A day after ESPN’s Josina Anderson quoted an anonymous Eagles player upset the team didn’t land cornerback Jalen Ramsey, Anderson is now reporting on some frustration brewing about the offense.
Here’s what Anderson said on NFL Live on Thursday afternoon:
“With the team being 3-3, obviously, an Eagles source also talked to me about how they feel like that offense is functioning. One of the things that they said is, ‘We need to make bleep simpler. Sometimes we just need to handle what is manageable.’ They said, ‘Even Peyton Manning knew when to check it down.’ Carson Wentz right now is 38 percent on passes that travel 15 air yards, has three interceptions on passes like that, which is tied for most in the league. He also has 148 passes on those that are 10 yards or fewer. Right now, he has nine touchdowns and zero interceptions on passes like that. So I do think it is an apt point.”
While the specific criticism doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, I suppose it is newsworthy that there’s criticism of Carson Wentz and maybe (?) Doug Pederson at all.
But the whole thing seems a little strange. Here are some thoughts on the report, its contents and what it means:
1. The actual criticism doesn’t make much sense to me. Who has watched this team over the past month and thought, ‘Hey, they really ought to check down more!’? The biggest problem with this offense since DeSean Jackson has been missing is the lack of a downfield passing game. And this source wants Wentz to check down more? It doesn’t add up. The stats are also kind of weird. Of course more interceptions happen on passes with lower probability rates.
2. And … “Even Peyton Manning knew when to check down.” Even the most cerebral quarterback in NFL history knew what to do? Is that what we’re saying here? I guess maybe this means that even the best quarterbacks don’t take deep shots all the time, but Wentz really hasn’t done that this year. In fact, he’s 10th in the league in air yards per attempt.
3. While the exact criticism seems strange, it is still probably noteworthy that there’s any criticism or frustration at all, and that someone felt strongly enough to leak those thoughts to a reporter. It’s not the first time we’ve seen anonymous source(s) speak critically of Wentz and/or the offense.
4. And this isn’t the first time Anderson has reported on frustration within the Eagles locker room. Last year, there was a report that one player thought Wentz was “over-targeting Zach Ertz.”
It would be speculation to assume this is the same player, but it seems like Anderson has become a sounding board of sorts for frustrations about the offense.
5. Source-guessing isn’t worth it. I’m sure everyone has their hunches on who said what and I’m sure the Eagles and Wentz would like to know, but it’s a pointless exercise.
6. The only thing more pointless than source-guessing is going back to the Wentz vs. Foles debate. Nick Foles is gone. The Eagles are Wentz’s team.
7. If this is supposed to be a criticism of Wentz, I don’t really understand it. Could he play better? Sure. But he’s so far down on the list of Eagles’ problems this season. He hasn’t been the one dropping passes or fumbling the ball or getting burnt by deep passes. In fact, he’s played pretty well, considering all that. I also give him credit for how well he’s handled these anonymous criticisms in the past. He’ll probably handle this one the same way.
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