Carson Wentz's sneaky skill is quite a weapon for Eagles

Carson Wentz's sneaky skill is quite a weapon for Eagles

There’s something Carson Wentz does better than almost anybody else in the NFL.

And it has nothing to do with throwing a football.

And it’s something he could barely even do last year.

Wentz is one of the best in the NFL on keepers.

He’s now 21-for-23 in his career on 3rd and 4th and 1, including three big conversions on Sunday.

Those three conversions matched his ENTIRE TOTAL from last year.

Which tells you how much those injuries really were affecting him.

Wentz was 2-for-3 on keepers as a rookie, then a perfect 13-for-13 in his injury-shortened Pro Bowl season in 2017, then last year – still dealing with lingering knee issues and a worsening back injury -- attempted just four keepers, converting three.

Now Wentz is healthy and this is a weapon that is back in the playbook for Pederson.

With (Jason) Kelce and (Brook) Brooks and Isaac (Seumalo) – and obviously over the years those have been different guys – but those three and then the surge from really everybody, that makes my job easy,” Wentz said. “I’ve just got to fall forward.

With Pederson reluctant to use Wentz on keepers last year, the Eagles ranked 18th in the NFL on 3rd- or 4th-and-1 at 57 percent.

Compare that to the Super Bowl season, when Wentz was 13-for-13 and the Eagles converted 85 percent of the time – 6th-best in the NFL.

It might just look like he’s falling forward, but this is a very effective play that Pederson can dial up in crucial situations – like 4th-and-1 on the Eagles’ own 34-yard-line Sunday.

It’s not a very complex play,” Kelce said. “I guess in the grand scheme of things, it’s pretty simple. Everybody just dives forward, but there’s some nuance to it. As long as everybody’s going in the right direction, it can be very difficult to stop. In general if we can stay low and all work together on that play, it’s going to be very difficult to stop.

Wentz was 3-for-3 on keepers Sunday, and every other quarterback in the NFL was 4-for-4.

Pederson does this with his quarterback more than any coach in the NFL other than Ron Rivera with Cam Newton.

Coach trusts me with that, coach trusts the O-line to get a surge no matter what the front is, and we’ve been able to stay on the field in a lot of those,” Wentz said. “I like staying on the field. I don’t really care how we do it, as long as we convert, I love it. We believe our guys are going to win this surge.

The only concern of course is getting Carson hurt.

With three attempts Sunday in his first game back after dealing with lingering knee issues and a broken bone in his back, it’s clearly not a concern of Pederson.

We have a lot of confidence in it and hopefully he can get up from the pile each and every time,” offensive coordinator Mike Groh said. “We have a lot of confidence in that play and trying not to put him in any undue risk.

We have stats, of course!

The league average on 3rd-and-1 and 4th-and-1 running plays since 2016 is 72 percent. Carson’s at 91 percent.

Here are the top five quarterbacks on keepers since 2016, with information culled from Pro Football Reference:

100% … Drew Brees [19-for-19]

94.1% … Marcus Mariota [16-for-17]

93.6% … Cam Newton [29-for-31]

91.3% … Carson Wentz [21-for-23]

87.5% … Kirk Cousins [14-for-16]

Only one running back during that span is even over 82 percent – Jonathan Stewart, who retired after last season, is 94.4 percent on 17-for-18.

And here are numbers for all Eagles with 10 or more attempts on short-yardage runs since 1994 (as far back as the PFR play stats go):

91.3% … Carson Wentz [21-for-23]

84.6% … Nick Foles [11-for-13]

84.4% … Donovan McNabb [38-for-45]

83.3% … Charlie Garner [15-for-18]

76.1% … LeSean McCoy [54-for-71]

72.5% … Duce Staley [29-for-40]

63.4% … Brian Westbrook [26-for-41]

78.1% … Ricky Watters [43-55]

66.7% … Michael Vick [12-for-18]

75.0% … Darren Sproles [9-for-12]

42.3% … Correll Buckhalter [11-for-26]

87.5% … Rodney Peete [14-16]

Just another thing Carson does as well as anybody.

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Good Eagles news for those who value sleep

Good Eagles news for those who value sleep

The Eagles-Seahawks game in two weeks at the Linc has been flexed out of its Sunday Night Football spot to an afternoon kickoff.

The Eagles will now host the Seahawks at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24 on FOX in Week 12.

From the NFL:

- Eagles-Seahawks moves from 8:20 p.m. on NBC to 1 p.m. on FOX.

- Packers-49ers moves from 4:25 p.m. to 8:20 p.m. on NBC.

This is good news for anyone who hates those late-night starts and values sleep, but bad news if you’re living out of town and wanted to watch the Eagles on national TV.

Before this change, the Eagles weren’t scheduled to have any of their remaining four home games as 1 p.m. starts. This also means the Eagles have just one more primetime game scheduled — Monday Night Football at home against the Giants on Dec. 9.

