The one play we keep hearing about from the Eagles’ 37-19 loss to the Rams on Sunday is when Carson Wentz tried to squeeze a pass through tight coverage to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside on first down and was picked off.
It’s a play that Doug Pederson called “unacceptable” and chalked it up to Wentz pressing and trying to do too much.
At least that makes some sense.
What might be even more concerning, though, is that Wentz is missing plenty of easy throws too. And there’s no easy answer as to why.
I asked Pederson about those plays on Monday.
“Just missing,” Pederson said. “I guess you can point to a lot of different things: Missing OTAs, not having all the necessary maybe reps during training camp, missing preseason games, whatever it might be, the timing of things that we do in the passing game and just missing these throws.
“They are throws that he typically would [make], and it's a little bit, too, on the receivers. Sometimes the receivers need to make the catch as well. So it's things that we have to continue to work.”
Look, I don’t like that Pederson is using the unusual offseason as an excuse — I even wrote about how much of a joke that is — but I think he’s as confused as the rest of us. Because if Wentz is throwing interceptions into tight windows as he tries to make plays and presses a little bit, that’s correctable. But if he can’t hit his routine throws, there might not be an easy answer for that.
On 94WIP on Monday, Pederson said he doesn’t think the issue is mechanical either.
And before you start blaming his offensive line, that certainly wasn’t the problem in Week 2. His line played fine.
Through two weeks of the season, Wentz is one of the most inaccurate quarterbacks in the league when he’s not facing pressure. According to ProFootballFocus, Wentz has completed just 64.6% of his passes from a clean pocket. Just Tyrod Taylor, Matthew Stafford and Kirk Cousins have been worse in that regard this year.
Overall this year, Wentz is completing just 58.8% of his passes, which ranks him 29th in the NFL.
His accuracy has been a clear problem in 2020.
Of course, it’s not like accuracy has ever really been a strength of his. Check out Wentz’s accuracy numbers over his career and where he ranked among NFL QBs:
2016: 62.4% (18th)
2017: 60.2% (24th)
2018: 69.6% (3rd)
2019: 63.9% (17th)
2020: 58.8% (29th)
Going into the 2018 season, even coming off the torn ACL, Wentz made it a mission of his to improve his accuracy and he did that exceptionally well.
“I think I was right around 60 percent and I expect more out of myself in that area,” Wentz said before the 2018 season.
It’s not like accuracy is all that matters either. In his near-MVP season, Wentz was obviously a better quarterback than in 2018 because he made big plays and threw more touchdowns. Basically, Wentz has the ability to overcome his lack of accuracy at times.
But right now he’s not overcoming that lack of overall accuracy and he’s not making the routine throws either. You need him to at least do one. He’s not and that’s a big problem.