since the loss to Carolina.
Here’s what the QB had to say:
On the trip to London
Wentz opened up talking about what he expects from fans in London, and he quipped that based on what they’ve seen from fans so far, it’s going to be a game filled with energy and passion. He went on to say that the players are all really excited for this opportunity and hope to put on a good performance on Sunday.
Running back Corey Clement joked that he was a zombie after not being able to sleep, and Wentz was asked how he and his body are adjusting to the time change. He agreed it is a unique situation, and that it was tough to sleep on the flight over on Thursday night.
He went on to say that from everything he’s heard from players who have been there before, things will get easier in terms of adjusting beginning Friday night and into Saturday, so he doesn’t foresee any problems of that nature on Sunday. Wentz also noted that they have one goal while they’re overseas, and it’s to get a win.
Despite everyone looking tired getting off the bus on Friday morning, Wentz said once they took the field the energy was up to where it needed to be. He admitted that after practice and over the next few hours, guys are probably going to crash, but the energy was great at practice on Friday.
Pederson had mentioned earlier on Friday that these long trips are a good bonding experience for the team, even referencing last year’s trip to Los Angeles as a similar travel experience. Wentz laughed and joked that he hoped this game isn’t like last year’s against the Rams — when he tore his ACL — but that the trip to London is a unique experience and should help the team get closer.
On Jaguars prep
Wentz talked about how important staying patient against the Jaguars defense will be on Sunday, noting sometimes they play soft zone and make you earn it down the field, but when the big plays are available they’ll need to make them.
The QB was also asked if he was aware of the comments made by Jalen Ramsey earlier this season — who was actually complimentary of Wentz, especially compared to most of the other quarterbacks in the NFL — and Wentz admitted it’s hard not to hear the comments.
He tries not to over-analyze those kinds of things, but he does know that Ramsey is a good player, and Wentz has a lot of respect for him and they way he plays the game.
The quarterback also noted, that he assumes Ramsey will follow Alshon Jeffery on Sunday, but Jeffery has been playing good football too, so Wentz said they aren’t going to necessarily shy away from him. They are going to give playing against Ramsey the respect that he deserves, but they have confidence that if they target Jeffery, he’ll make the play.
On offensive scheme
He was asked about how they are using Nelson Agholor, and Wentz admitted some of that is situational, particularly as the result from some blitzes where they have some run options built in. But he went on to say that they still love Nelly down the field, and they know he’s a vertical threat from the slot, can be moved to the outside, and is the guy they use on jet sweeps. He admitted they haven’t had as many big plays as they would like, but he knows they are there and they aren’t shying away from going back to Agholor.
Wentz was then asked to talk about the connection between he and Zach Ertz, and the quarterback lauded how smart the tight end is. He said Ertz is often asking for the check before Wentz even makes it, and they are often connected with that type of stuff. He went on to say that he can read Ertz’s body language and gets a good feel for where he’ll be, and off the field they’re great friends, and that chemistry translates to the field.
On staying motivated after Week 7
He admitted to being frustrated following the loss to Carolina, but said the great thing about the NFL is you don’t have long to wallow in those moments, and there’s a quick turnaround to getting back on the field.
Wentz continued to say that practice has been great all week and the guys are hungry to turn things around, and they know that’s not how they finish games, and they need to get that corrected.
He said it was the responsibility of the leaders on the team to get everyone back in line, but they aren’t focusing on the record — particularly since the division is wide open — and are just trying to go 1-0 each week.
The quarterback was asked about Pederson saying on Monday that at the end of a game like the one against the Panthers, he wants the ball in Wentz’s hands. Wentz agrees, and says that it’s because he trusts the guys around him and is confident with all of his teammates, and they just need to finish better. He went on to say that some of that can be corrected with better communication and some of it is taking what’s there and not trying to force things.
Wentz was asked if he would have done that third down play differently looking back, and the QB said it’s tough to say. He wanted to give Alshon Jeffery that opportunity, but it seems easy to say that he would have had Wendell Smallwood in the flat. Ultimately, he tried not to overthink things in the moment and he just gets out there and plays — overthinking can often cause even more issues, if he’s trying to be aware of being more patient.