Eagles

Carson Wentz gets his chance to respond to PhillyVoice story

Carson Wentz gets his chance to respond to PhillyVoice story

Carson Wentz sat down to read the Bible. He ended up reading a hit piece. 

On the morning of Jan. 21, Wentz had just finished breakfast with his wife and was about to have his daily quiet time, where he sits on the couch and reads the Bible. A member of the Eagles’ public relations staff sent him the link to a story from PhillyVoice, citing more than half a dozen anonymous Eagles players and sources close to the team. It characterized the franchise quarterback as “selfish,” “uncompromising” and “egotistical.” 

Wentz on Thursday sat down with a group of select reporters and addressed the situation, providing perspective and context sorely missed from the original report. He allowed that, at times, he can be selfish. He talked even more in-depth about his personality and the look inward he took after the story was published (see story)

While Wentz didn’t dismiss the entire report as inaccurate, he did express frustration that any issues weren’t resolved in-house and did explicitly shoot down several details. 

I just read it and I was a little confused, I guess,” Wentz said. “It’s never obviously fun to read your name being thrown around like that, but at the end of the day, try not to stress about it too much and let the media or the perception of others dictate who I am. I know who I am, first of all. I know how I carry myself, I know I’m not perfect, I know I have flaws. So I’m not going to sit here and say it was inaccurate and completely made up, I’m not going to do that. But at the end of the day, I will say our locker room is really close. If there were guys that had issues, in hindsight, I wish we could have just talked about them.

Right after Wentz read the report, he admitted he began to play detective, trying to figure out which of his teammates might have said disparaging things about him to a reporter. “But then you’re like, ‘does it really matter?’” Wentz said. “You know what I mean?”

When asked if he had encountered any friction in the locker room before this story, Wentz said he hadn’t (see full transcript). What seemingly bothered him the most was that if there was a problem, it wasn’t resolved internally. He said that part would have bothered him even if the story wasn’t about him. 

(When) we have an issue, usually we resolve it as brothers, as the family that we are,” Wentz said. “It’s why I think myself and a handful of other guys were just confused that it came out like that. If there were problems, we just usually handle it and it doesn’t come out the way that did.

Wentz didn’t want to get into too many specifics from the PhillyVoice report, but, when asked about several, did address a few things he claimed were inaccurate. 

1. The PhillyVoice story claimed, a “highly-respected veteran teammate” verbally attacked Wentz for not being a “team guy.” 

Wentz: “To go off of what I said earlier, I’m not really going to go into specifics about some of those stories, but I didn’t know what that was. I didn’t know what that was about.”

2. The story also claimed offensive coordinator Mike Groh was “bullied” by him. Wentz said he talked to Groh that same day and, “I think we all know that never took place.” 

Wentz: “I even go back to the year before to Frank (Reich). I know Frank has gone and said him and I used to have these competitive arguments that were healthy. That stuff happens. That’s what I think good football teams have, the ability to respectfully do that and kind of be stubborn and those things. That was the same way with Groh. In my opinion, he’s a very good football mind. And in my opinion, I feel like I have something to contribute too. 

“I feel like we had some really healthy dialogue. And to say, quote, ‘bullied him,’ I’d say I think that’s, A, kind of disrespectful to Groh. I don’t think anyone bullies Coach Groh. And I think, B, we have a great relationship and it’s just going to keep getting better. That line, I was just kind of blown away by what that would have meant.”

3. Another part of the report said Wentz didn’t want to run “Foles’ stuff” in the offense. Wentz said he never refused to run plays. 

Wentz: “The idea of running Foles’ stuff, we both see the game differently to some extent. To say that I was resistant to running his stuff and then vice versa, I don’t … there’s so many things in the X’s and O’s of the game, to just say a blanket statement like that, just doesn’t necessarily do it justice. Again, we both kind of like different concepts, but we’re running similar stuff. And then it’s based on what the defense is giving us. … It’s just such a blanket statement that there’s too many intricacies that necessarily apply.” 

