Carson Wentz on Jordan Matthews trade: 'It's tough' but 'part of the business'

Carson Wentz on Jordan Matthews trade: 'It's tough' but 'part of the business'

On Friday night, Carson Wentz and a few teammates took Jordan Matthews out to dinner at Bar Amis in the Navy Yard for a final farewell.

"Then I drove him over to the airport," Wentz said Saturday after practice.

This was a Welcome-to-the-NFL moment for the Eagles' second-year quarterback.

Just like that, his favorite receiver and one of his closest friends was no longer his teammate.

“You know, it’s tough," Wentz said. "It’s one of those things where there’s the personal side of things and the football side of things.

"The football side of things, you’ve just got to trust what they’re doing upstairs. Ultimately, they’re the ones that make those decisions and what they think is best for the team, I’m going to be in support of 100 percent. They haven’t let me down or this team down yet.

"But on a personal side, it’s tough. This is my first time experiencing something like this with someone who’s one of my best friends. You know? And seeing him yesterday, it was tough on him, too. It was kind of out of the blue. There’s really no other way to put it. It’s just kind of tough personally.”

The Eagles traded Matthews and a third-round pick to the Bills on Friday morning for cornerback Ronald Darby.

Wentz completed 73 passes to Matthews last year. His next-favorite targets among wide receivers were Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham, with 36 catches each.

He said executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman did not consult with him before executing the trade but did speak with him soon after.

"He told me it was already done," Wentz said. "I just said that’s part of the business.

"Obviously, he knew how I felt with Jordan being one of my best friends. So on the personal side it’s tough, and he knew that, he was prepared for that, and I told him that, but keeping business business is just part of that."

Matthews, whose 225 catches are ninth-most in NFL history by a wide receiver in his first three seasons, was among the most popular guys in the locker room.

Several players spoke Saturday about the impact he's made in their lives in a short period of time. Zach Ertz said, "He'll always be my brother."

Wentz seemed a bit shaken Saturday when he spoke about Matthews.

“Just seeing the reaction on Twitter from all the guys in the locker room just speaks to the guy he was, the high-character guy he was, and the respect he had around here both in the locker room and in the whole building," he said.

"It’ll be different, it’ll be tough, but it just speaks to the guy he was. Everyone loved him. He was the ultimate competitor out here. It was always about the team first.

"Replacing a guy like that in the locker room is definitely not going to be easy.

What about replacing him on the field?

Wentz was pretty honest about how much he'll miss Matthews. Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith are newcomers, and Jeffery hasn't practiced much this summer. Mack Hollins is a rookie. Nelson Agholor has never played up to expectations.

How do you replace 75 catches for 900 yards and 6½ touchdowns a year?

“That’ll be tough, too," Wentz said. "We believe we have some younger guys and some guys that have kind of proven themselves here in the offseason and training camp and everything that can really kind of step up and take on that role to some extent.

"We also have a guy like Trey Burton, that last year filled in nicely there and can do some things. It’ll open up some opportunities for some other guys.

"But obviously Jordan’s been extremely productive the last couple years, so missing that piece in the slot, it’s not going to be easy to replace, but I’m confident we have a number of guys who can hopefully step up and do a great job.”

Wentz lost his favorite target and closest friend, and he sounded like it Saturday. It was by far the most candid interview he's done since getting here last spring.

Asked about the chemistry he had with Matthews and how long it will take to develop it with his new receivers, he answered honestly.

"Obviously, that takes time," he said. "We were so close off the field that on the field it helped to just know what to expect from each other.

"It does take time, but I feel like this spring, Jordan was out a little bit and I had a chance to develop that chemistry with some other guys this summer, throwing with those guys, training camp, and now these last couple weeks before the season comes around, we’ll get more work."

Through a quirk of the preseason schedule, Matthews, LeSean McCoy and Jordan Poyer will be back Thursday, when the Bills face the Eagles in a preseason game at the Linc.

Bills head coach Sean McDermott, a long-time Andy Reid assistant, has a number of familiar faces on his coaching staff, including Leslie Frazier, David Culley, Juan Castillo and Chad Hall.

Wentz was asked what it will be like seeing Matthews trot out the visiting tunnel before the game Thursday night.

“It’s going to be weird," he said. "It’s going to be really weird. It’s not going to be fun, I’ll tell you that.”

Wentz made one thing clear. They may no longer be teammates, but they'll always be friends.

“We’re still so close off the field," Wentz said. "That’s not going to go anywhere just because he’s in Buffalo."

Raiders beat Chiefs in thriller with touchdown on final play

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Raiders beat Chiefs in thriller with touchdown on final play


OAKLAND, Calif. -- Wins have been so hard to come by for the Oakland Raiders that it took three tries at the final play for them finally to pull this one out and possibly save their season.

Derek Carr threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree on the final play after the game was extended by two straight defensive holding calls and the Raiders snapped a four-game losing streak with a 31-30 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night.

"We didn't give up," Crabtree said. "We got a team full of fighters. We believe. ... No matter how hard the game was, we believed. We came out with the W and I'm excited. It's a good way to win, a great way to win."

With their season on the line following the recent slump, Carr led an 85-yard touchdown drive in the final 2:25 to give the Raiders (3-4) the thrilling comeback in a game they trailed by nine points heading into the fourth quarter.

