Eagles

Carson Wentz, Doug Pederson disagree on mechanical issues

Carson Wentz, Doug Pederson disagree on mechanical issues

CINCINNATI – Normally upbeat and positive, Eagles rookie quarterback Carson Wentz gave a terse answer, at least by his standards.

After the Eagles’ 32-14 loss to the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium (see Instant Replay), a game that was probably the worst of his young career, Wentz was asked about his proclivity for overthrowing his targets.

“Bad throw,” Wentz said blankly. “Just like last week.”

Those bad throws have been coming more and more frequently in recent weeks for the second-overall pick. After throwing one interception in his first five games, he’s thrown 10 in his last seven, including his first three-interception day on Sunday. A common thread has been overthrows.

When head coach and former QBs coach Doug Pederson was asked about those high throws from his prized quarterback, he said, “It’s strictly mechanics.” Pederson elaborated, saying they need to get Wentz off his back foot and stepping into throws. And then there were batted passes too.

“There were opportunities, obviously,” Pederson said. “Again, he's a young quarterback who missed a lot of time in the preseason, but now we just need to keep cleaning those things up.”

There might be a problem, though.

Wentz doesn’t seem to think there’s anything to clean up.

After Sunday’s embarrassing loss, the rookie said his mechanics feel the same now as they did when the Eagles started the season with three consecutive wins, before he had ever thrown a pick in the NFL.

“I don't think it's the mechanics,” Wentz said. “You make mistakes. Things happen, and that's just the bottom line.”

Is there anything that could be affecting his mechanics?

“I don't think so,” Wentz said. “You throw the ball 60 times, you're going to miss some. That kind of happens.”

Wentz seemed hesitant to take blame for his shaky play on Sunday (see breakdown of Wentz's performance), but he is right. Sixty passing attempts is an awful lot. In fact, it’s a record for an Eagles rookie and it’s the second most passing attempts a rookie quarterback has ever thrown in a game (Chris Weinke threw 63 in 2001).  

The reason for that, at least partially, on Sunday was the Eagles’ never got going offensively and their defense was porous at best, which led to the Bengals’ taking a 19-0 lead into halftime (see 10 observations from the loss). They had to try to throw their way back into the game.

“You never want your quarterback to throw 60 times, coming from behind,” Pederson said. “We put ourselves in a bind early in the football game. It’s going to be a learning lesson for him, obviously. We have to take a hard look at it. But by no means, the fact that he stood in there and still led the football team. He took some shots, but still stood in there and just shows you the kind of character and the toughness we have.”

For Wentz, who was once though to be the clear frontrunner for Rookie of the Year, the last couple months have been understandably difficult.

In the first four games of the season, he had a passer rating over 100 three times. He hasn't broken 100 since then and his 58.2 rating on Sunday was the second-worst of the season, behind his 52.4 in a winning effort against the Vikings.

“You just can't get down,” Wentz said. “You've got to stay optimistic. Obviously, the results are tough as of late. We're kind of on a skid. Like I've been saying, this is a good group of guys, a good locker room. Guys are in it until the end.”

It’s important to remember that, initially, Wentz wasn’t drafted to play this season. The original plan was to have him sit this season, but he was thrust into action after the Eagles traded away Sam Bradford.

Ultimately, Wentz will be judged for his play in years to come. For now, though, he and the Eagles have to try to find a way to fix this.

How do they do it?

“Obviously, we're on a skid,” Wentz said. “There's nothing really to change. We've just got to lock in and we've got to be more disciplined. At the same time, you don't get down. That's what I've been saying. This locker room, guys aren't going to get down. We've just got to be better with our discipline and just keep attacking. Obviously, we're in a tough spot, but we've just got to take it one game at a time.”

Ranking all of Howie Roseman’s Eagles 2nd-round picks

Ranking all of Howie Roseman’s Eagles 2nd-round picks

As we near the 2020 NFL draft, the Eagles are expected to have 10 selections and a real opportunity to pick up some important young players for the future of the franchise. 

During his time as GM (2010-14, 2016-present), Howie Roseman has had some hits and he’s had some misses. 

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to rank all of his draft picks (excluding the 2015 year when Chip Kelly was in charge) by round. 

We already looked at the first round.

Today, we’ll get to his 10 second-round picks: 

1. Zach Ertz (2013, No. 35) 

It’s hard to believe that Ertz is 29 already and just finished his seventh NFL season. While he’s playing in an era with some other really great tight ends, Ertz is having the type of season that will one day likely warrant a discussion about the Hall of Fame. He’s the only player in Eagles history with five straight seasons with 70+ catches and 800+ yards. And his 525 receptions are the most ever for a tight end through their first seven seasons. 

2. Miles Sanders (2019, No. 53) 

Maybe this is too early but I’m sold on Sanders. I think he’s going to be a star and I think the Eagles nailed this pick. Going by merit, he’s too high here but I’m projecting some. Sanders set an Eagles rookie record for scrimmage yards with 1,327. I expect him to continue to get better too. 

3. Mychal Kendricks (2012, No. 46) 

Kendricks played six seasons with the Eagles and even signed a pretty significant contract with the team. His last game as an Eagle was Super Bowl LII. While the Eagles moved on from him after the Super Bowl and while his play the last couple years wasn’t up to his previous level, Kendricks was a pretty darn good player for several years. In six years with the Eagles he had 3 Ints, 7 FFs and 14.0 sacks. 

