Back in the spring, Carson Wentz said the one thing he really wanted to improve on in 2018 was his accuracy.
“I think I was right around 60 percent and I expect more out of myself in that area,” he said (see story).
Before he got hurt, Wentz completed just 60.2 percent of his passes. Not only was that well below his 62.4 percent figure as a rookie, it was fifth-lowest of the 25 quarterbacks who threw at least 400 passes last year and below last year’s NFL average of 62.1 percent.
Wentz is now one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the NFL.
Wentz has jumped from 60.2 percent last year to 70.7 percent halfway through this season, and he’s now on pace for one of the 10 most-accurate seasons by a quarterback in NFL history.
The 10.5 percent jump so far is the biggest ever by a quarterback at anywhere near this level.
The highest completion percentage ever by a quarterback who had completed 60 percent of his passes or worse the previous year came from Brett Favre, who hit on 56 percent of his passes in 2006 and 66.5 percent the next year.
“I think he’s just doing a great job anticipating,” Nelson Agholor said. “He has great eyes at his aiming point. Anticipation allows for more zip. You anticipate and have great aiming point and you see your target, more zip.
“Guy’s always had a strong arm, now it looks even better because he’s anticipating so well.”
Wentz’s 101.9 passer rating last year was actually highest in NFL history by a quarterback completing only 60 percent of his passes.
Which tells you how well he was doing everything else before he got hurt.
“Just better decision making, not trying to force the ball down the field all the time and just taking what the defense gives me,” Wentz said. “I think a lot of it also just has to do with how defenses are playing us. We are getting probably overall more soft zone than we have in the past, so just taking the underneath stuff is probably part of it.”
Wentz’s average yards per completion has predictably dropped a bit, from 12.4 to 11.2. But because he’s been so accurate, his average per attempt has increased from 7.5 to 7.9.
Wentz’s 70.7 completion percentage is 12th-highest in NFL history after eight games among quarterbacks who’ve thrown at least 200 passes, although it’s only fifth-highest this year.
Here are the the top completion percentages in Eagles history after eight games:
70.7 … Carson Wentz, 2018
64.4 … Carson Wentz, 2016
64.1 … Donovan McNabb, 2004
63.2 … Donovan McNabb, 2008
62.9 … Sam Bradford, 2015
62.0 … Michael Vick, 2011
61.0 … Carson Wentz, 2017
60.2 … Donovan McNabb, 2000
“The thing about him that always sticks out is how hard he works,” Zach Ertz said. “He’s always attacking everything, and the completion percentage is night and day. Ten percent is hard to do. Him and Alshon are playing at a higher level than last year, and I think that’s a big part of it.
“This is year three for us, year three for Carson, and guys are more comfortable. He’s a guy who watches a ton of film so he knows where the ball needs to go, and he’s putting it there.”
Bradford set the franchise record for accuracy at 65.0 percent in 2015. That broke the club record of 64.0 set in 2004 by McNabb.
Wentz has completed 66 percent of his passes in all six games he’s played after completing 66 percent in just four of 13 starts last year.
He’s the first quarterback in NFL history to complete 66 percent of his passes in his first six games of a season.
He said he’d do it. And he’s done it.
“The numbers don’t lie,” Agholor said. “He’s doing his thing.”
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