After being blanked by Falcons, Eagles' Mike Wallace promises better days ahead

After being blanked by Falcons, Eagles' Mike Wallace promises better days ahead

Targets: 3.

Catches: 0.

That was the sum total of Mike Wallace’s Eagles debut, and needless to say it wasn’t the debut he was looking for.

The Eagles signed Wallace to a one-year, $1.915 million contract to make plays down the field, and it sure wasn’t all his fault, but he didn’t make any plays down the field, up the field or across the field in the Eagles’ opener on Thursday night against the Falcons.

Nick Foles targeted Wallace three times, twice on deep routes that would have been huge if they connected.

They didn’t.

Late in the second quarter, with the Eagles at their own 18-yard-line, Foles went deep to Wallace for what would have been a 45-yard gain, but the ball fell incomplete as Falcons safety Keanu Neal appeared to be holding Wallace’s right arm.

Foles threw out of bounds on the next play looking for Wallace at the Eagles’ 40. 

Wallace’s next target didn’t come until 4:48 remaining in the game with the Eagles just inside midfield, when Wallace got a step on corner Robert Alford down the middle of the field but Foles underthrew him at the 5. 

“We’ll be fine,” Wallace said. “Those will come.

“I’ve been playing for a long time, I’m not panicking over one game. Those big plays will come from everybody. No one had the big plays they wanted. Not myself, not Nelly (Nelson Agholor), not (Zach) Ertz, nobody. It was one game, but we won so that’s all that matters.”

It was only the sixth time in 148 career games Wallace has been held without a reception.

Wallace averaged 60 catches for 900 yards and 6 ½ touchdowns per season from 2009 through 2017.

So he can play.

We just haven’t seen it yet.

“It’s been a lot of guys in and out throughout training camp, a lot of guys down, a lot of guys up, so it’s just a timing thing,” Wallace said. “We’ve been all over the place as far as players consistently working with Nick. 

“I’ve been out of practice, Nelly’s been out of practice, Nick’s been out of practice, everybody. We’ve been all over.

“We’ll jell. I think we had a pretty good day today (Monday). We hit some of those deep shots that we wanted, obviously it was practice and not the game but it was a start and you have to start somewhere. “

The defense carried the Eagles Thursday night, limiting the Falcons to one touchdown on five red-zone possessions and just 12 points in all. 

This is an elite defense, but Wallace knows at some point the offense will have to hold up its end of the bargain.

“Lean on our defense, we need them, they’re one of the best in the league,” he said. “They proved that Thursday and hopefully we can help them out Sunday and they won’t have to make as many big plays.

“We still want those big plays but we wouldn’t be counting on them so much as we were Thursday.

“We don’t want to be, ‘We need you to do this.’ If we do our job on offense and make some big plays and score some touchdowns, it’s going to score a lot of pressure off those guys and make life a lot easier.”

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Eagles place Corey Clement, Josh Sweat injured reserve, add Boston Scott, Daeshon Hall to roster

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Eagles place Corey Clement, Josh Sweat injured reserve, add Boston Scott, Daeshon Hall to roster

The Eagles on Tuesday signed defensive end Daeshon Hall and running back Boston Scott to the 53-man roster and formerly placed defensive end Josh Sweat and running back Corey Clement on injured reserve. Both got hurt in the loss to the Cowboys Sunday. The team also signed CB Josh Hawkins to the practice squad

Hall, originally a third-round pick of the Panthers out of Texas A&M last year, played in only one game as a rookie with Carolina and got just nine snaps before going on IR with a knee injury. The Panthers released him before this season began, and he’s spent time since then on the 49ers’ and Texans’ practice squads.

Scott was the Saints’ sixth-round pick this year out of Louisiana Tech this year. He had been on the Saints’ practice squad since final cuts.

Clement hurt his knee in the loss to Dallas and Sweat injured his ankle.

Clement, a Super Bowl hero as an undrafted rookie last year with 100 receiving yards in the win over the Patriots, spent much of this season dealing with a nagging quad injury, but he had just started playing at a high level before getting hurt. 

He had 76 and 74 yards from scrimmage in the wins over the Giants and Redskins and finished with 68 carries for 259 yards and two rushing TDs plus 22 catches for 192 yards.

