This season has not gone to plan for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and the offense. Under the direction of head coach Doug Pederson and new offensive coordinator Mike Groh, the defending Super Bowl champs’ offense has looked like a shell of its high-powered self.
Last season, the trio of Pederson, Frank Reich, and John DeFilippo helped the offense and Wentz soar to new heights. There was consistent effort to run the ball and create big plays in the passing game.
However, through 12 games this season, the Eagles are averaging 100.4 yards per on the ground, good for 24th in the NFL, while averaging 253.1 yards per game in the air (13th in the NFL).
“I think one of the things, you have to look at protection and how well we’re protecting up front. Any time you take a shot down the field, it’s usually a seven-step drop or a deep, play-action pass,” he said.
“And so we’ve taken our shots and we’re going to continue to do that. I try to build it in where at least we’re trying to do one a quarter or more and give ourselves — so it’s a good way, too, to kind of back the defenders up, so we don’t see as much eight-man boxes or seven-man boxes, and kind of opened up the run game.”
With all that being known, the blame falls both on the coaches and the shoulders of Wentz. The third-year quarterback made his return to the field in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts, after suffering a devastating season-ending knee injury last December against the Los Angeles Rams.
In nine games this season, Wentz is completing a career-high 69.7 percent of his passes for 2,540 yards, 16 touchdowns, and six interceptions. Even though these numbers look great on paper, he has been sacked a ridiculous 29 times and has a QBR of 64.7.
Not to mention, Wentz has been very turnover prone early in games, which has led to the Eagles being the lowest scoring first-quarter team in the league (1.9 points per game). Nevertheless, could the former second overall pick and the offense be in line for a huge game against Washington?
Well, if you believe in certain statistics plus the game film, then yes, there is a strong chance. Heading into this pivotal divisional clash, Washington’s defense is giving 3.4 points per game in the first quarter, which is ranked third best in the NFL.
However, in their last three games, they have given up on average 5.7 points in the first quarter. This means that Wentz and the offense will have an opportunity to put up points, only if they have a nice mix of running and passing plays.
Furthermore, Wentz’s numbers over his short career are pretty solid against the Washington Professional Football Team. Despite having a 2-2 record, he is completing 65.2 percent of his passes for 1,068 yards with seven touchdowns and three interceptions.
As a rookie, his first two games against Washington did not go exactly to plan. But last season, he completed 67.3 percent of his passes for six touchdowns and two interceptions in both games.
In those games last year, the Eagles had a few big plays through the air, which they will need on Monday if they want to secure the W. And they will also have to start the game better, which Wentz spoke about after last week’s win over New York.
“Absolutely. I thought we came out and we actually were moving the ball ok, then we had the penalty on the first drive. And then the second drive, we had a penalty, too,” he said.
“[With] both of those, the execution just needed to be better. We kind of made some mistakes early in that area. We knew what we were capable of, we knew we could move the ball, but we started slow and we have to be better with that.”
If Wentz can execute efficiently and have a competent running game behind him, then we could see a great performance out of the young quarterback.