Wentz Lives!

Posted: May 22nd, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Wentz Lives!

We were lied to. Carson Wentz is not dead. Nor was he abducted by aliens. And he certainly didn’t go to northern India to read the Upanishads and find his inner-self.

Wentz was at practice on Tuesday, sans knee brace. Doug Pederson announced before the practice that Wentz is fully healthy and wouldn’t be limited this spring or summer. Wentz was out there running around and throwing. By all reports, he looked good. And he appeared to be having fun.

Let’s check out what the beat reporters had to say about practice. First up is Jimmy Bama.

The player of the day, in my view, was Dallas Goedert. He made a great catch on the sideline in which he not only kept his feet in on the catch, but kept his balance, stayed in bounds and ran down the field for a score.

There was also a play in which Wentz fired to Ertz on a quick slant, but he collided with both Jones and Maddox, and the ball popped up in the air. Goedert won the jump ball snatching it out of the air, then reaching over the goal line for the TD.

Love hearing this. Goedert had a good rookie season, but he’s just scratching the surface of how good he can be. I don’t think the Eagles have ever had a pair of TEs like this. We know Ertz is a special receiver. Goedert is a good blocker and he could become a special receiver as well.

It’s interesting that the Eagles had Halapoulivaati Vaitai working out with the first team at RG, though it makes sense considering the Eagles’ extreme depth at offensive tackle. Vaitai is in the final year of his rookie deal, and is already comfortable playing both tackle spots. As such, makes sense to cross-train him at guard for short-term gains, while also not having to care about potentially stunting long-term growth at his original position since he’ll likely leave in free agency next year anyway.

Jordan Mailata played exclusively at LT left year, at least in the portions of practices open to the media. He got first-team RT reps with Peters and Johnson out. He could be used as a swing tackle, an important role that will open up in 2020 when Andre Dillard moves into the starting lineup, and Vaitai (likely) moves on to another team. The Eagles are smart to add right tackle training to his regimen.

I had Vaitai at RG when I did a recent depth chart. Some wondered why I would do that, with Wiz being back on the team. The coaches know what Wiz can do. They want to see more of Big V and Matt Pryor in that RG role. Wiz was mainly at backup C on Tuesday.

If the team had to play a game right now, Wiz would be the starter. This is just the OTAs. You want to get reps to young guys when you can. This is smart coaching by Pederson and his staff. I also like the move of getting Mailata work at RT. Another smart move.


Here’s Sheil Kapadia’s take.

11:55 a.m. – Wentz and the quarterbacks work near the end zone on one side of the field. One guy takes a snap while the others simulate defensive ends and bring edge pressure. There are no defenders, just a couple of stationary receivers awaiting their passes. Two things stand out. One is that Wentz is not wearing a brace on his left knee. The other is that he’s moving well.

Wentz spoke after practice, and I don’t remember seeing him look this relaxed during a press conference since the 2017 season when he was an MVP candidate. Asked about the knee brace, he said it “felt great to get that thing off.” He plans on ditching it for the entire season. While he wouldn’t offer details, Wentz said he spent a lot of time this offseason making sure he’s doing everything in his power — including a focus on diet and flexibility — to stay on the field and be more durable.

It was one practice and one press conference, so let’s not read too much into it, but this was a nice start to the spring for Wentz.

Nothing groundbreaking there, but that’s the kind of info you want on your franchise QB that’s coming off injury. No reason to fire up the hyperbole machine, but it is okay to feel good.

Now for some action.

12:25 p.m. – During team drills, Wentz executes a play-fake and then rifles a pass to Ertz. Then on an RPO, he finds Arcega-Whiteside on a slant. When I watched Arcega-Whiteside at Stanford, he seemed like he’d be great at shielding defenders with his big body on slants. That’s what we see here.

Later in team drills, Wentz hits Nelson Agholor for a big gain on a crosser.

We see both Jordan Howard and Wendell Smallwood take reps with the ones at running back.

12:45 p.m. – During 7-on-7 drills in the red zone, Maddox blankets Agholor and forces an incompletion. Wentz then sails one out of the back of the end zone while trying to find Agholor and shows some frustration afterward. His third pass is intended for Ertz, but the ball pops up in the air. Goedert outmuscles defenders to come down with it for the touchdown.

This offense really does have a lot of weapons. I just hope they stay healthy. It was so frustrating to watch the offense struggle last year.


Jeff McLane is up next. What did he see from the backup QBs?

8. The second units: Sudfeld displayed a nice touch on his deep passes. He didn’t connect with either Arcega-Whiteside or Jackson, but he dropped rainbows. He was shaky on some other passes, however. Sudfeld threw behind an open Goedert on a throw over the middle. And he was nearly intercepted by safety Andrew Sendejo and cornerback Josh Hawkins on other throws. The Eagles signed Cody Kessler to compete for that No. 2 spot, and while Sudfeld wasn’t at his best Tuesday, the job is still clearly his to lose.

It would be nice to hear Sudfeld was out there shredding the defense and looked great, but I don’t know we’ll ever hear that. Sudfeld is going to be a mystery to all of us until he actually gets on the field in a real game and we can see him in action.

9. The third units: Kessler isn’t exactly short at 6-foot-1, but he paled in comparison to Wentz (6-5), Sudfeld (6-6), and rookie Clayton Thorson (6-4). His deep sideline passes appeared to take an extra click to arrive. A lot of his throws were checkdowns. Thorson found tight end Joshua Perkins in the end zone during seven-on-sevens. He zipped a pass to Ertz during three-on-threes. Maddox was in man coverage and Ertz jokingly taunted him after the completion. Maddox competes on every play.

Kessler didn’t wow anyone on Tuesday. He’ll get better as he gets more comfortable with the system and starts to play with more confidence. Still, he has physical limitations and those aren’t going away.


Here’s Brandon Lee Gowton.

• Speaking of DeSean, I thought Rasul Douglas did a good job of covering him today. Douglas stayed with Jackson deep down the field and was in position to contest a catch that ultimately went incomplete. During a red zone drill, Douglas threw Jackson off his route to force another incompletion. Now, I’d venture that Douglas is going much harder in practice than Jackson is. Still, Douglas flashed in a good way.

• Avonte Maddox is another standout player from today’s session. The second-year defensive back primarily lined up at first team nickel corner. He broke up a red zone target for Nelson Agholor and made a leaping pick on a Cody Kessler pass during 3-on-3. Maddox is too good to not be getting regular playing time.

It is good to hear Douglas carried over the momentum from January to the OTAs. He finished the season strong. It sounds like he is ready to really compete for playing time.

Interesting that Maddox was at CB. The Eagles need to find a home for him and let him develop. Maddox is a talented player. You want him on the field.

• Clayton Thorson was solid. Better than I expected him to be, which isn’t saying a ton. He didn’t do anything overly impressive. He also didn’t look totally lost, like how Matt Barkley looked as a rookie in 2013. Decent first impression.

Love the Matt Barkley note. Always good to put things into perspective.

• Joe Ostman’s arms are HUGE. They look like they might explode at any moment.

I’m excited to see Ostman in action. He’s gotten bigger and stronger in the offseason. Will that help him push for a roster spot?


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