Instead of spending some customary quiet time on his couch reading The Good Book on the day the story came out, Wentz was forced to deal with an unflattering and partially unwarranted negative story about him. It wasn’t exactly how he expected his offseason to begin, but he seems determined to learn from the experience any way he can. 

It might have ruined that morning, but it hasn’t ruined his days since. 

“It kind of changed my attitude a little bit, but just talking to some teammates that talked to me about it and tried to just figure out why and what can we do to resolve it,” Wentz said. “But then at the end of the day, I was just like, I went to bed and just on with the next day. I don’t turn on the radio, I don’t read the papers. I’ve been off of Twitter for a while other than posting tweets, so I try not to let that tie me down. But again, the real element of it, just learning. If there is truth in this, where can I improve as a teammate and as a player and all that?”

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Eagles snap counts: Things get wacky because of injuries

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USA Today Images

Eagles snap counts: Things get wacky because of injuries

After Dallas Goedert suffered a calf injury during warmups on Sunday night in Atlanta, Zach Ertz was the Eagles’ only healthy tight end. 

So for the first time in his career, he didn’t leave the field. 

Ertz played all 81 offensive snaps in the Eagles’ 24-20 loss to the Falcons. 

“It’s probably the first game of my career I’ve played every single snap of a game,” Ertz said. “That’s what I train for. That’s what I train all offseason for, that’s what I train all summer for, to put the team in a position to win.”

Last season, Ertz played 81 of 82 snaps against the Colts in Week 3, but this was indeed the first time in his career that he never left the field.  

Other offensive notes 

• Everything got thrown out of whack because of injuries, especially because of how early they happened. Goedert didn’t play at all. Alshon Jeffery played just six snaps and DeSean Jackson got just 11. 

• That meant JJ Arcega-Whiteside, in his second-career NFL game, played 75 snaps (93 percent). Despite playing 75 snaps, he managed just one catch for four yards. They probably needed more production from him yesterday. 

• Mack Hollins, the Eagles’ fifth receiver, played 69 snaps (85 percent). His previous high in snaps was 38 back in his rookie season in 2017. Hollins had a career-high five catches for 50 yards, including a couple big third-down conversions. 

• Miles Sanders led Eagles running backs in snaps with 35, followed by Darren Sproles (28) and Jordan Howard (18). Corey Clement didn’t get an offensive snap before going down with an injury. Sanders had 10 carries for a measly 28 yards. 

• After being on a pitch count in Week 1, Brandon Brooks played all 81 snaps in Week 2. 

Defensive notes 

• Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod and Nigel Bradham played all 66 snaps on defense. 

• Despite his struggles, Ronald Darby played the most snaps of the cornerback group with 59, followed by Avonte Maddox (43), Rasul Douglas (39) and Sidney Jones (32). 

• Tim Jernigan played 26 snaps before hurting his foot. That means Hassan Ridgeway played 31 snaps and Akeem Spence, in his first Eagles game, played 26. That’s probably much more than he expected. 

• At DE, Brandon Graham led the way with 51, followed by Derek Barnett (50), Josh Sweat (18) and Vinny Curry (17). Sweat even got work as an interior rusher. 

Offense

Isaac Seumalo: 81 snaps (100 percent)
Brandon Brooks: 81 (100)
Lane Johnson: 81 (100)
Jason Kelce: 81 (100)
Zach Ertz: 81 (100)
Jason Peters: 80 (99)
Nelson Agholor: 78 (96)
JJ Arcega-Whiteside: 75 (93)
Carson Wentz: 75 (93)
Mack Hollins: 69 (85)
Miles Sanders: 35 (43)
Darren Sproles: 28 (35)
Jordan Howard: 18 (22)
DeSean Jackson: 11 (14)
Josh McCown: 6 (7)
Alshon Jeffery: 6 (7)
Halapoulivaati Vaitai: 4 (5)
Andre Dillard: 1 (1)

