The Eagles were back at practice on Wednesday, and quarterback Carson Wentz spoke to the media afterward about the division rivalry on Sunday night, some parts of the offense that need to improve, and Andre Dillard getting the start at left tackle.
He was asked about what made him so mad following a sack by the Vikings last weekend. The QB said that he felt like the defender gave him a little extra in the pile, and he was mad enough to be held back.
Wentz also talked about how one of the things he likes best about this group is that, win or lose, they move on to the next. He said they have a lot of confidence and a lot of energy at practice, and they’re excited about Sunday’s game.
Here’s what else the quarterback had to say.
On the deep passing game
Wentz was asked how close the offense was to really connecting in the deep game and how they can improve. He noted that first and foremost he can be better and deliver a more accurate ball, but he thinks that they’ll be hitting on those deep throws soon enough. He also credited the Vikings defense for doing a good job keeping them at bay.
He wouldn’t get into DeSean Jackson’s rehab and whether or not they he was throwing passes to the receiver as he covers — or when that would start — but said he was excited for whenever the veteran returns to the field.
On Andre Dillard at LT
Head coach Doug Pederson said earlier on Wednesday that Jason Peters is looking more week-to-week and rookie Andre Dillard would fill that spot. Wentz was asked about the rookie and how it’ll be having him in JP’s role.
“I thought he did a great job. I think that’s a tough task to come off the bench cold like that, and not just come in and play a game, but against a defensive end, and a couple of them. So, I thought he did a great job. I have nothing but confidence in him to protect my blind side. I know we have a lot of confidence in him in the run game, too. So, he’ll just keep getting better and better, and we all believe in him.”
Later on, Wentz said that he tries not to think about different players at different positions and just continue playing their game regardless of who is on the field. He emphasized that he has confidence in Dillard, and has seen him improve in practice going up against the Eagles’ defensive ends, as well.
On containing Zach Ertz
It was pointed out that both the Lions and Vikings coaches had talked post-game about containing Zach Ertz being a priority. Wentz noted that different teams are doing different things to accomplish that, but he always knows that the tight end will get his targets — something he says is true for every target, and spreading the ball around is something they do well. He admitted though that a defense will often double-team or do different things to contain Ertz.
On Miles Sanders as a receiver
“From the moment we drafted him, we knew he was a dynamic playmaker. We knew how explosive he was with the ball in his hand, how explosive he was — we saw quickly out of the backfield, and things like that. Saw that he had pretty natural hands, and able to catch the ball. So, we kinda knew those things were all there, we didn’t know how it would play in games and stuff.
We’re fortunate that we’ve been able to get him on some mismatches and make some plays down the field. I’m confident anytime he’s out there — really any of our backs — that that’s a mismatch and we can take advantage of it.”
On facing Dallas and the division rivalry
Wentz talked about how it’s always exciting getting ready to play the Cowboys. He noted that the two teams know each other very well, and with the rivalry, know both fan bases are going to be extra energized. He said that they also know where they are in the division, and it’s a Sunday night football game. They know all of these things. But at the same time, they have the same goal they do every week, to go 1-0.
The quarterback was asked when he learned that the rivalry was really important to Eagles fans, and he was quick to note that it was from the very beginning.
“The second I was drafted and I got here. You hear fans talking about Dallas in the offseason, ‘Hey, just beat Dallas’, that’s all people would care about when I go out, and things like that. So, I know the rivalry is real. And, again, we as players though, treat it as another game, but we know what’s going on.”
He also said that he didn’t have a favorite Dallas memory yet, but hopefully it comes this weekend.
Wentz later said that the Cowboys do quite a bit defensively. They do a lot of 1-high zones, they mix it up with man and trust their linebackers to play tight ends, running backs, you name it. He went on to say that they’re a good group and will be a challenge.
On Pederson saying they’re going to win
The Eagles’ head coach said the team was going to Dallas and going to win earlier in the week, and some people take that to be his guarantee, but Pederson said it was just the confidence he has in his team. Wentz echoed that sentiment saying that they’re locker room culture is one that expects to win each and every week.
“We always talk about win the day, win the practice, win each week. So, that’s just the mindset and culture that we have, and that’s no different every week.”