Big Day For Wentz

Posted: July 30th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 39 Comments »

You never want to make too much of one practice, good or bad. Carson Wentz was erratic early in the spring. He played better in the last few spring practices. He wasn’t a bust because of the bad days or headed to the Hall of Fame because of the way he finished. Wentz is a young player and there will be ups and downs.

Good players are consistent. Coaches don’t want erratic players. They want guys who can perform at a consistent level.

Wentz has been good so far in Training Camp, with Saturday being his best showing of the summer. Everyone at practiced raved about his performance. has the details.

1. During the final 7-on-7 period, Carson Wentz was a perfect 15-for-15. Here’s a breakdown of those 15 plays.

A. Wentz completes a quick 5-yard pass to wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.

B. Wentz connects with Ertz, who caught the ball 16 yards down the field.

C. Ertz is the target again on a short crossing route.

D. Tight end Trey Burton gets in on the fun with a quick out and a gain of 5 yards.

E. Wentz throws a perfect touch pass for a gain of 30 yards to wide receiver Jordan Matthews. Wentz had the ball in the air as soon as Matthews passed linebacker Najee Goode, but it was placed in an ideal spot where neither safety Rodney McLeod nor safety Jaylen Watkins could get it.

F. Wide receiver Torrey Smith catches a 10-yard pass from Wentz.

G. Wentz goes to Burton, the underneath option, for 6 yards.

H. The play of the day. Wentz hits Ertz with a back shoulder throw along the right sideline for 29 yards. Ertz caught the ball and got both feet in as he was falling to the ground. Watkins had good coverage on the play. Amazing anticipation throw. Note that wide receiver Nelson Agholor was creating confusion for the defense running a go route.

I. A quick pass to Matthews in the flat.

J. A dig route by Smith goes for 20 yards.

K. Wide receiver Marcus Johnson turned cornerback Patrick Robinson around faking in before going out for a 17-yard gain.

L. Ertz was the recipient on a shallow cross.

M. Agholor caught the ball on a quick out route.

N. A hitch route by Smith gained 13 yards, although cornerback Jalen Mills read the route and had good position.

O. Burton finishes off the drill with an out route for a short gain.

Wow. That is an impressive performance. The Eagles secondary isn’t great by any stretch, but that was a mixture of throws to a variety of receivers and spots. It wasn’t Wentz picking on one guy or area. 

Going 15 for 15 in that setting is great for a couple of reasons. First, Wentz made good reads and accurate throws. Sometimes he hit open guys. Other times he gave his receivers a chance to make a play. The other reason that 15 for 15 is so good is that the receivers caught the ball. No drops. They mixed in a couple of tough grabs. Frank Reich said after practice that was the best the passing game has looked since he got here.

Great to see Wentz and his receivers playing so well together.

The DBs did have some good moments.

B. On the very first rep of the period, Agholor lined up against Mills on the far right side. Mills got a good jam at the line of scrimmage, but Nelson released outside and was off to the races. Mills stayed hip to hip (or, “in-phase”) with Agholor, got his eyes on the football, and climbed the ladder to make a picture-perfect pass breakup to get the ball on the ground. It was a great way to start the drill for the defense, and it was one of two breakups for Mills in the drill that I saw.

It sounds like Mills is the best CB right now. That’s good and bad. You want a young player like Mills to play well and show improvement from last year. At the same time, Mills is not exactly a shutdown CB. If he’s playing the best of the group, that doesn’t say a lot about the other guys.

Fran Duffy also had a good note on new DT Tim Jernigan.

B. Tim Jernigan has a quick first step, and when you see him in person you can see why he’s so tough to move in the run game, but he hit Seumalo with good ol’ hump move patented by Reggie White on his first rep, winning the play by ripping through the second-year guard’s inside shoulder. On his next rep (and the last that I watched of the drill), Jernigan used a bull rush to punch Chance Warmack in the chest before ripping inside against the former first-round pick.

