Doug Pederson blamed Carson Wentz’s shaky performance Sunday in part on the hits he absorbed behind a makeshift offensive line.
Which is probably true.
He also blamed some of Wentz’s misfires on his footwork.
Probably true, too.
He also said Wentz’s performance was “not as bad as it appears,” if you take out the turnovers.
Which is ridiculous.
Wentz threw two interceptions and fumbled three times, losing two, in the Eagles’ 17-9 loss to the Seahawks Sunday. One of the two lost fumbles, the botched handoff to Miles Sanders, wasn’t entirely his fault.
But even three turnovers, all of them ending promising drives? That’s inexcusable.
“I would love for you to stand back there and play quarterback in the National Football League and take some of the shots that these quarterbacks take,” Pederson said. “Look at the game last night. Aaron Rodgers was affected in the game because he was getting hit and knocked around off his spot. So it affects guys, and yet he’s tough, he stands in there, he makes some great throws down the field, doesn’t shy away from that contact.”
Wentz did take a beating Sunday behind an offensive line that at various points had three guys playing positions they had never previously played in the NFL — Andre Dillard at right tackle and Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Matt Pryor both at right guard.
Wentz was sacked three times and hit nine times.
It was the first time in his career he’s committed four turnovers and only the second time he’s committed three.
“Because he got hit early in the game there were a couple times that he (was) just a little erratic just being able to set (his) feet, and that comes with the extra contact,” Pederson said. “We pride ourselves with the offensive line, the backs, the tight ends to try to keep the quarterback as clean as possible. Especially early in a football game, it gets them into a flow.”
Wentz completed 33 of 45 passes for 256 yards with a TD pass to Zach Ertz with 20 seconds left.
He was 8-for-8 for 80 yards on that meaningless final drive, which make his stats look not quite as bad.
“If you remove the turnovers it’s really not as bad as it appears,” Pederson said. “The turnovers make it worse than it was. Because we didn’t capitalize, we didn’t stay on the field. We had some drives and then turnovers stopped us. Those are the things we have to clean up.”
Of course, saying Wentz played well other than the turnovers is right out of the, “How was the play other than that, Mrs. Lincoln?” school of thought.
Bottom line is Wentz was terrible and has to be better.
Wentz did bruise his hand while tackling Jefferson, but that was with six minutes left in the third quarter.
So that’s no excuse for all the ugly passes before that point.
Most glaring was the short 4th-and-Goal pass that sailed five feet over Miles Sanders’ head.
It wouldn’t have been a touchdown anyway, but it was about as bad a misfire as we’ve ever seen from Wentz.
“There are times when just a matter of setting your feet as a quarterback and delivering a short throw or getting your eyes on target a lot sooner than you do,” Pederson said. “He’s such a great thrower of the ball down the field and these are things we continue to work on with him, and we’ve got to make sure Miles is in the right spot, too. It goes both ways. It’s not always about the quarterback. We can coach that up and we will, but we’ve also got to get the other guys in the right spots as well, too.”
Through 11 games in his Pro Bowl season two years ago, Wentz had 28 TD passes, 5 INTs and a 104.0 passer rating.
Now he has 17 TDs, 6 INTs and an 89.6 passer rating.
It’s not all the receivers’ fault or the O-line’s fault or the coaches’ fault.
And Pederson did admit as much.
“We’ve got to make sure that he’s doing the right things, progression, where the ball’s going, and then it’s up to him to see the defense, see the field, and get the ball out of his hand and do all those things right,” he said. “We’ve just got to continue to work. Everything’s right in front of us.”
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