Carson Wentz says Eagles' offense trying to recapture 2017 magic

Carson Wentz says Eagles' offense trying to recapture 2017 magic

Carson Wentz knows what he wants the 2018 Eagles offense to look like.

A lot like the 2017 Eagles offense.

And they’re a long way off from that:

The sky isn’t falling. We’re 2-2 right now. Love to be 4-0, but this is just where we’re at. We’re a month in. Still trying to figure out 100 percent who we are, but at the same time, we know the guys we have. … But there’s no panic in here.

The Eagles were an offensive machine last year, whether Wentz or Nick Foles was at quarterback.

So far this year, they’ve been anything but. 

The numbers are down in every imaginable category, and the Eagles are 26th in the NFL in scoring at a paltry 20.5 per game, their fourth-lowest after four games in the last 20 years.

Wentz spoke Wednesday about where the Eagles are and where they want to be. And how far it is to get there.

“We want to be an explosive offense,” he said. “We want to be great. The same things we were last year, that I always preached last year.

“Red zone, we want to be great. Third-down efficiency, we want to be one of the tops in the league. We need to bring back some more big plays and we want to be able to score fast and use our uptempo stuff when it’s there.

“I get ticked off when we come off the field on third down. I want to score every drive and that’s the mindset coach has and that’s the mindset this whole offense has and that’s where we think we can go.”

Let’s compare the Eagles’ offense in some of those areas Wentz mentioned with last year’s Super Bowl championship unit:

Points per game
2017: 25.9 [3rd]
2018: 20.5 [26th]

Yards per game
2017: 366 [7th]
2018: 364 [18th]

Third-down conversions
2017: 42 percent [8th]
2018: 40 percent [18th]

Red zone TD pct.
2017: 65.5 percent [1st]
2018: 57.1 percent [16th]

20-yards plays
2017: 62 [11th]
2018: 10 [27th]

“Obviously we had a lot of success last year,” Wentz said. “It’s hard to just point to one thing that we’re missing. I think both third downs and red zone, unfortunately, we’re hurting ourselves on first and second downs, putting ourselves in tough situations, whether that’s with penalties, whether that’s with sacks or different things.

“Negative plays are hurting us that are affecting both those situations.”

The Eagles have been missing a ton of weapons.

Mike Wallace and Mack Hollins are on injured reserve. Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles, Corey Clement and Alshon Jeffery have all missed games. Nelson Agholor is the only wide receiver to play more than one snap in all four games.

Wentz isn’t interested in excuses.

“Whether we have all the pieces or not, we have high expectations,” he said. “This is the NFL. Either someone’s hurt or playing through an injury or banged up, whatever. I think that’s just the name of the game.

“We really don’t dwell on, ‘Oh, he’s out so now we’re just waiting for him to get back in.’ We always have that next-man-up mentality. We have high expectations. We believe we can be explosive, we just have to put it together.”

The Eagles will try to get the offense rolling Sunday at the Linc against a Vikings defense that was ranked No. 1 in the NFL last year but is No. 21 this year. 

The Vikings have allowed a staggering 104 points in their last three games and allowed 38 at the Linc last January in the NFC Championship Game.

If the Eagles can't put up some points Sunday, the concern level will increase exponentially around here next week.

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DeSean Jackson says white teammates ‘stepped up’ with public statements

DeSean Jackson says white teammates ‘stepped up’ with public statements

Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz and Jason Kelce are among the group of Eagles who have released statements in the wake of George Floyd’s killing and subsequent protests around the country, using their platform to speak out against institutional racism and racial injustice. 

Speaking to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark on Tuesday, DeSean Jackson made it clear that he’s proud of his high-profile white teammates. 

They stepped up. They made their voice be heard,” Jackson said. “They used their platform, they used their resources, they used everything they could do to reach out and say I might not know what it feels like to be racially profiled, I might not know what it’s like to grow up in the inner communities and these areas that you guys face on a daily basis, where we’re scrutinized for the color of our skin. 

“They might not understand that, but they are stepping up to the plate and saying fair is fair and right is right and wrong is wrong. The stuff that we’ve been seeing is wrong. They don’t support that.

On Monday, during the Eagles’ virtual team meeting, Jackson gave such an impassioned speech about his own life and tribulations as a black man in the United States, that it motivated Kelce to speak up.

Kelce, one of the longest tenured players on the team, said he felt an obligation to post to social media after hearing Jackson’s message.  

“If I motivate him to step up and use his platform man, I appreciate that,” Jackson said. “At the end of the day, when I spoke, I spoke off of how I feel. I can’t change how my heart feels.” 