Jernigan is going to be a key player for the Eagles this year. Jim Schwartz pointed out the other day that Fletcher Cox got a lot of attention and the DT playing beside him didn’t make enough plays last year. That was true whether Bennie Logan, Beau Allen or Destiny Vaeao. Jernigan will be the man next to Cox most of this year and that will pose a problem for offenses. Jernigan has the ability to rush the passer (13 sacks in 3 years). He can win with quickness, power or skill.


Jimmy Bama has some good notes. Another day, another WR stands out.

• One of Wentz’s more common targets was Marcus Johnson, who made a boatload of catches at every level of the defense. The hype is legit, as he has done a good job not only catching the ball, but consistently gaining good separation.

Dave Spadaro mentioned Johnson back in the spring as a receiver who had impressed so this isn’t just one good day. How funny is it that last year the Eagles were desperate for a WR to step up and no one did. This year you have Jeffery and Smith playing at a high level. Nelson Agholor is playing well. Rookies Mack Hollins and Greg Ward are opening eyes. And Johnson is doing everything he can to get people’s attention. Good problem for the Eagles to have.

Now for some OL/DL talk.

• Halapoulivaati Vaitai got owned on consecutive plays during 11-on-11’s. Playing LT, Vaitai got blown up by Vinny Curry on a run play, leading to a 3-4 yard loss. On the next play, after moving over to RT, he got beaten around the edge by Brandon Graham for what would have been a sack.

  1. Derek Barnett did not have a good session. He was easily handled on consecutive rushes by Matt Tobin and Dillon Gordon, though I wouldn’t make too much of that.
  2. Jason Kelce had a bad snap that the QB (an Eagles quality control coach) could not handle.
  3. Rookie DT Elijah Qualls had a really rough moment. He went down in pain on one rep, and then proceeded to get reamed out by defensive line coach Chris Wilson. “You get beat every f****** time, and now you’re hurt!” Wilson screamed. Qualls remained on the ground sort of in the field on play about 5-10 yards from where the rest of the linemen were conducting the drill, and trainers came over to look at him while the drill continued. Qualls was eventually helped off and into the locker room. Yikes.
  4. While Vaitai didn’t light it up in 11-on-11’s, he did a better job in 1-on-1’s against Graham stoning him in his tracks on one rep.

The Eagles are giving Vaitai some reps at LT. They want to cross-train as many O-linemen as possible. Vaitai played LT as a Senior at TCU and looked good, but he focused on RT last year. Vaitai showed good potential as a rookie. As with any young player, there are going to be growing pains, especially when you try to expand what they do.

It may sound like DL coach Chris Wilson was being a jerk to Elijah Qualls. And maybe he was. DL coaches are supposed to be tough, though. DTs have to be pushed relentlessly. That’s not a position for the feint of heart. DL coaches are rarely soft-spoken, lovable types. They come across more like drill sergeants. Qualls said in the locker room that he’s fine. We’ll have to wait and see if he misses any time.

Jimmy makes a great point about TE Billy Brown.

• One undrafted rookie who has looked good catching the football so far has been tight end Billy Brown. However, if Brown is going to make the team, he is also going to have to show that he can play special teams. Coming from a tiny school in West Virginia, Brown was the guy in his offense, so he didn’t play special teams at all. I watched him for a while in special teams drills today, and he was getting beaten regularly. While Brown has some skills to be excited about, his special teams play is going to have to improve drastically to be anything more than a practice squad guy.

I have focused on Brown’s need to show he can be an effective blocker. Jimmy is right that Brown also must show he can contribute on STs. I don’t see Brown as likely to push for a roster spot this season, but he still needs to show enough that the coaches want to keep him around for the future.

The easiest way for a rookie to impress the coaches is to play well on STs.



Next up is Jeff McLane. Interesting note here about CB C.J. Smith.

  1. Najee Goode continued to take most of Jordan Hicks’ reps at middle linebacker, but Hicks (hand injury) was inserted during this period. Wentz then started to air it out. He hit a wide-open Johnson, who had slipped cornerback C.J. Smith, for a 20-plus-yard gain. Jalen Mills and Patrick Robinson have played most of the first team snaps at outside cornerback, but Smith has been the first “reserve” to get plays with that unit. He seems to be ahead of rookie Rasul Douglas at this point. On second down and 4, Wentz had the offense quick snap out of the huddle. The pace caught the defense, and Smallwood ran through Jernigan for a “first down.”