Here’s the Eagles’ updated remaining schedule as it stands now:

Week: 11: vs. NE on Sunday, Nov. 17 at 4:25 p.m.
Week 12: vs. SEA on Sunday, Nov. 24 at 1 p.m.
Week 13: @ MIA on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 1 p.m.
Week 14: vs. NYG on Monday, Dec. 9 at 8:15 p.m.
Week 15: @ WAS on Sunday, Dec. 15 at 1 p.m.
Week 16: vs. DAL on Sunday, Dec. 22 at 4:25 p.m.
Week 17: @ NYG on Sunday, Dec. 29 at 1 p.m.

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Do Tom Brady and Patriots have a Philly Special of their own planned this time around?

Do Tom Brady and Patriots have a Philly Special of their own planned this time around?

Tom Brady was asked this week how long it took him to get over the Super Bowl loss to the Eagles.
“You’re saying I’m over it? Come on now,” Brady said. “That’s a lot of mental scar tissue from that year.”
Brady will face the Eagles Sunday for the first time since Super Bowl LII, when the Eagles beat the Patriots 41-33 in Minneapolis.
Brady has played in nine Super Bowls, winning six. He’s won three of his last four. But on Feb. 4, 2018, the Eagles toppled Brady and Bill Belichick, setting off the greatest celebration in Philadelphia history.
“That was a tough game,” Brady said during his weekly appearance on WEEI in Boston. “But you learn from that year, and we came back stronger the next year and won the Super Bowl. I think everything is a matter of perspective. When you play in that game and you play great teams you’re not going to win them all. This is not the Harlem Globetrotters against the Washington Generals. It’s all about tough competition against the best teams. They deserved it that year and now a couple years later we get a chance to play the organization again."
Brady was asked about the Philly Special, which gave the Eagles a 22-12 lead before halftime and has become not only the most iconic play in Philadelphia sports history but also one of the two or three most iconic plays in Super Bowl history.
“Tough play to stop,” Brady said. “They executed it well. Trick plays, when they run it as well as they did, they always seem to work and they give you a lot of momentum. They’re still talking about that play. That play will go down in history, just like a lot of those big plays in the Super Bowl have. So, good for them.”
The Patriots, of course, tried a trick play earlier in the second quarter, but Brady dropped a pass from Danny Amendola that would have given the Patriots a first down deep in Eagles territory.
Would the Patriots consider running the Philly Special Sunday against the Eagles at the Linc?
Don’t put it past them.
Mohamed Sanu has thrown four career touchdown passes, Julian Edelman is 3-for-3 passing in his career for 75 yards and Jakobi Meyers started his career at North Carolina State as a quarterback.
“There’s some good passers on our team,” Brady said. “We’ve got a lot of ex-quarterbacks. … They’ve all got good arms. These guys can throw the ball. You never know what we’ve got up our sleeve. Might have to go into our bag of trick plays and see what we come up with.”
The Eagles didn’t exactly shut Brady down that night 21 months ago at U.S. Bank Stadium. He threw for 505 yards and three touchdowns. 
In his career, Brady is 4-2 against the Eagles with 15 touchdowns and two interceptions, both in the 2015 game in Foxboro that the Eagles won three weeks before Chip Kelly was fired. Malcolm Jenkins got Brady for a 99-yard pick-six in that game, and Byron Maxwell had the Eagles’ other INT.
In two games at the Linc, wins in 2003 and 2011, Brady has six TD passes and no INTs.
Here’s a look at the highest passer ratings in Lincoln Financial Field history with a minimum of 50 attempts:
118.3 … Tom Brady
112.1 … Kirk Cousins
103.5 … Aaron Rodgers
100.0 … Carson Wentz
96.5 … Matt Schaub
96.4 … Cam Newton
96.0 … Jon Kitna
92.2 … Donovan McNabb
92.1 … Tony Romo
91.4 … Carson Palmer
The Patriots easily won both of Brady’s games at the Linc  — 31-10 in 2003 and 38-20 in 2011 (despite 400 passing yards from Vince Young).
The last time the Eagles beat the Patriots in Philadelphia was 1999. The Patriots’ head coach was Pete Carroll, their quarterback was Drew Bledsoe and the Eagles’ quarterback was Koy Detmer. His backup was Doug Pederson.
“Really tough environment,” Brady said of the Linc. “Should be a great Sunday afternoon for football. They’ve definitely got great loud fans. It’s a tough place to play. There’s a lot of loud places. Baltimore was loud, Buffalo’s loud. It gets to the point where you basically can’t hear.”
Brady has a 215-61 career record and an NFL-record 531 career touchdowns. 

He’s the greatest of all time, but he’s also dealing with a personal two-game losing streak against the Eagles, and the Eagles and their fans are going to do everything within their power Sunday to get that streak to three in a row.

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