Carson Wentz is fine, but short-handed Eagles change practice course
Exhale Philly, Carson Wentz is A-OK, at least for now.
Any conspiracy theories about Eagles head coach Doug Pederson going off script and changing up his practice schedule on Wednesday were put to rest when the quarterback spoke on Wednesday following the team’s walkthrough.
“Feels good; obviously a little sore,” said Wentz when asked how his body responded from Sunday night’s beating at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons. “That’s football, but nothing concerning. Being that it’s Wednesday, I feel pretty good already.”
The trick now is making sure Wentz doesn’t take a similar hammering when the Detroit Lions visit on Sunday, because the Eagles have to turn right around and play again four days later in Green Bay on a Thursday night.
Wentz was sacked three times in Atlanta and hit 10 times. Not love-tap hits, either, but some genuine, cringe-worthy pops.
“I think we can do better job narrowing down and focusing on blocking better, really picking up the blitzes, stuff like that,” said right tackle Lane Johnson. “As far as us doing our jobs, it will help him do his job a little bit better.”
VIDEO: Carson Wentz on his new-look receiving corps
As it turns out, Pederson’s decision to cancel the usual full-padded practice on Wednesday to two, one-hour long walkthrough sessions was due to the scope of the injuries against the Falcons, injuries that could see the Eagles play the Lions without receivers DeSean Jackson (abdomen) and Alshon Jeffery (calf), and tight end Dallas Goedert (calf).
“Doug has a really good sense and pulse for the team,” said right guard Brandon Brooks. “Obviously a lot of guys are hurt now, and we have a lot of older players at different positions who just need rest overall. It’s him just listening to the players and making a decision that is in the best interest of the team. I definitely appreciate it.”
Neither Jackson, Jeffery nor Goedert practiced on Wednesday, per the team’s estimation on their injury report.
Also not practicing were running back Corey Clement (shoulder), defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (foot), and offensive lineman Jordan Mailata (back).
Limited were defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (toe), defensive end Derek Barnett (shoulder), safety Johnathan Cyprien (knee), safety Rudy Ford (hamstring), and linebackers Nathan Gerry (knee/calf) and Kamu Grugeri-Hill (knee).
That’s a substantial list that would’ve made a full practice difficult. Of course, the injury list may not shorten much for Thursday, either, but at some point, the Eagles will have to have more than just a walkthrough.
“It’s coach’s call,” said Wentz. “Ultimately when injuries happen and things kind of happen like that, it puts everybody in a tough situation. Just due to number of bodies and guys being healthy, it’s the way it had to go (Wednesday).
"I thought we got really good work out there today with a fast-paced walkthrough to see the looks and go over a lot of things. Still feel good about where we’re at on Wednesday.”
The media wasn’t allowed to watch practice because it was deemed a walkthrough, but one thing that took place was the integration of receivers J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Mack Hollins into the first-team offense.
JJAW played 75 snaps, Hollins a career-high 69 after Jackson and Jeffery were lost early in the game.
Neither Arcega-Whiteside nor Hollins had done much practicing with the first team during the week and the huddle was a bit chaotic, with tight end Zach Ertz and receiver Nelson Agholor having to occasionally tell the newcomers where to line up and what their responsibilities were on certain plays.
“We’re going to do things that they (Arcega-Whiteside and Hollins) do well (and) when we find what they do well and cater to that and put them in the best position to succeed,” said Wentz. “They’re both great players in their own right. Obviously DeSean is a different guy and Alshon, we’re not going to ask them to be those guys. They’re going to be themselves.
“We have a lot of confidence in what they do well and what they bring to this team. I think having a full week to prepare with those guys to go will really help us this week.”
Wentz certainly sounded like a quarterback that will be without his top two targets in Jeffery and Jackson on Sunday.
“I never quite seen anything quite like that when three of your five top weapons go down early in the game like that,” said Wentz about Jackson, Jeffery and Goedert. “This week, knowing where we might be come Sunday we can prepare and have things planned and ready to go. I feel confident in guys we will put out there and they’re going to make a lot of plays.”