Someone else noted Smith looking good recently. He played very well last summer and earned a roster spot. Smith will have a tougher time of making the team this year, but it sounds like the coaches are giving him plenty of reps and have him in a good spot on the depth chart. The Eagles don’t have great CBs right now, but there seems to be good competition.

  1. The second team matchup featured a fair share of split zone runs in which a tight end will whammy block the opposite defensive end. Chris Long jacked up Anthony Denham despite the tight end’s head start on one such run. But Denham would later get the better of rookie end Derek Barnett, who was blocked to his knee. Denham, a second-year player who spent most of last season on the practice squad, had earned a low five from Brent Celek when he returned to the tight end circle. Wendell Smallwood and Donnel Pumphrey took most of the handoffs with the second unit. There appeared to be a lot of space for the tailbacks to run, which later drew a rebuke from Schwartz. I can’t print most of what the quotable coordinator said, but it could have passed for dialogue from a Quentin Tarantino film.

Denham is another young TE trying to impress the coaches. Blocking a rookie like Barnett is going to be easier than blocking Long, who knows what wham blocks are and how to handle them.

Can Smallwood and Pumphrey both be active on gamedays? Those two aren’t fighting for a roster spot, but could be battling to see who gets to play in games.


Now for Brandon Lee Gowton. Real good notes from him today.

• Torrey Smith looked good in practice on Friday. He dropped a contested catch today but was otherwise good again. His ability to get open when a play breaks down stands out to me. Last year the Eagles did not have receivers who could do that. That’s a big help for Wentz.

Excellent point from BLG. The QB and WRs need to be on the same page about what to do when things break down. Randall Cunningham did a great job of letting his guys know what he wanted and that led to big plays to Cris Carter, Fred Barnett, Calvin Williams, Mike Quick, Victor Bailey, etc.

Wentz and the receivers did a poor job last year of taking advantage of broken plays. Part of that was due to experience, but also the fact the WRs were such limited players. Smith is a talented veteran and knows what to do when things break down. Can’t wait to see Wentz find him during games when things go a bit haywire.

• Ward and Chris Maragos had some good battles during a special teams drill where one player had to block another trying to run down the field. The two players consistently got real physical with each other. Maragos first got the best of Ward. Then the rookie got nasty back with the veteran on their next matchup. ST coordinator Dave Fipp really liked it and yelled “Oooh, what goes around comes around!”

• Joe Walker and Don Cherry also earned praise from Fipp.

It doesn’t surprise me at all that Ward is embracing STs. This kid just feels like someone who will do whatever it takes to make the team and help them win. I don’t know if Ward will be good enough to make the roster this year, but I guarantee you that cutting him won’t be easy.

Bryan Braman is gone so the Eagles need LBs to step up on STs. Walker and Cherry are both getting a lot of STs reps. We knew Walker had a good chance to make the roster. Sounds like Cherry will be given a legit chance as well.

• Jason Peters spent time mentoring Dillon Gordon, the team’s second string left tackle, during offensive line drills. Peters was also working with Barnett on the rookie’s spin move after practice. It’s stuff like this that goes unseen to a number of fans and leads me to believe JP is underappreciated. He’s not just here for himself. He cares about his teammates, even the young guys.

Peters gets it. He’s helping young guys, but is also helping himself. He knows the young players might help him get to the postseason. Love it when a veteran goes out of his way to help those around him.


39 Comments on “Big Day For Wentz”

  1. 1 laeagle said at 2:17 AM on July 30th, 2017:

    Yikes. It’s official. Media Mike is pulling an Arya Stark with Chris Wilson’s face. No one eat any pies without checking for Kenjon Barner’s teeth first.

  2. 2 Fufina said at 5:10 AM on July 30th, 2017:

    Big if true

  3. 3 Guy Media said at 8:00 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    I was dying when I read that quote. Can I buy a Chris Wilson jersey?

