Eagles

Steelers instructed to hit Carson Wentz hard if he takes off as a runner

Eagles

Carson Wentz isn’t having the best 2020 season but the last few weeks he has used his legs to make a difference.

The Steelers are ready for that.

And their defensive coordinator Keith Butler had a very clear message to his players about what to do if Wentz takes off: Hit him.

“If Wentz takes off [Butler has] told his players you remember he’s a runner not a quarterback,” said NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala, via ProFootballTalk. “That means you hit him and you hit him hard enough to dissuade him from doing it more.”

For what it’s worth, that instruction from Butler isn’t unlike what most defensive coordinators would say and players relish any chance they get to hit a quarterback.

In the last two games, Wentz has a total of 16 rushing attempts for 102 yards, which is his most ever in a two-game span. And he’s had a rushing touchdown in three straight games, the longest streak for an Eagles quarterback since Michael Vick in 2010.

Earlier this week I asked Doug Pederson about Wentz’s running and the head coach said he’s been pleased with Wentz’s decision making.

“Normally when he takes off, he's made the right decision, whether it's a pass play and he scrambles or it's a designed run for him,” Pederson said. “He's done a nice job of that and getting down. He's protected himself well.”

For Wentz, it’s about picking his spots to take off on a scramble. At times, it’s the right decision and at other times, he’s better off throwing the ball away. Remember, he has a split second to make these decisions on the field.

 

One thing is clear, though. If Wentz does take off, he has to be ready to slide or get out of bounds because the Steelers are coming to lay a hard hit on him.