Eagles

Carson Wentz and Golden Tate already learning how to fly together

Carson Wentz and Golden Tate already learning how to fly together

Carson Wentz was back in his home state of North Dakota hunting ducks during the bye week when Howie Roseman actually pulled the trigger. 

Wentz got the call that the Eagles had traded for wide receiver Golden Tate, so he quickly sent his new weapon a text message to welcome him to the flock. 

On Wednesday, Wentz said that text message was so he and Tate could immediately begin to build chemistry. Same with the invitation for Tate to join him at church on Sunday — an invitation Tate declined to study his new playbook, but his wife took up. They’ll still have to learn to play with each other on the fly, but any bit of information the two can gain about each other will help.

“Everyone’s different,” Wentz said. “Obviously, the more reps, the better. At the same time, you turn on the film of what he’s done in Detroit and just try to see his body language on routes and what he’s good at and those types of things. It’ll be big to finally get out there today and finally start to get used to him and build that chemistry right away.”

Doug Pederson said it’ll be on Wentz and Tate to build their rapport by spending extra time throwing to each other and getting a feel for one another. They won’t get it down immediately; Pederson said it’ll take some time. 

“Getting used to Carson is something he’s going to have to do,” Pederson said. “But we gotta do it fast. Like now. It’s going to take some time.”

Sure, it’ll be a gradual process. No matter how much the two are on the same page by week’s end, they’ll even be further along come this time next week, and so on. There’s no mighty recipe to quickly create chemistry. But the quicker the better. 

It’s good that Wentz isn’t going in blind too. While there’s nothing that can make up for practice reps, there’s plenty he can learn about Tate from watching film. Specifically, offensive coordinator Mike Groh said Tate is a QB-friendly receiver because of his body language. 

Quarterbacks coach Press Taylor was able to elaborate on what exactly that body language looks like: 

It’s kind of just sinking his hips, being able to shed a defender at the right time, understanding when to cross over a defender, maybe when not to, when to get in and out of a break. There’s a lot of times we have depths on certain routes and it may be one revolution short, one revolution extra, based how the coverage is dictated. With stuff like that, you need to be able to trust what you see with your receiver. So when he sinks his hip, when he changes his leverage of a guy, that’s when the ball needs to be out. That’s something that’s developed with Carson and these guys he’s been throwing to. That’s something we need to get Golden up to speed on.

Taylor said that Groh is especially good at making sure Wentz is always communicating with his receivers. If they’re in a meeting and Wentz mentions he’d like a receiver to run a route a different way, Groh will ask if he’s talked to that receiver about it. Because Wentz is the guy pulling the trigger, they want him to be vocal with what he wants. They want him to do that with Tate right away. 

For years, Tate worked with Matthew Stafford and became Stafford’s security blanket on third downs. He can similarly help the Eagles in those situations, but Wentz will need to learn to trust him first. That started with a text message in the North Dakota wilderness as ducks hit the ground for the purpose of jerky.  

So how quickly can these two get on the same page? 

“Hopefully by Sunday,” Taylor said. 

That would be quacktastic. 

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Does this move make Nick Foles to Jacksonville more likely?

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USA Today Images

Does this move make Nick Foles to Jacksonville more likely?

The Jaguars were already one of the favorite teams to land Nick Foles this offseason. And that was before they brought in his former QBs coach. 

Now, John DeFilippo is heading to Jacksonville and it’s fair to wonder if Foles won’t be too far behind. 

Foles and DeFilippo weren’t together long in Philadelphia. Foles came back in 2017 so the two worked together for just one season, but that season ended with Foles holding the Super Bowl MVP trophy. DeFilippo was highly regarded by the Eagles and by the quarterbacks in his meeting room. 

This is what Foles said about DeFilippo late last season, when it became likely Flip would find a job elsewhere. 

He grinds. He puts us through some stuff, which is awesome. He's a great coach. I know he's focused on us right now, but I also know he's going to be a great head coach someday, and I'm excited for his opportunity.

DeFilippo, 40, might still be a head coach someday soon, but he’s going back to an OC position for now. He was the OC and play caller in Minnesota but was fired by head coach Mike Zimmer before the conclusion of the 2018 season. 

Even before the arrival of DeFilippo, the Jaguars were clearly in the mix to get Foles. 

The real question would be whether or not they’d be willing to part with draft picks to get Foles or if he’d simply be a guy they might want to sign if he becomes a free agent. 

The Eagles were able to get to an incredibly high level of play while DeFilippo was working with Foles, so it would make some sense for there to be a reunion in Jacksonville. It doesn’t mean this is where Foles will definitely end up, but there seems to be at least a little better chance after this move.

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Nick Foles still the Eagles’ quarterback in alternate universe

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Nick Foles still the Eagles’ quarterback in alternate universe

In some parallel universe, Nick Foles and the Eagles just wrapped up their season in New Orleans — turns out the Saints are pretty good in that world, too. The difference in this alternate timeline are the questions Howie Roseman faced the Tuesday after.

“Do you think Nick has earned the right to be the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL with his next contract,” shouts a reporter.

“Are you afraid Nick could hold out if he doesn’t have a new contract before training camp,” barks another reporter.

The Eagles never drafted Carson Wentz. They didn’t need him. Foles received a contract extension from the team in 2015, and now it’s time to go back to the table.

Is it so crazy? Foles was 26 years old and amassed a 14-4 record as starter with a playoff appearance over the previous two seasons. He threw 29 touchdowns to two interceptions in 2013. Sure, he fell back to earth then got injured the following year, yet even at the time, there were people (ahem) making the case the Eagles should stick with Foles.

There lies the point of departure between the two worlds.

In our reality, Jeffrey Lurie gave Chip Kelly full control over personnel in 2015 and Foles was traded to the Rams, setting off the present series of events. But in the parallel universe, Kelly never assumed power, and Roseman gave Foles the type of low-risk extension quarterbacks such Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick, Ryan Tannehill and even Russell Wilson were signing around the same time. Kelly was still relieved of his head coaching duties the following season, still succeeded by Doug Pederson, and the Eagles still went on to win the first Super Bowl in franchise history, too.

Again, knowing what we do now, is any of that hard to believe? Were he given the chance years ago, the Eagles might just be Foles’ team today, with a new contract looming or possibly already signed.

But Wentz is here now. No matter how you feel about Foles, the Eagles are heavily invested in Wentz. He’s younger. He has a better arm. He’s more athletic. When healthy, Wentz is capable of doing things on a football field that only a handful of quarterbacks in the league could dream of doing. He’s more talented, period.

Foles deserves the opportunity to be a starter somewhere, and there was a time when he deserved that opportunity here. Unfortunately, difficult as it may be to let a Philly legend leave, that time has passed.

The moral of this tale: whatever concerns there are about Wentz’s ability to stay healthy or regain his MVP-caliber form, he deserves a proper opportunity to lead the Eagles — the one Foles never got.

If we learned anything at all from the Foles experience, it ought to be not to give up on a young, up-and-coming franchise quarterback too soon.

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