On Tuesday afternoon, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie released a statement of his own, saying he’s “repulsed” by racial injustice and vowing to use his platform to effect change. 

Lurie spoke to the entire team on Monday. His words and his statement meant a lot to Jackson. 

“You gotta think, the owners are billionaires. They have so much influence in the world,” Jackson said. “They have so much equity. They have so much power to where if they make a stance, the it’s gonna trickle down to the lower totem pole. I feel like a lot of times they go silent because it’s politics or they might lose this sponsor or they might look crazy in the light. But it’s like, none of that stuff can even come into your mind because we are dealing with people losing their lives. … 

“I feel like Jeffrey Lurie did a great job of speaking out and speaking up. Because I feel like if he does it, then you’re gonna have the rest of the other 31 owners and that’s going to trickle out to basketball owners, baseball owners. It has to be a trigger effect.”

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DeSean Jackson’s impassioned plea based on own experiences

DeSean Jackson’s impassioned plea based on own experiences

DeSean Jackson said he fears for his life every time he gets pulled over by police and said he understands the frustration the black community is experiencing today but also made an impassioned plea for unity and togetherness amid the violence, looting and hate.

In a powerful 30-minute interview with John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia, Jackson spoke bluntly about his own experiences with racism and his thoughts about how we as a country can move forward.

(Since I was) growing up as a kid, I can’t tell you anytime that I’m in the car and a police officer stops me or pulls me over how afraid I am that if I move wrong or I make a wrong gesture I might be shot and killed,” Jackson said. “It’s just built up so long of seeing senseless killings so it’s like every time I’m pulled over I’m afraid it might happen to me. And for me, I have three boys that I raised, and I can’t tell you how much I’m afraid for them to grow up in this world that we’re living in now. I have to protect them. I have to teach them on love and doing the right thing, but if you tell me that the people who are supposed to protect and serve us, they’re not serving and protecting us. I’ve seen a disturbing video where a lady was actually pulled over and she wasn’t African-American and the lady was frightened for her life. She was so scared. and the police officer was like, ‘You don’t have to worry about us killing you, we only kill black people.’

Just think being an African American person what that does to your mind. What that triggers. Every time you have an encounter. That’s why I’ve always felt the way I’ve felt that way about police. I can’t stand them. For so long we’ve always been messed with. If I’m driving a nice car and I get pulled over, for what? Excuse me, I’m not supposed to be driving this car? Oh, I look like I can’t afford this car? Why do I have to be profiled? … It’s crazy, man. I just feel bad for my kids they have to be raised in this era, man.

Jackson grew up in the Compton section of Los Angeles and said as bad as things were there, he’s even more scared now.

One hundred percent, man,” he said. “Growing up, police messed with us. Don’t get me wrong, they pulled you out of your car, they searched your car, they did all that stuff. But it’s a different fear I have now. The fear I had in the past was I have a chance of probably going to jail, I have a chance of them searching my car and planting some drugs or planting a gun. But now what I’m seeing is police killing. In the past five years or however many years it’s been, man, it’s hundreds and hundreds of killings. Senseless killings. I’m worried for my kids more than when I was growing up.

Jackson spoke about the high rate of crime and violence in black communities riddled by poverty, poor schools and chronic unemployment and how programs are needed to remedy the root of the problem.

“The opportunity is not there,” he said. “People are stuck in that zone that they’re in because we don’t have the opportunities. We don’t have our parents setting up mutual funds and money and investments for us so when we turn 18 we’re able to go out and start our own thing. We don’t have that. So that’s going to have people sitting in the hood and sitting in the corner store selling drugs and doing stuff and killing people because they have more than I have. It’s crazy. But that’s the issue that we’re dealing with. If we’re able to outreach and put programs in these (places) and develop a curriculum to help these kids out, you might not be able to save the whole world, but you might be able to save 100 lives, you might be able to save 200 lives. As long as you start somewhere. But right now we don’t have that.”

Jackson has always been active in the community, whether he was playing for the Eagles, Redskins or Buccaneers, and he said once he returns from Florida to Philadelphia he plans to be continue working to bring people together as much as possible.

“Don’t tear down the community,” he said. “Don’t destruct what we’ve built up so long to get to where we’re at now. Let’s figure out ways to come together, man. I just want to let everyone know I’m feeling the pain. I’m in pain. And were going to get through this. It might take time, but we’re going to get through it. Let’s do it together as one and everybody love. One love, one community, one race. We’re going to stick together for the better.”

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