Sweat, a rookie fourth-round pick out of Florida State, didn’t play in the Eagles’ first four games this year but got some work after Derek Barnett suffered his season-ending shoulder injury against the Titans. Sweat got 68 reps on defense and 24 on special teams and had four tackles and two hurries.

Sweat is the sixth defensive player on injured reserve, joining Barnett, Ronald Darby, Rodney McLeod, Jalen Mills and Paul Worrilow. Clement joins Jay Ajayi, Mike Wallace and Mack Hollins as offensive players on IR. 

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If you've given up on Carson Wentz, you're out of your freaking mind

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If you've given up on Carson Wentz, you're out of your freaking mind

When Carson Palmer told our Dave Zangaro over the summer that it really takes a quarterback two years to get himself physically and mentally right after reconstructive knee surgery, I kind of brushed it off.

God didn’t design your knee to split it open, pull everything apart, wrap stuff with pliers, wrench stuff down, screw a ligament into a bone and then sew it all back up. That wasn’t intended for the knee.

Carson Wentz will be different, I figured. He’s Carson Wentz. He’s Superman.

I figured he’d pick up right where he left off once he was healthy enough to play.

It hasn’t gone that way. Wentz may be Superman, but his knee is human. And we’re all seeing that.

It’s been a disappointing year for the Eagles and a disappointing year for Wentz.

And it’s tough to put your finger on exactly what’s happening with him, other than he just doesn’t look like himself.

His numbers are really good. He’s got the seventh-highest passer rating in the NFL. He’s on pace to join Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers as only the second QB in history with 25 or more TD passes and single-digit interceptions in consecutive seasons.

He's faced five top-10 defenses, and he’s got 10 touchdowns and two interceptions in those games.

So he’s not playing poorly by any means, although the Saints game was a disaster for everybody. 

But he just looks off. We all see it. Something isn’t right.

Decision making has been clunky. Comfort level in the pocket isn't there. At times, he holds the ball too long and at times, he misses open guys. 

And it has to be the knee. And the way I figure, it has to be temporary.

I’ve written a lot about Wentz the last couple weeks, but I needed to again because this needs to be said:

If you’ve given up on Carson Wentz you’re out of your freaking mind.

The way he played last year before he got hurt — flinging the ball up and down the field, using his legs as a springboard for playmaking, making huge plays at huge moments — didn’t just disappear.

Considering everything, he’s really performed at a high level this year. He shredded his knee a year ago yesterday. He didn’t have OTAs. He didn’t have a training camp. He didn’t have a preseason. 

And it’s important to note that he didn’t have any time off, either. While his teammates were celebrating a Super Bowl, Wentz was grinding for hours every day at the NovaCare Complex. He went right from the 2017 season to surgery to rehab to facing the Colts and I’m sure there’s some fatigue involved here, too.

In the Washington game two weeks ago, Wentz ran around and made more plays using this legs than he had all year, and I thought, “Whoa, he’s back.”

Then Sunday in Dallas, he again looked sluggish and slow-footed in the pocket, and you’re reminded that this is a non-linear process. 

All Wentz is going through is what anybody who’s ever torn up their knee has gone through, and that’s a slow, arduous process with highs and lows, ups and downs and lots of frustrating moments.

I’ve heard everything the last week. People are giving up on him. They want to trade him. Bench him. Draft a quarterback. Sign Nick Foles to a long-term deal. 

Suds. There’s always someone who wants Suds.

Twitter’s a funny place, isn’t it?

All Wentz needs is some time. It’s the one thing we never want to give anybody, but he needs it.

The guy we saw play 13 games at an MVP level last year hasn’t gone anywhere. He’s just still finding his way back. And Doug Pederson’s shaky play calling sure hasn’t helped.

And despite all this Wentz has a higher completion percentage than Pat Mahomes, a higher passer rating than Jared Goff, more passing yards than Russell Wilson.

Wentz is going to win a lot of football games for this team over the next decade. 

Giving up on him because he’s been inconsistent less than a year after ACL surgery is lunacy.

Looking at it honestly, I feel like Wentz hasn’t really fallen short. Maybe the only thing that was off was our expectations.

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