Eagles

Carson Wentz opens up about challenges of last 2 years

Carson Wentz opens up about challenges of last 2 years

It hasn’t been the easiest couple years for Carson Wentz. Twice now he’s gotten hurt, twice now he’s been lost for the season and twice now he’s missed a postseason run.

He’s 26 and going into his fourth NFL season and hasn’t thrown a single postseason pass.

During his recent sit-down chat with a handful of Eagles writers, Wentz talked about the challenges he’s faced along the way and his emotions when the Eagles got hot late in the year under Nick Foles and came within a couple plays of the NFC Championship Game.

Obviously, it was frustrating watching. Again, that’s the No. 1 thing I remember the last two years, was watching from the sidelines isn’t fun. I want to do everything I can to be healthy, to stay healthy and not have to do that again.

The Eagles were 5-6 under Wentz this past year and 4-1 under Foles along with a playoff win.

It's important to note, however, that the biggest change wasn’t at quarterback —  Wentz actually put up more points per game than Foles (22.9 to 22.1) — it was on defense. 

The defense allowed 23.3 points per game when Wentz started and just 18.1 per game when Foles started.

“I thought the offense, I thought it was great,” Wentz said. “I was ecstatic to see the guys kind of rally. I think it was awesome for Nick to show (2017) wasn’t a fluke. Nick’s a heck of a player. But at the same time, there’s the real emotions that, again, the same thing, I want to be out there. Here we are again, and when I went down we were losing, and here we’re winning. There’s all those real emotions that you’ve got to battle. But at the end of the day, I thought it was just really cool to see the team from where we were and how we rallied together to get to where we finished. I thought it was cool to see.”

A play here or a play there? And we’re all looking at Wentz a little differently.

If Corey Graham doesn’t give up a 4th-and-15 against the Titans, the Eagles win.

If the refs don’t blow that ridiculous opening kickoff call in the second Dallas game, the Eagles win.

If the defense doesn’t give up 35 yards on a 4th-and-10 in the Carolina game, the Eagles win.

Three plays that are the difference between Wentz going 5-6 and 8-3.

I think you look back throughout the season, and we’re going to say this every single year, why did we lose that one game? Well, one play, two plays. There’s little plays throughout the year. I don’t want to sound like a broken record. There’s just little things, mis-execution on the offensive side of the ball, defense, special teams. All little things that can culminate. And so we were right there in all those other games (other than the first Saints game). We just didn’t finish. We put it together late in the year, and it’s hard to say exactly why. But we kind of rally around each other and found a way to win, which we really weren’t doing early in the year.

Wentz’s doubters will say the difference was the quarterback. And Foles clearly brought some juice off the bench.

His supporters will tell you it wasn’t Wentz’s fault that the defense didn’t find itself until late in the season. And that’s certainly true as well.

Whatever the reality, Wentz goes into 2019 with a lot to prove.

Look at the other top young quarterbacks in the NFL. Jared Goff has reached a Super Bowl. Pat Mahomes threw 50 touchdowns and reached an AFC Championship Game. Deshaun Watson and Dak Prescott reached the playoffs. 

He knows there’ll be a tremendous amount of pressure on him this year, especially once he signs that mammoth contract.

Can he get through a season healthy?

Can he get the Eagles to the playoffs?

Can he do what his best friend did and win a Super Bowl?

“I’ve just kind of learned to not worry about other peoples’ perceptions or others’ perspective,” he said. “I know what my identity is in Christ first and I’ve got to always keep that in perspective first and foremost and then be a good teammate, being around my brothers and not worrying about the fans and everybody else. 

“Because you’re never going to make everyone happy and that’s just exhausting trying.”

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Eagles hold video meeting with possible sleeper pick WR Quartney Davis

Eagles hold video meeting with possible sleeper pick WR Quartney Davis

The Eagles are exploring all options to fix their wide receiver corps in this month's NFL Draft. Fans want Howie Roseman to spend top-tier draft picks on big-name receivers, but the team doesn't seem fixated on just one round.

Which is why they recently held a video conference with Texas A&M wide receiver Quartney Davis, a possible sleeper wide receiver pick who could be available come the later rounds in the draft, according to the Houston Chronicle's Aaron Wilson.

Davis caught 99 passes for 1,201 yards and 11 TD across his two years with Texas A&M. He saw his receptions and yards jump from 2018 to 2019, but his touchdowns and yards per reception both fell.

NBC Sports Philadelphia's Dave Zangaro explored the Eagles' likely wide receiver options at each level of the draft, and noted Davis could be a solid late-round option to flesh out Carson Wentz's potential weapons.

The Eagles, however, certainly aren't the only team interested in Davis. From Wilson:

"Texas A&M wide receiver Quartney Davis, a rising NFL Draft prospect from Langham Creek High School, has video conferenced with the New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings.

"Davis worked out and met privately for the Arizona Cardinals prior to the social distancing edict from the NFL prompted by the coronavirus pandemic."

Davis, who stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 200 pounds, ran the 40-yard dash at this year's NFL Combine in 4.54 seconds.

It's worth noting that, over the last 20 years, the Eagles have drafted just two wide receivers after the third round who went on to catch at least three touchdowns with the team: Jason Avant and Riley Cooper.

But in a draft noted for its depth at wide receiver, the Eagles are likely checking in on every possible option at the position ahead of April 23.

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NFL Draft Rumors: Eagles could pick these defenders instead of WR in first round

NFL Draft Rumors: Eagles could pick these defenders instead of WR in first round

We're just 15 days from the 2020 NFL Draft, and draft rumors are swirling more than the winds over the Schuylkill. One rumbling we've heard more than once now: the Eagles might be interested in using their No. 21 pick on a defender.

Over at Sports Illustrated on Wednesday, NFL insider Albert Breer answered in a mailbag column one of the hottest questions in this year's draft: Are the Eagles taking a wide receiver in the first round?

And Breer, like Adam Schefter before him, isn't sold. Breer even listed a few possible defensive options the Eagles might like more than, say, LSU wideout Justin Jefferson at No. 21:

I get the idea that Eagles fans are ready to burn the Linc to the ground if Philly doesn’t take one in the first round—given the inactivity in fixing that position this offseason, and awkward contractual spot they’re in with Alshon Jeffery. But I’m not totally convinced it happens.

(...) 

Let’s say (Xavier) McKinney is there. Or K’Lavon Chaisson is there. Or (CJ) Henderson is there and the value in pairing him with Darius Slay, and fixing the corner spot once and for all, is too great.

And to further this, let’s say (Ceedee) Lamb and (Jerry) Jeudy are gone. If Henry Ruggs is there, maybe you take him. Or maybe you think to yourself that taking one of the others makes sense, knowing a similar player, in K.J. Hamler, might be around in Round 2. If Ruggs is gone? Then, it’d seem, the value of the defensive guys may further outdistance, say, Justin Jefferson.

The odds say Jefferson is a likely pick for the Eagles, and they've been linked to him many times. But is that more out of convenience and perceived fit?

Howie Roseman is nothing if not a guy who wants to get value out of his draft picks, and if he thinks the best value at No. 21 is taking a cornerback like CJ Henderson instead of a wide receiver like Jefferson, he'll make the defender move every time.

NBC Sports Philadelphia's Reuben Frank examined today some possible options at wide receiver who might be available in the third round. This is a deep wide receiver draft.

Eagles fans are, indeed, hungry for a young star wide receiver. Roseman knows this, but he still might zig on draft night when fans want him to zag.

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