Before the Eagles took to the practice field on Wednesday, Carson Wentz spoke to the media and talked a bit about his own growth and improvement over the years, as well as some of the play-calling from the Green Bay win on Thursday.
Here’s what the quarterback had to say.
On his growth and improvement
Pederson had mentioned a few things that Wentz is doing better this season than in past years earlier on Wednesday, and the quarterback was asked what areas he thinks he’s grown and improved.
“I think just every year, mentally — pre-snap especially — I think I just understand the offense more and more, and just being able to process things quicker I think is something that every single year has improved. I’m definitely not there, or have I arrived by any means, but I do feel more confident going forward every week in that area.”
Wentz was also asked about whether his footwork has improved, and he noted it was hard to say, but that he always felt good mechanically.
Later on, he was asked about Bills’ QB Josh Allen being injured on a play in which he was trying to get extra yards and whether that gives Wentz extra pause in moments like that. The Eagles’ quarterback said that you never want to see guys get injured, but he’s been learning ever since he got into the league how to better protect himself in those situations. So, while he doesn’t like seeing those things happen, he definitely takes note of them when they do.
QB coach Press Taylor had mentioned earlier in the week that he was impressed with Wentz’s checkdowns, and the quarterback mentioned that maybe early in his career it was challenging because he competitively wanted to go for the long throw.
But, after some time and better understanding of the league and the game, he knows that getting 5 yards on a first down can put them in a good spot. Plus, he doesn’t always have to take a shot downfield, and rather take it when it’s there, type of patience.
Wentz went on to say that throughout his career he anticipates walking that line of when to be aggressive and when to take the checkdown, but he feels like he’s in a good place with that.
On working with Josh McCown
“It’s been great working with Josh ever since he got here. I think he’s seen pretty much every offense in the book, he’s been around for awhile. So, he gets it. He gets the dynamic of playing quarterback in this league, of being a backup, of being an extra set of eyes and ears on the sideline and everything. Working with him has been a lot of fun.”
On injuries to the defense
The quarterback said that he and the offense don’t feel any extra pressure to perform with a banged up secondary, and that they trust the defense to do their job. Wentz mentioned that their goal is to score everytime they are on offense, and that doesn’t change whether their are injuries on either side of the ball.
On play-calling against Green Bay and overall
Pederson spoke at length about calling the same play multiple times against the Packers, but did note that Wentz had alerts built in and could change things up at the line. The quarterback was asked why he stuck with the same runs.
“Those are pretty straight up play calls. Coach made a great call, and I love that he was willing to come back to it. The O-line was moving guys up front and they were asking for it, they were calling for it, and we just trusted those guys, and that was a huge drive. Obviously, we didn’t finish in the endzone, but to get out and to really get some room from our own endzone was huge for us.”
Wentz was also asked what it does to opponents knowing that the Eagles offense can win with more rushing yards than passing yards.
“I mean, it’s huge for us,” the quarterback stated. Explaining that it’s big for them offensively, and opponents having to plan for different styles of attack and for running backs that can be weapons on the ground and in the passing game.
Later on, Wentz noted that he wasn’t really surprised by Jordan Howard’s pass-catching ability. He said that he was surprised in the spring, knowing that Howard was a strong, downhill runner, but right away the quarterback learned that they’d be able to use the rusher out of the backfield.
“He’s exceptional in pass protection, as well. So to be able to have him out there in a variety of different sets, I felt confident with him ever since he got here.”
Wentz also talked about how having those extra options can only help the offense get off to a quick start. It’s something the QB, OC Mike Groh and Pederson have talked about as a priority throughout the early part of the season, but have yet to have a lot of success doing. The quarterback said they always want to see what a defense is giving them early on, and he’s confident that they’ll improve in that area.
He also agreed that an effective run game “without a doubt” takes pressure off of him and the whole offense, particularly in 3rd down situations. Wentz talked about how it opens up some things for the offense, they can do some play action, some naked roll-outs, and other things off the run game.
The quarterback credited a lot of hard work during the offseason for the offense’s success so far this season on 3rd downs. Wentz said they’ve really committed to what they do best, making some adjustments at the line of scrimmage, and getting to the line early a handful of times. But, he mentioned, that it comes down to guys making plays, the offensive line getting him time, and being able to convert on the ground as well.
Wentz said that he loves Doug Pederson being aggressive, whether it’s on fourth down or calling for the 2-point conversion. The QB mentioned that it also speaks to the coach’s confidence in the offense and gives them a boost that Pederson trusts them to get the job done.
On the Jets defense
“They do some good things up front, they got a good front, they fill the gaps pretty quickly. They want to give you a lot of cover-2 looks, but they’ll fill pretty quick with the corners or the nickel, or give you different looks. So, it can create some challenges in the run game, so we can take advantage of that in the passing game, as well. I trust the coaches and the o-line are really going to get this run game going, really versus anybody going forward.”
Here’s Wentz mic’d up from the Packers game: