Carson Wentz seems genuinely excited about the changes coming to the Eagles offense in 2020.
That’s a great sign.
Because these changes were made with him in mind.
This offseason, Doug Pederson tried to downplay the schematic changes coming to the Eagles’ offense by saying they probably wouldn’t be visible to the “naked eye.” But we’ll be able to see them. Because if the Eagles didn’t want change they wouldn’t have fired Mike Groh. They wouldn’t have promoted Press Taylor. And they damn sure wouldn’t have hired Rich Scangarello, Andrew Breiner and Marty Mornhinweg.
The biggest addition this offseason is Scangarello, a Kyle Shanahan disciple, whose job will be to marry the run, play action game, bootlegs and naked bootlegs.
I think some things will look a little different,” Wentz said on a Zoom call with reporters last week. “I’m really excited about it and I think it will really complement what we as an offense, who we are identity-wise. I think coaches really have a good grasp of who we are and how we can get the most out of me and out of the rest of the supporting cast.
Bringing in Scangarello was largely about Wentz.
The Eagles looked at Wentz’s game and realized he’s at his best when he’s able to move in and out of the pocket and throw on the run. Even Pederson admitted that when they looked back they noticed that Wentz “excelled” at the play action, QB movement and in the screen game.
The concepts Scangarello brings should match that really well. It’s probably the biggest reason he’s here … to maximize Wentz.
The subtle changes Pederson has talked about this offseason — protections, play action, screens, run game — will all be on display when the Eagles finally start practices later this month. It’s a good sign that Wentz seems excited about it.
Aside from Wentz’s excitement about the new concepts, it was also a good sign to hear him affectionately refer to Scangarello as “Coach Rich.” The relationship between these two men will be extremely important and they haven’t had a traditional offseason to get to know one another. Until recently, their relationship was an entirely virtual one. Remember, Wentz is entering his fifth year in the NFL and now here comes a new coach telling him what to do and how to change after an offseason where they couldn’t even meet in person.
As long as Wentz realizes the changes Scangarello wants to implement are there to help him, that relationship should be able to blossom.
In the last few months, the phrases we’ve heard used about Scangarello’s role is that he’s going to bridge the gap between the run and pass or marry the run game with the play action.
Duce Staley summed up what that means:
When you talk about marrying, meaning your taking the concepts, you’re making the play action look like the run and that has a lot to do with the quarterback marrying himself with the running back, from steps, eyes, protection and so on,” Staley said. “Rich definitely has been awesome. He’s been totally awesome, being able to stack some things for us, think different, make the room think different. It’s been good.
You can understand why the offensive coaches might want to downplay any changes coming to their scheme. They built this offense; heck, this is the offense that won a Super Bowl. But evolution in the NFL is natural and they needed to get better. This a way to get better by maximizing your franchise quarterback’s strengths.
No one has worked closer with Wentz in his first four years in the NFL than Taylor, who has gone from assistant QBs coach to QBs coach to passing game coordinator/QBs coach this season.
While Taylor echoed Pederson’s sentiment about the subtlety behind the offensive changes, he said Scangarello has been a great addition to the staff so far.
“I feel like it can add to what we already do around here,” Taylor said. “Rich may have some different details for some of the things they’ve done or some different ideas of how to attack a certain defense, how to get guys in certain situations. That’s really what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to add different experiences we feel like can take our 2020 Eagles offense to the next level.”
If Wentz buys in, they can do that.
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