4. Dallas Goedert (2018, No. 49) 

If Ertz wasn’t already an Eagle, I have no doubt Goedert would be a clear No. 1 tight end and his stats would be much better. Even with Ertz in front of him, Goedert has caught 91 passes for 941 yards and nine touchdowns in his first two seasons and he’s been a really good blocker. He has allowed the Eagles to utilize 12 personnel and make their offense more diversified. 

5. Jordan Matthews (2014, No. 42) 

He never had a 1,000-yard season but the Vanderbilt product in a three-season span (2014-16) caught 225 passes for 2,673 yards and 19 touchdowns. While he was never a great receiver, it’s hard to argue with those numbers. But his two stints with the Eagles since then haven’t been very productive. 

6. Vinny Curry (2012, No. 59) 

Curry has had a strange career in Philly. For the first few years of his career, he was a pass-rush specialists and was later a run-stuffing first- and second-down player. His best season came in 2014, when he piled up 9.0 sacks. In his second stint in 2019, he actually had 5.0 sacks but is set to be a free agent again. 

7. Nate Allen (2010, No. 37) 

Allen didn’t become the Eagles’ next great safety but he’s better than you remember. In five years with the Eagles he played 74 games (69 starts) and had 10 interceptions and four sacks. 

8. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (2019, No. 57) 

We have just one year to work off of so maybe JJAW rises quickly. But early returns certainly aren’t good for the receiver out of Stanford. As a rookie, Arcega-Whiteside caught 10 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown. The Eagles could have used more production in 2019. 

9. Sidney Jones (2017, No. 43) 

Jones made some clutch plays late in the 2019 regular season but he clearly hasn’t lived up to his extremely high potential. The Eagles took a gamble when they drafted him coming off an Achilles tear and so far that hasn’t paid off. The Eagles would have loved if Jones could have taken over a starting gig but he’s struggled to stay healthy and when he’s been on the field he hasn’t been the great corner we saw at Washington. I have Jones lower than JJAW simply because he’s had more opportunities. 

10. Jaiquawn Jarrett (2011, No 54) 

Once billed as a hard-hitting safety in the mold of Brian Dawkins, the Temple draft pick lasted just over one season with the Eagles. He played a total of 13 games with the Eagles and started two games. He was released the September after his rookie season. 

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Where did the Eagles’ Super Bowl roster disappear to?

Where did the Eagles’ Super Bowl roster disappear to?

With Nigel Bradham now gone, there are only eight starters left on the Eagles’ roster from their Super Bowl triumph just 24 months ago.

And that number could continue to dwindle, depending on what the Eagles do with Alshon Jeffery, whether Jason Kelce returns for a 10th season and whether Malcolm Jenkins gets a new deal or plays under his current one.

The only other starters from the Super Bowl under contract for 2020 are Zach Ertz, Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson on offense and Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham on defense.

There are three other guys under contract (or who the Eagles hold exclusive negotiating rights for) who played offense or defense in the Super Bowl: Corey Clement, Isaac Seumalo and Derrick Barnett.

And five others played only on special teams in Super Bowl LI vs. the Patriots: Nate Gerry, Jake Elliott, Rasul Douglas, Rick Lovato and Shelton Gibson.

Of the Eagles’ eight inactives on Super Bowl Sunday, only Sidney Jones remains under contract.

And of the eight players who finished the year on Injured Reserve, only Carson Wentz is still here.

In all, only 17 players remain under contract with the Eagles of the 61 who finished the 2017 season either on the active roster or Injured Reserve.

The Eagles do have exclusive negotiating rights with their own free agents until the legal tampering period begins on March 16.

But as far as players under contract? Some 72 percent of the Super Bowl roster is gone.  

Of those 44 players, 11 are currently free agents, 15 spent 2019 on other teams, 7 formally retired and another 8 haven’t announced their retirement but weren’t on a roster when 2019 ended, two are in the XFL and one is a restricted free agent. 

Interesting to note that the Patriots' figure is similar. They have seven starters remaining under contract -- which doesn't include Tom Brady -- and a total of 16 players left from their 2017 Super Bowl roster.

Here’s a quick look at the 61 Eagles who were with the team on Super Bowl Sunday and where they are now:

Under contract for 2020 [15]: Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Malcolm Jenkins, Isaac Seumalo, Derrick Barnett, Nate Gerry, Jake Elliott, Rasul Douglas, Rick Lovato, Carson Wentz.

With other teams at end of 2019 [15]: Stefen Wisniewski [Chiefs], Nick Foles [Jaguars], Mychal Kendricks [Seahawks], Trey Burton [Bears], Mack Hollins [Dolphins], Patrick Robinson [Falcons], Beau Allen [Buccaneers], Jaylen Watkins [Chargers], Najee Goode [Jaguars], Kenjon Barner [Falcons], Marcus Johnson [Colts], Wendell Smallwood [Redskins], Stephen Means [Falcons], Jordan Hicks [Cards] and Joe Walker [Cards].

Unrestricted free agents [11]: Nelson Agholor, Halapouliivaati Vaitai, Vinny Curry, Tim Jernigan, Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Rodney McLeod, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nigel Bradham, Nate Sudfeld, Jason Peters.

Retired [7]: Torrey Smith, Brent Celek, Corey Graham, Chris Long, Donnie Jones, Darren Sproles, Chris Maragos

Not with a team at end of 2019 [8]: Jay Ajayi, LeGarrette Blount, Chance Warmack, Dannel Ellerbe, Will Beatty, Destiny Vaeao, Caleb Sturgis

Playing in the XFL [2]: Donnel Pumphrey, Elijah Qualls

Restricted free agent [1]: Corey Clement.

Right of first refusal free agent [1]: Shelton Gibson

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