Tuesday might be the last time Carson Wentz plays against non-Eagles until Week 1.
If that’s the case, the quarterback and the Eagles’ first-team offense finished their preseason reps against hostile opponents with a draw.
On the second and final day of the Eagles’ joint practices with the Ravens ahead of Thursday’s preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field, Wentz and Co. had another even day against a Baltimore defense that ranked among the best in the NFL last season.
The Ravens’ secondary didn’t come away with any interceptions against Wentz, but did disrupt a fair amount of passes.
In the opening seven-on-seven drills, Wentz started the day with an overthrow of Nelson Agholor. But he found Alshon Jeffery for a touchdown, placing a pass in the back corner of the end zone over a defender.
It was one of a handful of well-placed balls Wentz threw. But the Ravens secondary, combined with the occasionally unreliable hands of Eagles receivers, kept the offense from having too many splashy plays.
Wentz found third-year receiver Mack Hollins on a nice deep ball during one of the final possessions of the day, but Hollins dropped it. Another long pass to tight end Joshua Perkins was broken up at the last second by Ravens linebacker Matthew Judon.
Wentz has yet to play in the preseason, and Thursday’s game against the Ravens — the No. 1 defense in total yards allowed last year — will likely be his last chance, as the fourth game of the preseason is primarily designated for back-of-the-roster players.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson said the team has yet to decide if it will play Wentz, but it would be a surprise if he isn’t in street clothes on Thursday.
“That’s coach’s call. I feel good either way,” Wentz said. “Especially with these joint practices, it’s been really good work. I feel I’m ready for Week 1."
Because of the lack of live preparation, the scrimmages against a different team’s defense have become even more important for the offense.
“They’re extremely valuable,” Wentz said of the reps in practice. “To just mix it up and see the Ravens present some different looks. Obviously, last year they were a very good defense and did some things that made it tough on opposing offenses. So, for us, it’s really important to get out here and see the looks and kind of see where we’re at.”
The feeling is mutual. Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith said the Eagles offense has given Baltimore a good opportunity to improve, but he noted that Wentz’s full skill set doesn’t always translate to practice since he thrives on using his legs in live situations.
“I think he has a lot of ability [but] it’s practice, so you don’t really get to see all of it,” Smith said. “Some of the ability he has to scramble and make plays, you don’t really get to see that at practice.”
Wentz has seldom left the pocket during training camp, and that was especially true against the Ravens. He said it wasn’t a conscious decision to not extend plays, but rather an indication that he is getting through his progressions faster and getting the ball out faster.
On Tuesday, Wentz found Jeffery for a well-blocked screen toward the end of practice, and Agholor reeled in a few short completions.
“It’s part of the progression of him and his growth as a young quarterback,” Pederson said. “He’s getting to the line of scrimmage, he’s seeing things fast, and he’s redirecting protection. ... The ball is coming out of his hands quicker.”