Eagles Film Review: Carson Wentz's interceptions are coming on overthrows

Eagles Film Review: Carson Wentz's interceptions are coming on overthrows

What made Carson Wentz so good early in his rookie season was that he wasn't giving away the football. 

Over the last several weeks, that's changed. 

Through three games, Wentz didn't have a single interception and was facing off against Dak Prescott for the most attempts to start a rookie season without one. That seems like a long time ago. 

Wentz now has eight in the last eight games. The Eagles are 1-4 in games where Wentz throws an interception and 4-2 in games where he doesn't. 

His interception against the Packers on Monday was a big one. The Eagles were driving down the field to start the third quarter down just four points. They had a chance to take a lead early in the second half, but Wentz overthrew Zach Ertz across the middle of the field and the Packers kicked a field goal to go up 17-10 on their next possession. 

His interception against Green Bay is something we've seen a few times this year from the rookie. Dating back to training camp, when Wentz misses, he often misses high. 

Four of his eight interceptions this season – and three of his last five – have come on overthrows. 

Here's a look at those picks: 

We'll start with the one on Monday against the Packers. It came on 2nd-and-10 from the Green Bay 45. Wentz is in empty backfield and Ertz is running a deep skinny post. 

Ertz doesn't create much separation early and Wentz is feeling the pressure allowed by right tackle Allen Barbre and right guard Isaac Seumalo. Wentz doesn't have much of a pocket, which doesn't allow him to step into the throw. 

Wentz overshoots Ertz by over five yards and the safety moves over to pick it off. 

Wentz started off the game against the Giants a few weeks ago with another high interception forced by pressure in his face. He comes out in shotgun with one running back. 

On this play, Wentz again feels pressure coming from his right side. He has Nelson Agholor dragging across the field and actually has him open. But the pressure forces him to throw off his back foot, and he again sails it for an easy interception. 

The defender who had Ertz covered on the play released once he saw the ball soaring and had an easy pick. 

Here's the reverse angle of when Wentz releases the ball. He obviously wasn't able to set his feet, which leads to the poor throw. 

Just a few minutes after Wentz's first interception against the Giants, he threw another one. And again, he soared the pass, this time over Dorial Green-Beckham. 

Again, Wentz finds himself in a collapsing pocket, but this time he has at least enough time to stand in and deliver the throw from that collapsing pocket. There's some pressure, but at least this time, he doesn't have to throw off his back foot. 

After showing blitz, a Giants linebacker has dropped into zone coverage, so Wentz has to at least be aware of him. It's likely Wentz wanted to make sure he got the pass over him. 

Because of that linebacker and because of the tight coverage on DGB, the throw has to be perfect. It isn't, DGB doesn't get very far off the ground, and it's basically a fair catch for the free safety. 

This interception is the first of two Wentz threw against the Vikings in a win. This is the only game the Eagles have won where Wentz threw an interception. 

It's 2nd-and-long on the Eagles' second possession of the game. Wentz is going to target Brent Celek on a quick out. 

On this pass, Wentz tries to get rid of the ball quickly, but he has a nice pocket to throw from. 

The ball soars, while it looks like Celek might have been interfered with by the linebacker covering him. But it doesn't get called and it's an easy interception for the safety, who probably anticipated making a tackle but instead found the ball coming right to him. Even if Celek was held, this was still a bad pass from Wentz, especially considering how clean his pocket was. 

The Eagles were able to tackle Andrew Sendejo short of the end zone. The defense then came up with an interception of its own and the Eagles went on to win the game. 

The Eagles were able to overcome two interceptions from Wentz in the win to the Vikings, but that's outlier. They've lost the other four games where he has thrown a pick. And often, the problem has been high throws. 

Eagles notes, quotes and tidbits: Johnson returning after concussion

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Eagles notes, quotes and tidbits: Johnson returning after concussion

It turns out it wouldn't have mattered if the Eagles played the Panthers on Sunday instead of Thursday. Lane Johnson would still have missed the game. 

The veteran right tackle didn't clear the NFL's concussion protocol until Monday. But he'll be back in action on Monday night against Washington. 

For Johnson, the Panthers game was the 11th game he's missed since the start of the 2016 season after he missed 10 last year because of his PED suspension. Watching the game on Thursday night was an all-too-familiar feeling. 

"I didn't like it," Johnson said. "I didn't like it at all to be honest with you. As much time as I've been away from this building the last two seasons. I feel fresh, feel rejuvenated and ready to get back out there."

Johnson watched Thursday night's game at his house with his wife, but he didn't watch the whole thing. He watched some, took a break, and then watched the end. He said he knew the Eagles were going to win. 

Halapoulivaati Vaitai started the game in Johnson's place and did OK. After a horrendous start, Big V settled in and played fairly well. Johnson was impressed and thinks Vaitai is "becoming the player he's meant to be." Johnson remembered things didn't click for him until around his ninth NFL game. Thursday's was Big V's seventh career start. 

Vaitai played OK, but the Eagles are clearly much better with Johnson in the lineup and they'll need him this week as he'll see plenty of veteran pass-rusher Ryan Kerrigan. 

