Carson Wentz beats the blitz better than anyone
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Carson Wentz is at his best under pressure.
The rookie quarterback is off to an impressive start, helping the Philadelphia Eagles go 3-1. Wentz is sixth in the NFL with a 103.5 passer rating and he became the first rookie QB since 1970 to win his team's first three games and not throw an interception.
But the former North Dakota State star has even better numbers when opponents bring the heat. Wentz is 30 of 36 for 307 yards and three touchdowns with a league-best 130.0 passer rating against the blitz.
His success is a credit to his work ethic. Wentz starts his practice day at 5:30 in the morning along with backup Chase Daniel and No. 3 QB Aaron Murray.
''The No. 1 thing is preparation,'' Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. ''Blitz comes down to recognition. And we've got an exceptionally smart center (Jason Kelce) who's also on the same page with the quarterback. And they watch film together. So it all comes down to their preparation and how they handle the blitz. Then knowing that, getting the protection right, putting the ball in the right spot.''
Wentz credits his teammates for his efficiency against the blitz.
''When teams blitz, it takes everybody,'' Wentz said. ''It takes the O-line picking up guys, getting their jobs done and then receivers winning. It takes receivers, tight ends, running backs. It takes them winning and getting open early. We are all playing on the same page, playing fast, so I've really got to credit all the guys around me that really have just made my job easier.''
Wentz was 11 of 12 with two TDs against the blitz in a 24-23 loss at Detroit last week. He should see more of it against Washington on Sunday. The Redskins (3-2) have blitzed 41.2 percent of the time on third-and-long (7 yards or more) situations. They recorded a sack on 28.6 percent of the blitzes.
When the Eagles met with Wentz after trading up to acquire the No. 2 pick in the draft, coaches knew right away he'd be ready to handle the rush.
''We could see that when talking to him, just from how easy he talked about protections and what he did in college, how advanced he was in his thinking, not just what they did, but how he thought and how he processed things against the blitz,'' offensive coordinator Frank Reich said.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL
Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP-RobMaaddi