Carson Wentz Confident Eagles Can Make Playoff Run
This is Carson Wentz’s fourth season as the Eagles’ quarterback and he has yet to play in a playoff game, even though his team has played in five of them since his arrival as the second overall pick in 2016.
Nick Foles started those five and went 4-1 in them because Wentz finished those playoff seasons sidelined by injuries.
Wentz will have seven games to remedy that and make into his first postseason. The run begins with a rugged two-game stretch on Sunday when the New England Patriots visit Lincoln Financial Field (4:25 p.m.) and will be followed the following week by the Seattle Seahawks in a game the NFL moved from its Sunday night primetime slot to 1 p.m.
“Where we’re at in the season, 5-4 (record), there’s a lot of football left and lot riding on these, especially these next couple weeks and these last seven games, I have a lot of confidence in this team to do something special to make a run,” said Wentz on Wednesday. “All we can do is go show what we can do and go prove it on the field now.”
The Eagles have yet to figure out a way to beat Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, who is 3-0 against them. And the Eagles will be facing a Seattle team that will be coming off its bye week.
The Patriots have never faced Wentz. They lost to Foles in Super Bowl LII just 21 months ago and they were beaten in a regular season game back in 2015 by then-Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford.
“Wentz is a very versatile player, is pretty good at everything,” said New England coach Bill Belichick. “He’s got a really good arm, can make all the throws, throw on the run, throw in the pocket, gets the ball to all his receivers, reads coverages well, athletic, extends plays, looks like a pretty smart guy.
“They give him a lot of responsibility in terms of checks at the line of scrimmage whether those are changing plays or adjustment protection or run-run checks, things like that. Really good football player that really looks good at everything, good in all areas of the game.”
Wentz didn’t think him not having faced the Patriots or vice versa was an advantage for either him or the Patriots.
During the Eagles’ modest two-game winning streak, they’ve unleased the running attack of Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders. As a team, the Eagles ran for 218 yards and 146 yards in beating the Bills and Bears, respectively. That sort of production has helped make the play-action game more successful for Wentz.
Wentz will also have his old friend and former teammate Jordan Matthews at his disposal. Matthews was signed for his third stint with the team early last week when DeSean Jackson went on Injured Reserve.
“I was excited,” said Wentz. “Obviously a good friend of mine, been an exceptional teammate every year he’s been here. Great player on and off the field, so very excited for him for not only his presence on the field but also in the locker room. I think everyone’s excited for that addition.
“He’s very familiar with the offense. To add apiece in the middle of the year like this, that’s always your concern, but he’s a smart guy and he hasn’t forgotten any of it. So that’s a big plus, but also his ability to get open and make plays. For me, having a comfort with him being able to work with him for a couple years now, that’ll definitely help.”
Matthews could pay dividends this week because the one thing Belichick is known best for is his ability to find a way to take away an opponent’s top weapon. Presumably, that will be tight end Zach Ertz.
The Lions, who are coached by former Belichick defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, opted to double-cover Ertz more often than not and Ertz had four catches for 64 yards in a 27-24 loss earlier this season.
“That was (the Lions’) flavor of the day,” said Wentz. “We’ll see what (the Patriots’) flavor of the day is early in this game, too. We’re definitely prepared and on top of it if they want to go that (Ertz) route.”