By Teddy Brennan and the Associated Press
Let’s hope Eagles QB Carson Wentz finishes tomorrow night’s game at the Linc against the Seahawks.
He didn’t the last time these teams met last January in the playoffs.
Wentz was bounced out by a concussion.
And now Eagles coach Doug Pederson is asked daily about whether he’ll bench Wentz for rookie Jalen Hurts.
That’s because Wentz has played this year like he has been in a fog.
”He’s my starter, end of story,” Pederson eventually said to reporters. ”You guys can blow it up however you want it and that’s fine. I’m focused on this team, these players, this coaching staff and the Seattle Seahawks.”
Wentz led the Eagles to four wins to secure an NFC East title last December and earned an opportunity to make his postseason debut after injuries forced him to watch Nick Foles lead Philadelphia to a Super Bowl title following the 2017 season, and a playoff win in 2018.
Wentz was outstanding down the stretch last year, completing 67.6% of his passes for 1,199 yards, seven TDs and no interceptions in four games. But he lasted only nine snaps before Jadeveon Clowney knocked him out with a shot to the head. The Seahawks won, 17-9.
Wentz hasn’t been the same since that hit. He leads the NFL with 18 turnovers, including 14 interceptions, and has career lows in completion percentage (58.4) and passer rating (73.3).
But Wentz hasn’t had much help. Injuries have forced the Eagles to use 12 players on the offensive line, including 10 different starters. Tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, running back Miles Sanders and wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery have missed significant time. Wentz is too often throwing to inexperienced receivers who aren’t always running the correct routes.
”I’ve gone back and looked at ’17 and ’18 tape, our coaching staff has, I know he has,” Pederson said, referring to when Wentz finished third in NFL MVP voting in 2017. ”We’ve looked at everything from play calling, me, am I different? Am I using personnel right? Am I making decisions that are beneficial for the team? I look at a bunch of that stuff.
”It comes down to just each person, each player, each coach taking a look at yourself, looking in the mirror, see what you see. If you don’t like what you see, we got to change, and you got to make improvements and you got to get better. So these are all the things that we’re doing and we’re helping him. We’re helping the offense. We’re helping the offensive line. We’re helping the receivers. We’re helping everybody get better and we’re using everything we can to make these adjustments.”
Wentz has his best chance to get back on track facing the NFL’s worst pass defense. The Seahawks have allowed 343.7 yards passing per game. They’ve shown improvement since halftime of a 23-16 loss to the Rams on Nov. 15.