Reporters did not manage to plumb the depths of Carson Wentz’s soul Wednesday.
For one thing, the Zoom session with the Eagles' quarterback lasted just seven-and-a-half minutes. For another thing, this was Wentz. The way the ball comes out of his hand might vary from week to week, but the QB’s demeanor does not.
The word “regression” is being thrown around in reference to Pro Football Focus’s bottom-ranked starting quarterback; it even came up in a Monday question to head coach Doug Pederson, who answered without objecting to the use of the term. But Wentz seemed surprised to hear it.
“I guess I don’t keep hearing that. I don’t know what’s being said, but what people say or how they feel, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion,” said Wentz, whose two starts of 2020 have produced alarming losses and the worst back-to-back passer ratings of his career, 72.5 and 56.5. "This is how I’ve been my whole career. I don’t get worked up about what people say, write, feel.
“I’m confident in myself, confident in this team. And so, obviously, being 0-2, and statistically, where I’m at, with the turnovers and all those things, that’s all behind me. For me, it’s all about going forward, and I don’t get too caught up or worked up about it. I’m confident in myself and confident in this team that we’ll get it going.”
Wentz was asked a couple of questions about his confidence, but none about his mechanics, which might be the more-pressing issue.
“I think in this business, this game, confidence can turn on people real quickly. … For us, it’s going back to what you know,” Wentz said. "It’s believing in yourself. It’s the entire body of work, ever since you were a kid, and just how you train, how you work, how you prepare, and there’s gonna be rough times. There’s gonna be rough patches, but the guys just got to lean in.
“I think we have a really good group of guys in this locker room that lean in on each other, and trust each other, and encourage each other no matter what the outside world is saying or feeling. We trust each other, we stay together, and the confidence is still there and still sky-high for this team.”
Tight end Dallas Goedert was targeted eight times in Sunday’s 37-19 loss to the Rams, catching four passes for just 30 yards. On one third-down play, Wentz didn’t seem to see Goedert open for a possible touchdown and threw the ball away leaving the team to settle for a field goal. A fourth-and-2 pass to Goedert was knocked away by a defender.
“We’re gonna be better,” Goedert promised. "Carson’s going to come to work every day. I love his attitude this week, coming into it. … It wasn’t just Carson; there’s a lot of things I could have done better. There’s plays where the primary wasn’t open, the checkdown wasn’t open. … They covered us, you know?
“We’ve got to be better as the receivers, the tight ends … we got to help him out. You know, I dropped one, could’ve had a play on [corner Jalen] Ramsey. I just gotta be better as well.”
When Pederson spoke with reporters Wednesday, he objected to a reporter’s assertion that some of the throws Wentz missed against the Rams were “layups.”
“There isn’t a throw out here that’s a layup,” Pederson said. “Some of it is just timing with young guys. Some of it is just Carson just being not accurate at that particular time. Could be that there’s a defensive guy that flashed a hand, where he’s got to change his arm angle at the split second. There are all kinds of reasons for accuracy. These are things that we continue to work on and will continue to work on the entire season.”
Wentz took one more journey through the well-plowed ground of his third-quarter interception on first down from the Rams' 21, with the Eagles having cut a 21-3 deficit to 21-16. Pederson indicated Monday that Wentz should not have tried to hit J.J. Arcega-Whiteside late, after bootlegging to his left. Pederson called the pass “unacceptable.”
“I’d definitely like to have that one back. I was out clean on that movement, and I thought I saw him open, but clearly he wasn’t, so I tried to force one there, and especially in a situation like that, when we’re moving down the field, I gotta be smarter than that,” said Wentz, who has four interceptions in two games, after throwing seven in 16 games last season.
Wentz said the error was the decision to throw, more than the placement of the ball.
“There’s a time to make those throws, and pull up and force one, and the window just wasn’t there, and I got a little aggressive there,” he said.
Wednesday was the first full day of preparation for 0-2 Cincinnati at home on Sunday, something Wentz welcomed.
“It’s OK to be frustrated. It’s OK to kind of be a little ticked off, but you watch the tape and you move on,” he said. “And so for me, it’s another week. It’s on to the next one, and you know, I’m as confident in myself and this team as I’ve ever been. I don’t waver and I don’t see that this team, this locker room, will waver when we go through rough patches like this.”