Carr finished 29 for 52 for 417 yards and three touchdowns, with Amari Cooper catching 11 passes for 210 yards and two of the scores. The Raiders had struggled to get the ball downfield while being held to 17 or fewer points in four straight games but Carr repeatedly beat the Chiefs with deep passes.

"No. 4 kept making plays," coach Jack Del Rio said. "This is a special, special win."

Alex Smith threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns but it wasn't enough for the Chiefs (5-2). They lost consecutive games for the first time since Oct. 11-18, 2015, and had their 12-game winning streak in the AFC West snapped in a thrilling finish.

"I've never been part of a game that came down so dramatic," linebacker Derrick Johnson said. "But, still had a chance to win. Period. Just have to make a play. One play. One play."

The Raiders had an apparent go-ahead touchdown pass to Jared Cook with 18 seconds left overturned when replay ruled he was down at the 1. An offensive pass interference on Crabtree wiped out another touchdown on the next play.

But holding calls on Ron Parker and Eric Murray set the stage for the final play. Carr hit Crabtree in the front corner of the end zone to tie it at 30. Giorgio Tavecchio won it with the extra point , setting off a celebration on a wild night that included Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch getting ejected in the second quarter for shoving an official.

Hot tempers
The game took an odd turn midway through the second quarter after Kansas City's Marcus Peters hit Carr late, angering the Raiders. Offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele and Donald Penn confronted Peters and Lynch sprinted off the Oakland sideline to join the fray. Lynch, a close friend of Peters, ended up shoving line judge Julian Mapp and getting ejected . Peters also was called for a personal foul on the play. Lynch congratulated his teammates in the locker room after the game but didn't speak to reporters.

"I was disappointed he ran out because I knew we had a 15-yard penalty and we'd be in good shape," Del Rio said.

Long drive
After Marquette King pinned the Chiefs at their own 1 with a perfect punt early in the second quarter, Kansas City needed little time to turn the momentum. Smith hit Demarcus Robinson on a 33-yard pass on the first play of the drive. After a short run, Tyreek Hill beat David Amerson for a 64-yard touchdown pass that gave the Chiefs their first 99-yard drive since doing it Dec. 3, 2006, against Cleveland.

Deep connection
Carr had not connected on a single deep ball to Amari Cooper all season before the two teamed twice for long TDs in the opening quarter. On the first, Cooper appeared to push Terrance Mitchell but the officials picked up the flag and gave Cooper the 38-yard TD . Later in the quarter Carr and Cooper connected on a 45-yard score, making Cooper the first Raiders receiver with two TD catches in the first quarter since Mervyn Fernandez in 1989.

Kicking woes
The Raiders were hurt last week when a bad snap by Jon Condo led to a missed extra point by Giorgio Tavecchio in a 17-16 loss to the Chargers. That was Tavecchio's first missed kick of any kind this season but he then had a 53-yarder blocked and missed a 45-yarder wide left in the second quarter. Tavecchio also had a false start on an extra point in the third quarter.

Up next
Chiefs: Host Denver on Oct. 30.

Raiders: Visit Buffalo on Oct. 29.

Carson Wentz feels 5-1 Eagles 'just wired different this year'

Carson Wentz feels 5-1 Eagles 'just wired different this year'

There's something special going on around here, and Carson Wentz isn't afraid to say it.

“We’re made different this year," Wentz said after practice Thursday. "We have a different character makeup in that locker room, and nobody’s going to ever settle for anything less than greatness. So we’re going to go out there every day and attack it.”

The Eagles, 5-1, go for their fifth straight win Monday night against the Redskins, who they beat on opening day at FedEx Field.

Wentz, in only his second season, has elbowed his way into the NFL MVP conversation (see story). His emergence as the unquestioned leader of this team has mirrored the team's emergence as one of the NFL's elite teams.

Wentz spoke Thursday about how he sensed something different, something special, as far back as spring workouts.

“You could just see it, even going back to OTAs," he said. "You could see the competitive nature, even in practice. You couldn’t wear pads. You couldn’t even press cover outside. You could just see the competitive nature.

"And then through training camp, it just kept getting elevated even more. You could just see it from the leadership on down. We’re just wired different this year.”

When Wentz tells his teammates to strive for greatness, they listen, because here's a kid who in just 22 career games has established himself as one of the NFL's best young quarterbacks. He has 13 touchdowns and just three interceptions this year and has posted a passer rating of 90 or higher in five of six games.

“It’s something that we always strive for," Wentz said. "And really, in everything we do in life, you strive for greatness.

"When we’re sitting where we’re at right now, we can just never let that slip. We can never let that slip from our preparation in the film room, the meeting room, the weight room, in practice, so that’s just something I feel like we have to always keep focusing on.

"Never settle, never settle, and just keep striving for that greatness.”

Wentz said he didn't feel anything lacking last year, when the Eagles went 7-9 and missed the playoffs for a third straight year.

It's just that head coach Doug Pederson is in Year 2, coordinators Frank Reich and Jim Schwartz are in Year 2 and Wentz is in Year 2.

The whole program is in Year 2 and there's a confidence, an attitude, a swagger that was nowhere to be found last year or really the last few years.

“I think it was just a natural growth," Wentz said. "You go back and look at last season again. We were so close in so many of those ballgames but [it's] just the natural growth that’s taken place both from coach and just really all of us being in this together and having a year under our belt."