The concussion Johnson suffered in the first half against Arizona was the first of his career. The Eagles pointed out a couple of plays where it could have happened but Johnson didn't remember when it happened. He just knew he didn't feel right when he went into the locker room at halftime. Unless the concussion happened on the last play of the half -- it didn't look like it -- Johnson played concussed for at least some of that game. 

It took about a week for Johnson to feel normal again. 

"I'm fresh," he said. "I think I'll be a different animal. That's all I'll say." 

The great escape
Malcolm Jenkins is a busy man. Between all the work he does to fight against social injustice, running his foundation and owning a clothing store, he has a pretty hectic life. 

But when he gets to the NovaCare Complex all Jenkins has to worry about it football. 

"When I step into this building, this is my escape from everything else," he said this week. "Life is kind of hectic outside of these walls but here, this comes easy. It's one of those things that I put a lot of time in this building, watch a lot of film, work hard out there on the field and the weight room. This has become easy for me. This has become the peaceful part of my week." 

Jenkins is 29 now, but his play hasn't dropped off even a little bit. He's still one of the most important pieces of the Eagles' defense. 

In typical fashion, Jenkins has played all 384 defensive snaps this season. He's the only player on the Eagles' defense to be in for every play.  

"I feel like I'm having a solid season," he said. "Obviously, statistics aren't very alarming but I'm not missing any plays. I'm getting guys lined up. It's just one of those things where I think everybody is concerned about their role in the team. As long as we're winning, I'm happy." 

Let's get physical
During his conference call with Philly reporters this week, Washington head coach Jay Gruden made a somewhat surprising confession. He thinks the Eagles were more physical than his team in Week 1. He also said that's the only time it's happened to his team this season. 

"I think it's just always a physical hardcore matchup that's fun to watch," Gruden said. 

That's a pretty big compliment to the Eagles and their front office. Howie Roseman always talks about the importance of building a team in the trenches and that's been the hallmark of the team this year. They've been good on the line on both sides of the ball. 

Quote of the Week 1: “We’re made different this year. We have a different character makeup in that locker room, and nobody’s going to ever settle for anything less than greatness." — Carson Wentz (see story)

Quote of the Week 2: "I think a lot of people get caught up in these numbers. I think there's too many fantasy football players in the world." — Gruden on Alshon Jeffery's impact with the Eagles  

Quote of the Week 3: "I was there. Joe Jurevicius on a jerk route. Took it 80." — Gruden on the last game at the Vet. He was there. 

Random media guide note: Steven Means' favorite meal is cereal. He enjoys Frosted Flakes and Cinnamon Toast Crunch  

Weekly meetings helping Doug Pederson, Carson Wentz get on same page

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Weekly meetings helping Doug Pederson, Carson Wentz get on same page

It doesn't seem like such a big deal at first. The head coach and quarterback get together and talk? 

So what?
Doug Pederson said Saturday it is a big deal and said his wide-ranging weekly 1-on-1 shoot-the-bull sessions with Carson Wentz have become an important part of Wentz's success as a quarterback, Pederson's success as a coach and the Eagles' success as a team.
Pederson said before practice Saturday morning that every Thursday night -- or Friday night the week of a Monday night game -- once most people have left the NovaCare Complex, he and Wentz sit down and just talk.
"We kind of talk about a lot of things," he said. "A little bit about football and a little bit about life."
The Eagles are 5-1 going into their huge Monday night showdown with the Redskins at the Linc, and Wentz and Pederson, both in their second year, are both enjoying considerable acclaim. 

Wentz, with 13 touchdown passes and three interceptions, is having an MVP type of season so far, and Pederson is an early favorite for Coach of the Year.
They're clearly on the proverbial same page, and Pederson said something as simple as a weekly brainstorming session with nobody else around is a key part of that success.
“I think it’s important for myself as a play caller and (Carson as) a quarterback that we kind of get on the same page," Pederson said.
"I want to hear his thoughts from the week of practice and he wants to hear my thoughts. We spend maybe 10 or 15 minutes talking football and the rest of it is we’re talking deer hunting stories. He loves to deer hunt and all that and I do too. I talk about my days in Green Bay with Brett.
"It’s just that time where he and I can just sort of take a deep breath and exhale and really kind of get on the same page going into the game basically. I think it’s important we continue to do that."
Pederson said he and Wentz met individually occasionally last year and earlier this year, but in recent weeks the Thursday night sessions have become a regular and important part of his and Wentz's regular routine.
Obviously, the head coach and quarterback meet all the time, but Pederson said these sessions are a unique opportunity because it's late in the week, it's just the two of them and the conversations aren't just limited to football.
“Andy (Reid) would do it during the week, not necessarily 1-on-1 at night or anything like that, but he would pull Alex (Smith) aside during the day," Pederson said.
"I know back when Donovan (McNabb) was here, even then he would have conversations with him. Marty Mornhinweg would do it with Michael Vick.
"I’ve been around coordinators or play callers who have done that with the quarterback. I just think it’s important that that line of communication is open, the dialogue is there and I want to make sure he and I are seeing the same things going into those games."