Carson Wentz felt too much was resting on his rookie shoulders last year, head coach Doug Pederson said this week.
Pederson, in an interview with Comcast SportsNet's John Clark, said he hopes to "take a little bit off" Wentz's plate in 2017.
Wentz threw 607 passes last year, second most in NFL history by a rookie and more passes than Kurt Warner, John Elway, Carson Palmer, Donovan McNabb or Joe Montana ever threw in a season.
Or all but 20 quarterbacks in NFL history.
The Eagles' leading receiver had just 816 yards. Their leading rusher had just 661 rushing yards. Their star right tackle missed most of the season because of a suspension. Their Pro Bowl center struggled much of the season. Their only two reliable pass catchers missed time with injuries.
With a shaky running game and one of the weakest groups of wide receivers in recent NFL history, it all fell on Wentz. He was forced to carry the offense — and the team — on many occasions.
In fact, he threw an astonishing 422 passes from Week 7 through the end of the season, the seventh-most passes in NFL history over the last 10 weeks of a season.
The Eagles finished 7-9 after a 3-0 start and Wentz finished with 3,782 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
But the Eagles went out and added numerous offensive weapons — veteran receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, rookie draft picks Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson, veteran running back LeGarrette Blount and rookie running back Donnel Pumphrey.
Pederson has said he would like to run the ball more next season and be more balanced, but his admission that Wentz felt like too much was asked of him a year ago was a first.
“I think you can take a little bit off of Carson," Pederson said when asked what he'd like to change in 2017. "What I mean by that is I don’t think you have to load his plate every Sunday. I think now with the addition of LeGarrette Blount in the running game and the receivers we have, I think now that you have opportunities to take a little pressure [off].
"Everything doesn’t have to fall on Carson’s shoulders and I think sometimes a little bit last year he felt that way and things had to fall his way a little bit to make a play and I don’t think we have to do that this year."
Wentz threw 35 or more passes 10 times. No rookie in NFL history has ever had more games with 35 or more passes.
But it's not just the number of passes Wentz threw that Pederson would like to reduce. He also just thinks all the new weapons will alleviate some of the pressure on Wentz to do it all himself.
"I think we can be patient," Pederson said. "We still want to be ball-control like we were last year, but I think now with the opportunities we have, that he has, creating plays I think it will just benefit Carson and the team as a whole."