  4. 4 wee2424 said at 5:07 AM on July 30th, 2017:

    JP is the man. Shit, our CBs scare me. At least we have Jones down the road, Mills has improved, and Douglas is a rookie. Gives some hope in a division filled with good to elite WRs.

    In a way it is a shame because I feel as though with CB being such a glaring weakness it somewhat wastes our S tandems prime years.

  5. 5 Insomniac said at 5:15 AM on July 30th, 2017:

    “Jason Peters spent time mentoring Dillon Gordon”

    Insomniac 5 days ago
    “rookie defensive end Derek Barnett had a few impressive rushes vs. tackles. Dillon Gordon got the best of him, though, when Barnett tried an inside move.”
    It’s pretty hard to beat a future HoF LT in Dillon Gordon who is probably getting pointers/lessons from a soon-to-be HoF LT in Jason Peters.

    It’s like a dream come true.

  6. 6 P_P_K said at 9:09 AM on July 30th, 2017:

    OK, we won’t make too big a deal about Carson’s Big Day, but it’s still very good news. If any of the starters on the Eagles struggles, the team will struggle. If Wentz struggles, the team will fail.

  7. 7 Guy Media said at 8:15 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    Yeah, we don’t want to have him with massive bad days.

  8. 8 P_P_K said at 1:35 PM on July 31st, 2017:

    At least not on game days.

  9. 9 xmbk said at 9:42 AM on July 30th, 2017:

    Depth guys like Ward and Burton are important to a winning roster. Need football players, not athletes with potential, to have good practices and fill in reliably on game day.

  10. 10 A_T_G said at 9:53 AM on July 30th, 2017:

    Sorry to be a downer today, but there are two things I find really troubling:

    1. I am disappointed Ward won’t make the team. He seems like a great guy to have on the team with legit upside potential, but he seems to have filled the Josey/Mostert/LB I’ve forgotten role of the long shot whom I root for only to see him go in the final cuts.

    2. I am really worried for us next off-season. With the WR problem fixed and the secondary developmental pieces in place, it is going to be really tough to narrow our focus during FA and the draft when there are no more roster holes. Scouting long snappers is going to be boring.

  11. 11 or____ said at 10:48 AM on July 30th, 2017:

    Well done sir

  12. 12 daveH said at 1:25 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    If 2 really happens that would be a Dreaam !!

  13. 13 Dave said at 4:16 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    FA next off-season will very much have to do with how the team addresses all the free agents and JP/Kelce at the end of the season…Timmy J, Alshon, JMatt, Blount, Nigel, (potentially reworking Brandon Graham’s contract).

  14. 14 Guy Media said at 8:05 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    On 1 – I f-ing hated Ward at Houston due to his style of play. I’d love to see things work out now that he’s been switched to the position he should have been playing the entire time.

    On 2 – Howie doesn’t do boring offseasons.

  15. 15 sonofdman said at 3:10 PM on July 31st, 2017:

    Next off-season will be 100 comments a day bitching about Jason Kelce, and periodic articles from experts predicting Ertz having a breakout season in 2018.

  16. 16 Seth S. Scott said at 11:47 AM on July 30th, 2017:

    M. Agholor caught the ball on a quick out route.

    WHOA! Risked the streak there!!!

  17. 17 SteveH said at 12:00 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    Don’t be coy Tommy, we all know this means at least 1 dynasty during the Wentz era.

  18. 18 ChoTime said at 12:15 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    Great to hear. Looking at the play-by-play, I wondered if Matthews bobbled those passes.

  19. 19 SteveH said at 12:18 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    Did Shelton Gibson have crazy drop problems in college? Does he maybe just have a prolonged and severe case of the yips?

  20. 20 kajomo said at 1:06 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    Yes he did as a freshman and sophomore. He did seem to really improve his hands his junior year, but he is such a low volume WR it wasn’t a great sample size.

    I think he’ll always be a guy who drops some balls, but can also deliver big plays. He should get better next year with a year under his belt and hopefully some improved confidence. He has to be frustrated as hell right now.

