Eagles’ quarterback Carson Wentz spoke with the media on Tuesday for the final time ahead of the team’s third preseason game on Thursday, and talked about improvements he’s made to his individual game, as well as some developments as an offense.
Wentz wouldn’t say whether he was hoping to take snaps on Thursday against the Ravens, and once again emphasized that he was leaving that call up to Doug Pederson and trusts the head coach to make the best decision for him and the team.
Here’s what the quarterback had to say.
On operating fast
Both Mike Groh and Doug Pederson spoke about Wentz having a good training camp, and specifically progressing through his reads quickly and re-directing his protections effectively. The QB agreed, and noted that with all the weapons they have on offense, he needs to be able to react quickly to spread the ball around.
He said his job is to get the ball in the playmakers’ hands and let them make plays, and to also trust what he sees and make quick reactions.
Wentz went on to say that he doesn’t really look at the metrics regarding snap and release time, noting that it’s fairly subjective based on the route and scheme being called or being forced out of the pocket, not to mention when he tries to extend a play, so he doesn’t really focus on that metric specifically.
The QB also mentioned that it’s not just him, the wide receivers and tight ends are seeing things quicker and reacting quicker as well, so they are really starting to develop as a whole as the get closer to the season.
It was pointed out that Wentz hasn’t scrambled much in practice this offseason, but he said it wasn’t really a conscious decision not to, but rather more of the quickness they’ve been working on in other areas that have limited his need to do so. Wentz clarified that that part of his game is definitely not gone, but maybe with another year in the system and knowing where his checkdowns are going to be, he doesn’t rely on it as much.
The QB was asked to compare this offseason with the one from 2017 health-wise, and Wentz just said that he feels good right now and he doesn’t really want to look back, especially because it feels like forever ago.
Wentz did say though, that from a mental standpoint, he thinks he’s taken a leap each year in the league, including reading and reacting faster and seeing things quicker. He emphasized that he does feel good physically and mentally, and likes where the team is at.
On red zone improvement
Another area the offense has been working to improve has been on their red zone efficiency, and Wentz was asked how he felt that was coming this offseason.
“I feel good about it. I think the pieces that we’ve added around us, that’ll help tremendously down there, and I think getting the running game going down there as well, will help, you know with the new backs that we’ve added. I feel really good about where we are as an offense in total, but I think we’ve spent a lot of time focusing on red zone and I think we have a pretty good plan going into the season.”
On Josh McCown
“He’s great. He’s an awesome guy, a veteran obviously, everyone knows all about him. He’s learned a new offense almost every year now, so you just see him quickly picking up things and be a kind of veteran voice in there. And, he’s an awesome guy, we get along great already, so I’m excited for him to be here.”
On value of joint practice
Wentz was asked how valuable the reps against the Ravens were in practice, particularly if he isn’t going to end up getting any preseason snaps, and the QB admitted they were extremely valuable. He noted that anytime you can go against a different defense and switch up your looks, it’s helpful.
The quarterback also made note that the Ravens have a really talented secondary, and that it gives him and the offense a different look to work with heading into the regular season. Wentz noted that they’ve got guys like Earl Thomas who is a ball hawk and can disguise coverages as good as anybody.
Wentz said that joint practices are valuable, but wouldn’t go so far as to say that they should replace preseason games. He said there are a lot of benefits to joint practices, in terms of staying healthy and getting to go against another team, but noted it’s a tough call to replace preseason snaps.
The QB also said that it doesn’t really matter whether his first hit since last season is in the preseason or in Week 1, the first hit is always a bit jarring, but it doesn’t so much matter when that hit happens.
Wentz was asked about his comfort level with guys like Corey Clement and Mack Hollins — players he’s played with in the past, but hasn’t had a lot of time with this offseason. The QB noted that both of those guys are really smart, and he feels totally comfortable with them in the offense, and even if they aren’t getting practice reps, they are locked in during meetings and walk-thrus.
A lot has been made of his diet and regimen changes this offseason, but Wentz said that he thinks it’s all helped and he feels really good.