Eagles

Carson Wentz, Eagles prepared for rainy weather vs. 49ers

Carson Wentz, Eagles prepared for rainy weather vs. 49ers

Carson Wentz thought about it but he couldn't really remember the last time he played in a downpour. 

He just knows it's been a long time. 

That's probably going to change on Sunday. According to NBC10, there's a 90 percent chance of rain on Sunday and "some of the rain could be heavy at times." 

The Eagles had a pretty dry schedule all last season and Wentz played most of his college games in the Fargodome at North Dakota State. He's had a few games in light rain but Sunday against the 49ers might offer something completely different. 

"I think [Wentz will] be fine," head coach Doug Pederson said. "I mean, we've just got to make sure we secure the snap, No. 1. And then ball security on handoffs, things of that nature just becomes a little more point of emphasis.

"He hasn't played in a ton of bad weather games because he played in a dome in college. It doesn't bother him, too. He's lived it. He's had to live in the cold or the snow, the wet, the rain. He should be fine."

The Eagles were definitely aware of the weather forecast this week. The quarterbacks spent a day throwing extremely soaked footballs, something they do whenever there is rain in the upcoming game forecast. It's really the only way to prepare for the impending conditions, although Wentz wanted to make sure he doesn't overthink it too much. 

Pederson said the rain won't necessarily change the Eagles' game plan but it might change the way he calls the game once things start rolling on Sunday. Like Wentz, he didn't want to turn the rain into a distraction. 

"I think if you get on [the field] before the game, you kind of get a feel," running back Wendell Smallwood said. "But there's some things you can't control, man. They have rain gloves now. They will help out a lot. I think you've got to be more focused, handoffs, looking the ball in, tucking the ball in. You have to be strong with the ball. You can get away with that when the ball isn't wet but when it's wet, you see a lot of guys putting two hands on the ball. You just have to do what you're already supposed to be doing better."

As a heavy favorite over the winless 49ers — anywhere from 12.5 to 14 points — the Eagles (6-1) are probably not thrilled to see bad weather in the forecast. It can often be a great equalizer. One of the last times the Eagles were favored by this much was against the Vikings in 2010. You'll remember that as the Joe Webb Game when the unknown quarterback led the Vikings to a win in a rare Tuesday game thanks to a winter storm. 

Anything less than perfect conditions could theoretically help the team that's the big underdog. 

"It don't matter to me if it rains or not," Alshon Jeffery said. "It don't matter to me. I can play in all type of weather."

Jeffery eventually agreed that rainy weather can be an advantage for receivers. After all, at least they know where they're going while the defensive back needs to be reactionary. Still, Wentz will have to get the ball to him and others.  

They're ready for it, but ultimately, there's not much the Eagles can do about the weather. 

"Just pray it doesn't rain," Wentz said. 

Carson Wentz leading all NFL players in Pro Bowl fan voting

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Carson Wentz leading all NFL players in Pro Bowl fan voting

Carson Wentz doesn't care about accolades. 

He just better get used to them. 

The NFL announced Wednesday afternoon the Eagles' quarterback is leading all players in Pro Bowl fan voting. 

"I honestly didn't even know that," Wentz said to NBC Sports Philadelphia while sitting at his locker after Wednesday's practice. "I guess that's cool and all but you know how I am about that stuff. At the end of the day, we're 9-1 and that's what we like. You know me, I don't get caught up in that stuff."

Wentz has 273,367 votes, well ahead of the second-place player, Tom Brady (239,989). He has over 30,000 more votes than perhaps the best quarterback of all time. 

Fan voting is open until Dec. 14 and the Pro Bowl teams will be announced on Dec. 19.  

This season, Wentz has thrown for 2,430 yards and leads the NFL in touchdown passes with 25. He has just five interceptions. Wentz, in his second pro season, is a big reason why the Eagles have the best record in the NFL at 9-1. 

If Wentz makes the Pro Bowl this season, it would be the first of his career. He admitted it would mean something to be named to the team. 

"I mean, obviously, that's recognition and that's something cool," he said. "But that's for down the road. We still have six games here to take care of business. We'll see what happens." 

In addition to Wentz, his favorite target Zach Ertz is closing in on his first Pro Bowl appearance. Ertz leads all NFC tight ends with 156,183 votes. In nine games this season, Ertz has 536 yards receiving and a career-high six touchdown catches. 

The Eagles are hoping neither of these two will be able to play in this year's Pro Bowl even if they make it. They're hoping both will be preparing for the Super Bowl that week. 

Carson Wentz's numbers have dipped, but Eagles keep winning

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Carson Wentz's numbers have dipped, but Eagles keep winning

Carson Wentz's declining production probably isn't a sign of trouble on the horizon for the Eagles. Quite the contrary, the quarterback's down numbers may be at least in part a reflection of the scheme and how well the team is playing.

With 2,430 yards passing and 25 touchdowns, Wentz might be the front-runner to be named the NFL's Most Valuable Player at season's end. He's among the top two or three candidates, anyway. But the second-year player's once eye-popping statistics have notably dropped off in recent weeks, begging some question as to whether the magic is wearing off.

Over the Eagles' last three games, Wentz has completed 47 of 86 pass attempts (54.7 percent) for 192.7 yards per game (6.7 average) with eight touchdowns — far from MVP-caliber.

Perhaps the most concerning of those numbers is Wentz's completion percentage. At 59.7 percent for the season, he's fallen well below his mark of 62.4 as a rookie.

Wentz concedes he could be more accurate. The 24-year-old signal caller also believes some of the dropoff in his completion percentage is due to the offense pushing the ball vertically with more frequency in 2017.

That, and stats are meaningless as long as the Eagles are winning.

"That's definitely a number that I'd like to get higher again," Wentz said before Wednesday's practice. "I'm not crazy about stats. What really matters is wins and losses, but I'd like that to get higher.

“I do think it's a product of taking more chances down the field, taking more shots, being aggressive. I'm not going to get too hung up on that.”

There is certainly something to what Wentz is saying. While his completion rate is sub-optimal, his yards per attempt are over a yard higher compared to last season — 7.6 to 6.2. That's good for ninth in the NFL among qualifying quarterbacks.

More incompletions or not, Wentz has still managed to play more efficient.

The Eagles are also 3-0 during Wentz's ongoing funk, so to speak, and he's only turned the football over once. He's obviously doing something right.

In fact, Wentz and the Eagles have been so successful in the last three games, that's actually had a negative impact on his individual numbers as well. The team jumped out to big second-half leads in contests against the 49ers, Broncos and Cowboys, reducing the need to put the ball in the air. Wentz even sat out portions of the fourth quarter twice.

Those types of game scripts will obviously put a damper on volume totals such as yards and touchdowns, and possibly Wentz's MVP chances along with them. From the team's vantage point, they're overwhelmingly positive.

With the Eagles chugging right along at 9-1, there doesn't seem much need to perform an autopsy on Wentz's season at this point. But if critics are searching for holes in the ship, the quarterback doesn't appear to be the place where this squad is going to spring a leak.