EAGLES NOTEBOOK: The Cincinnati View on Carson Wentz
Carson Wentz has been studied from every angle these last two weeks, and that is life in the Philadelphia fishbowl.
The view from Cincinnati isn’t as up-close, and Bengals coach Zac Taylor was asked on a conference call Thursday afternoon why he thinks the Eagles quarterback has struggled to start the season.
“I see what I see with a lot of teams right now,” said Taylor, whose team will play the Eagles on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. “It was a short training camp and teams are just trying to find their rhythm right now. That may happen in Week 1 for some teams and Week 3 for others. But the bottom line is there’s a lot of talent, particularly on that offensive side of the ball.
“They got three Pro Bowl linemen that they still roll out there. They got tight ends that can play with anyone in the country. They got speed at receiver and Carson can make some plays. He’s a powerful guy that can extend plays, and he’s very dangerous. There are a ton of weapons as I watch the tape. I know it hasn’t worked out the first two weeks. It just takes one game for those guys to get going.”
The Eagles hope that one game arrives this week. Taylor, of course, hopes it doesn’t.
His team is struggling right now, as well, checking in at 0-2. The Bengals, though, have lost two relatively close games. They look like a team ready to win, and they will have had 10 days off between their last game – a 35-30 loss to the Cleveland Browns – and Sunday in Philadelphia.
Taylor said having the extra time could help some of his players get healthy, such as defensive linemen Geno Atkins and Mike Daniels, and it has also given his team some time to make corrections and have solid practices.
For Cincinnati to find a way to win, keeping Wentz from breaking out of his slump will be part of the game plan.
“Just having watched Carson over the last couple of years, I know he has a ton of confidence in himself,” said Taylor. “He’s really smart, high football IQ.”
BARNETT AIMS TO GET BETTER
Defensive end Derek Barnett, the Eagles’ first-round draft pick in 2017, understands he has not been able to stay healthy, but he is trying to remain positive and, with 14 games left in the season, aiming to make an impact.
“I have had injuries before, so I can’t let that affect me mentally,” he said on Thursday, his first time talking to reporters since last season. “I just gotta keep on working every day to get better, so I can be available, so I can be counted on when it’s time to be counted on.
"I can’t complain. What’s the point of complaining about it? Football is a violent sport, so you can either complain, or you can get better.”
Asked if Eagles fans have seen the “real” Barnett after what he has been through missing 12 games the past two seasons and this year’s opener, he said, “I feel like I have a lot of improvement to do. And a lot of improving, I’m going to do. That’s how I feel about that.”
Every defensive player this week was asked how he felt about defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz taking the blame for a bad game plan against the Rams. All mentioned how much they respect him for doing that.
Defensive end Brandon Graham took it to another level on Thursday.
“Everyone thought we were going to get cussed out because we had a bad game,” said Graham about the first defensive meeting the team had together after being lit up for 449 yards in the loss to LA.
Instead, the DC owned up to his mistakes.
“Once Schwartz took credit for what he did in that game, man, that just boosted morale, because it takes a strong person to say, 'Hey, I messed up on that,'” said Graham. “For Schwartz to take that made me want to fight for him even more and made the team want to fight for him even more and to get my mistakes corrected.
“I know I had some in there, too, but for the head man to do that, it was a great feeling for us to let us know that he’s really down for us, just like he said he is, and we’re all going to make sure we get it right.”
With the Eagles short-handed at cornerback and expected to get even shorter Rudy Ford battling a groin injury that has prevented him from practicing this week, the team added Trevor Williams to the 53-man roster on Thursday.
To take Williams’ place on the practice squad, the Eagles signed WR Marcus Green, who was with them in training camp and on the PS last year.
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