For the second time this season, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson admitted he could probably call more plays designed to get Carson Wentz out of the pocket.
But I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Because it hasn’t happened yet.
This really is one of the more baffling parts of the Eagles’ season. During the offseason, the Eagles said they identified this as an area of Wentz’s game in which he excels. And despite the fact that Wentz has struggled his way through the first nine games of this season, Pederson still hasn’t called more of those plays.
“I think I can do more. I can dial up more of those,” Pederson said on Wednesday. “We did a couple in the game the other day and they worked, they were successful. To answer your question, short answer, is yeah, I think I can dial some more up and get him out because he is dynamic out there.”
But that answer is awfully similar to one he gave after the Eagles’ Week 1 loss in Washington. After initially giving a weird answer about not being able to roll out Wentz because the Eagles weren’t doing a good job on first downs, Pederson was finally asked a couple days later why he couldn’t roll out Wentz on first downs.
Then he gave in.
“I guess looking back on it, you can always second-guess yourself, I guess,” he said. “Something I gotta do a better job at I guess. Be more conscious of it.”
That was back in mid-September! It’s been 10 weeks and we’re still asking Pederson why he won’t use Wentz more on plays designed to utilize a strength they themselves highlighted.
While I’ve been calling for Wentz to be used in this fashion for a while, plenty of smarter football folks are also noticing how strange this is.
Wentz and Pederson go over the game plan each week. Most teams try to implement plays with which the quarterback feels comfortable. So one theory could be that Wentz isn’t a fan of these types of plays or he doesn’t feel comfortable with them.
Well, go ahead and cross that off.
“I know I love it,” Wentz said. “I love when I’m out of the pocket and can just kind of make plays and move and change the launch point and everything, but coaches do a good job of sprinkling that in when and where it applies.”
Wentz tried to explain why we haven’t seen those plays too much, saying there are many reasons. Among them are opposing defenses.
“Certain defenses just make it hard, and I’m aware of that,” Wentz said. “Coaches do a good job of kind of communicating that with me and everything. I think he definitely has a good feel if it’s something that maybe we can do here and there every week. There’s times it’s successful and there are times it’s not, but I think Coach does a good job with that and everyone putting together the game plan, it’s something that they look at every single week.”
And they still haven’t implemented it very much.
Remember, this offseason the Eagles added Rich Scangarello to their coaching staff as a senior offensive assistant. One of the main reasons for that hire was so that they could take advantage of Scangarello’s knowledge of how to get Wentz on the move. Of course, then the truncated offseason cut into Scangarello’s role and it seems like he’s taken a backseat, especially when it comes to Wentz, who already has plenty of voices in his ear.
But there’s a reason why so many are clamoring for this. We’ve seen it work with Wentz before.
Not all of his plays outside the pocket have been designed, but if you knew he was that good out there, wouldn’t you call more plays to get him out there? It would make sense, right?
For what it’s worth, Pederson seemed to agree with that on Wednesday. Whether or not he’ll change is an entirely different topic.
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