Before the Eagles took the practice field on Wednesday, quarterback Carson Wentz spent some time talking to reporters about his newest teammate Golden Tate, and what he brings to the team on and off the field.
He also talked a bit about his development as a quarterback and what he’s preparing to face from the Dallas defense on Sunday night. Wentz admitted he always gets excited to play under the light on Sunday Night Football and is looking forward to a fun home environment.
Here’s what the QB had to say:
On Golden Tate’s addition
Wentz talked about how he’s excited for what Tate will bring to the team’s offense, and lauded the receiver’s big play ability and his talents after the catch. He said they haven’t been on the practice field yet, but he’s excited to get to work and get to know Tate as a receiver and start building that rapport.
The quarterback went on to say that he thinks Tate fits in really well with the culture the Eagles have established, and he’s looking forward to getting to know him both on and off the field.
When asked if Howie Roseman or Doug Pederson had reached out for his opinion prior to trading for Tate, Wentz admitted he leaves those kinds of decisions up to them. He was trying to get away and get a little break during the bye, and he’s comfortable (and has “full confidence”) with the decisions they’ve made up to this point and continue to make.
Wentz then went on to talk about how he works to establish that on-field chemistry with a new receiver, and he said the first thing is obviously reps, but he’ll also study Tate’s film and try and start learning some his body language tendencies and what things he may be good at, and those kinds of things.
He said that Pederson was the one to call him and let him know about the roster move, and that he reached out to Tate right away but didn’t cut his bye week short to start working with him. Wentz touched on how it was important for him and the rest of the guys to really get a break from the grind during the bye, and then come back refreshed.
Later on, Wentz said that he loves that the team added another weapon, especially one like Tate who has those big play abilities, and that his addition adds the potential for more explosive plays on offense.
The quarterback was also asked how he keeps all the different offensive players happy, especially after bringing in another weapon like Tate. Wentz talked about the greater culture the Eagles have established in being filled with team-first guys, who just want to win.
At the end of the day, that isn’t something he’s really worried about because they have a bunch of self-less guys in the locker room. And he went on to say it’s a luxury to have so many targets and to be able to spread the ball around and do different things.
On his development as a QB
Wentz was asked what he thought was the reason behind him being much more accurate this season, and the third year player attributed it to better decision making. He said he’s not trying to force the ball downfield and is learning how to take what the defense is giving him. He also said part of it was probably due to how defenses are playing them, and seeing a little bit more soft zone, so he’s just taking the underneath stuff and finding success there.
After reviewing the film from the Jaguars game, particularly the fumbles, he said they weren’t attributed to one specific mistake, but just in general he just has to be better and try and get the ball out quicker in certain situations.
Eagles’ QB coach Press Taylor had talked earlier in the week about “standards over feelings” and Wentz elaborated that it’s about being critical of each other and themselves in an attempt to improve and taking their emotions out of it. (Basically another way of saying “it’s not personal, it’s business”.)
On Dallas prep
Wentz talked about heading into a challenging second half of the season, but said the team tries to take things one game at a time. Right now, they are focusing on the Cowboys, and he’s excited that they are coming to “our house” and that it’s a primetime matchup.
He and Dallas QB Dak Prescott came into the league at the same time, and Wentz had an opportunity to get to know him as both a person and a player. Wentz lauded Prescott’s competitiveness, and noted that they are similar in that regard.
On the Dallas defense, he said their play calling is a little different this season, singling out their starting point specifically. Wentz said the Cowboys have been playing a lot more one-high coverage this year, but they have some of the same players who fly around the field, and he mentioned that they are coached well and will provide a challenge for the Eagles on Sunday.
Wentz was also asked about what the Dallas rivalry week means to him — specifically noting Jason Kelce’s brutally honest opinion earlier in the day — and the quarterback said he doesn’t like to make things bigger than they are. He went on to say that he knows the fans are probably more passionate about the rivalry, but he tried to keep his emotions in check and he’s just focused on having a game to win.
The QB did admit that anytime the Eagles play on Sunday night in primetime, he gets a little more excited than usual, and knows and is looking forward to the fans rocking The Linc during the matchup.