Defense 

Rodney McLeod: 66 snaps (100 percent)
Malcolm Jenkins: 66 (100)
Nigel Bradham: 66 (100)
Ronald Darby: 59 (89)
Brandon Graham: 51 (77)
Zach Brown: 50 (76)
Derek Barnett: 50 (76)
Fletcher Cox: 49 (74) 
Avonte Maddox: 43 (65)
Rasul Douglas: 39 (59)
Sidney Jones: 32 (48)
Hassan Ridgeway: 31 (47)
Tim Jernigan: 26 (39)
Akeem Spence: 21 (32)
Nathan Gerry: 20 (30)
Andrew Sendejo: 20 (30)
Josh Sweat: 18 (27)
Vinny Curry: 17 (26)
Johnathan Cyprien: 1 (2)
Craig James: 1 (2) 

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No excuses, but Eagles’ injuries sure did pile up fast against Falcons

No excuses, but Eagles’ injuries sure did pile up fast against Falcons

ATLANTA — The Eagles had so many injuries on Sunday night that the guy in charge of raising the blue medical tent on the sideline pulled out his shoulder. 

OK, that didn’t happen. But you’d understand if it did. 

It was almost hard to keep track of all the casualties that were piling up during the Eagles’ 24-20 loss to the Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. They began during pregame warmups and never really stopped. Heck, most players had trouble keeping up. 

I think you figure it out as you go,” Jason Kelce said. “Especially when you’re not seeing guys in the huddle over and over again. Games like this are going to happen. You have to try to overcome. The fact is, the last few years, we’ve handled injuries really, really well around here. It’s the way this game goes. Whoever’s in the huddle is in the huddle and you try to put guys in the best situation as possible and execute.

That was a common theme from the Eagles’ locker room after the heartbreaking loss: No excuses, but …  this was pretty excessive. 

Still, even with all the injuries, the Eagles should have won the game. They gave up a touchdown on fourth down. They missed multiple chances on the ensuing drive. And that was well after they got off to another abysmal start. The Eagles know they lost because of more than a few injured players. 

“Yeah, it was awesome that we hung in there, but we still lost the game,” Kelce said, “still gotta make improvements and continue to get better.”

The list of injured players will make for an intriguing few days looking at the roster, but on Sunday night it was just about adjusting on the fly. That wasn’t easy. 

“I mean, you always have a plan for maybe one guy (getting injured),” head coach Doug Pederson said. “Obviously, if one guy goes down you can maybe shift some things, but when two top receivers and a top tight end go down, it’s difficult. Now, you’re really having to put guys in positions where they haven’t gotten those reps during the week.”

At one point, the Eagles were down to two healthy receivers: Mack Hollins and JJ Arcega-Whiteside, and one healthy tight end: Zach Ertz. 

Here’s a list of all the injured players who did not return on Sunday night, including Dallas Goedert, who hurt his calf during warmups: 

Tim Jernigan (foot) 
DeSean Jackson (groin)
Alshon Jeffery (calf) 
Dallas Goedert (calf)
Corey Clement (shoulder)

And here’s the list of players who were checked for concussions but were allowed to return: 

Carson Wentz
Nelson Agholor
Sidney Jones
Jason Kelce

After the game, Clement had his shoulder in a sling and Jernigan left the locker room with a walking boot on his left foot. Jernigan’s injury could be a hard one to take at a position where the Eagles were supposed to have depth and now suddenly don’t. 

But from a schematic standpoint, losing three and then, at one point, four skill players made things really difficult. The Eagles were down to their bottom two receivers playing every snap.  

“It’s tough, but by no means are we going to make excuses,” Wentz said. “We always talk about having the next man up but some of the stuff tonight you just can’t make up. I have never seen guy after guy go down like that so early in the ball game, but the guys stepped up. The guys were resilient. We came up a little short today, but I am proud of the way the guys fought.”

The Eagles did fight, but they didn’t win. Instead of talking about how they overcame a laundry list of injuries, we’re talking about how they came up short. No moral victories here and they know it. 

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