One of the biggest differences in Carson Wentz in recent weeks has been his willingness to extend plays and run with the football.
In last week's 24-19 win over the Giants, the rookie had several impressive-looking scrambles when his protection broke down before he could find a receiver. He also had four runs for 27 yards.
"It's definitely part of his development and evolution,'' Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich said Tuesday. "There was a game about a month ago. I can't remember exactly which one. But he rolled out to his left and was being chased by a big defensive lineman, a nose guard who no way was going to be able to catch him.
"He got over to the sideline, felt him coming and threw it out of bounds. When we were watching the film the next day, I said, 'You couldn't have swung back around and bought a little more time?' I was kind of kidding around with him when I said it. But he looked at me and said, 'Is that free game?' I said, 'Yeah, it's free game if you can make the play.' He said, 'OK, now I know.' ''
In the Eagles' first 10 games, Wentz rushed for just 48 yards on 28 carries (1.7 yards per carry). Had only seven rushing first downs, which, at the time, was fewer than 17 other starting quarterbacks in the league, including a number of guys who don't have anywhere close to the athleticism Wentz has.
In the last five games, he's been more willing to run when he's been pressured. He's rushed for 89 yards and five first downs on 17 carries (5.2 yards per carry) in those five games.
"He has that kind of ability,'' Reich said. "We know he has that kind of ability. It's a fine line as far as how much you want to use it. But he has a good sense for that.''