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Eagles coaches need to deliver a message to Carson Wentz: Holding the ball too long hurts the team

By Jeff McLane, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Football

A broken record.

It's the phrase Doug Pederson used when asked if Carson Wentz was amenable to correcting his tendency of holding the ball too long. The Eagles quarterback is in his fifth season, and yet there were multiple times in Sunday's loss when he unnecessarily tried to extend a play and it hurt his team.

He has often made the argument that any potential bad from his aggressiveness can be outweighed by the good - and there have been spectacular moments - but there weren't any examples Sunday in Washington. At this point in his career, he should know on most occasions when to push the pedal and when not to.

But maybe that message still needs to be hammered home - unless there is a disconnect. Which begs the questions: Are Eagles coaches delivering it forcefully enough, or is the 27-year-old quarterback incapable of change?

"I'm pretty aware of it," Wentz said Wednesday. "Every case, every specific play is specific. It's really case by case. There's a time and a place to fight. There's a time and place to throw it. There's a time and place to just eat it and take the sack.

"I'm obviously not going to get it right 100% of the time. So it's continually talking through it with Press (Taylor, quarterbacks coach), with Coach (Pederson), with everybody, and understanding you're not going to get it right, you're not going to be 100%. But how can we grow, how can we get better?"

 

If there's a broken record in this equation, it's Wentz. He's essentially given the same response when interrogated since his rookie season. He appeared to make strides last season, especially late. He wasn't forcing the situation as much or trying to play Superman.

Wentz, for the first time since 2016, played in all 16 regular-season games, although he did suffer a concussion early in the first round of the playoffs when he scrambled after a screen had been defended.

He might have altered his diet and added 13 pounds of muscle the last two offseasons, but there's something even more detrimental to the Eagles than sacks or fumbles when he refuses to throw the ball away or fall to the ground: There's the potential for injury.

He was sacked eight times and hit an additional six times by Washington. The offensive line's struggles, both individually and as a group, were the main reason Wentz saw so much pressure. But several of the sacks and hits were the quarterback's fault, and in other circumstances, he exacerbated the problem.

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