  21. 21 D3FB said at 1:28 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    Yes. He has always really struggled catching the ball straight on. But he’s very talented at tracking deep balls and over the shoulder catches. Unless his hands improve he’s going to have to make a living as a “bubbles and bombs” WR. He’s a guy with defined skills to help him carve out a niche but also should have gone back to school and developed another year.

  22. 22 Tumtum said at 1:07 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    Fran’s note on Mills is nice to hear. He was so often in good position last year but never able to get his head around, and play the ball. If that changes he could be pretty solid.

  23. 23 P_P_K said at 4:29 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    If Mills played for any other team I’d find that finger wag annoying. Since he plays for the Eagles, I like it as a sign of confidence. I’m such a homer.

  24. 24 Ryan Rambo said at 8:39 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    Nothing wrong with that!!!! That’s what makes us fans my brotha!!!

  25. 25 A Roy said at 9:42 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    Aren’t we all…

  26. 26 bushisamoron said at 1:31 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    “the eagles secondary isn’t great by any stretch”. Understatement of the year candidate.

  27. 27 Koy: The Legend of Neckbeard said at 3:45 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    The corners are bad and we shouldn’t pretend otherwise. Could be the story of the season.

  28. 28 P_P_K said at 4:22 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    You’re probably right, but I’m hoping the story of the season is how the front four was so vicious it made up for the bad corners.

  29. 29 Sokhar20 said at 3:45 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    Just a thought on Peters, to show proper appreciation for the guy….
    If we considered Peters a first round selection for this team (equivalent to the pick we gave up in trade for him) and just consider his career for us, like we had essentially gotten him out of college….is he not the best Eagles 1st round selection since at least McNabb, by a landslide? And going further, arguably Reid’s best move he ever made?

  30. 30 Bert's Bells said at 6:59 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    But he wasn’t.

    The thing about draft picks -first rounders especially -is they can give insight into the functioning and structure of the organization. How they judge talent, what traits they’re looking for in players, how the organization utilizes and develops young people.

    Not saying JP isn’t one of the all-time great Eagles and wasn’t worth the trade value (he is and was), but I don’t buy the argument that he’s “like a first round pick” because of the organizational baggage that comes with a draft pick.

    Now, it is telling that the Eagles spent high value resources and lots of cash on JP. That says something about the organization, for sure.

  31. 31 Dave said at 4:12 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    I’ll never think Jason Peters is underappreciated.

  32. 32 MattE said at 6:41 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    It’s hard not to pull for Jalen Mills, kid dyed his hair bright green after we draft him and he seems to have a short term memory (vital for a CB), I want this kid to succeed in the worst way.

  33. 33 Guy Media said at 8:03 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    Same here.

  34. 34 P_P_K said at 8:51 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    Here, too.

  35. 35 Dragon_Eagle said at 8:29 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    This is good to hear and all, but Wentz needs to practice against some NFL-caliber CBs before we get excited at all.

  36. 36 Guy Media said at 8:32 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    He’ll be carving up those “NFL caliber” CBs from Dallas, New York, and Washington 6 times this year!

  37. 37 Dragon_Eagle said at 8:32 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    7. I want to stomp one of them out of the playoffs.

  38. 38 Guy Media said at 8:37 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    Us as the 3 or 4 seed and one of them as a wild card. My pref would be Washington as it would mean the Giants and Cowboys both missed the playoffs.

  39. 39 dandynator said at 11:52 PM on July 30th, 2017:

    dont want to be the guy who said ha knew it, but last year wentz played great if you look everygame he won it but someone lost it for us either penalty or cold drop in key situations and the wrs dropping the most balls while getting the least amount of seperation did not help. His first 3 weeks he killed it, vs detroit he won but we had shitty call (kelce?!), MIN didn’t have weapons, the running game or pass pro to handle them , DAL he won it against except for a questionable sceen play selection who put us outside field goal range to make it 2 possession game, even against freakin SEA he won it(…. nelson td drop). and im looking at you DGB. but anyway yall get it.. kid’s the goat