Steelers Film Room: An Early Look At Eagles Rookie QB Carson Wentz

Regardless of what you read below about Philadelphia Eagles rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, you have to tip your cap to North Dakota State product as he has his team 2-0 heading into his team’s Week 3 home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. With that disclaimer out of the way, below are a few observations on the Eagles first-round draft pick after watching his first two regular season games.

For starters, Wentz is very poised for a rookie quarterback and that’s already evidenced in his ability to check in and out of plays at the line of scrimmage. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson appears not to have Wentz on too short of a leash early on in the season and as the year wears on, I’m sure he’ll be allowed to do even more as his understanding of NFL defenses continues to improve.

While he has been reckless at times in the Eagles first two regular season games, Wentz can already be described as a tough SOB. On this throw below Monday night against the Chicago Bears, Wentz stands in the pocket and delivers a great pass to his tight end even though he’s about to get folded in half by a blitzing linebacker up the middle. While the play was unfortunately wiped out by a holding penalty, you can bet Wentz earned a lot of respect from his teammates with this throw.

Fearlessness aside, Wentz better learn to slide or make better attempts to get out of bounds when scrambling outside the football. If you watched the Monday night game against the Bears you saw Wentz take a few violent hits outside the pocket. One of those needless hits is below for you to view and his rookie season will come to an end very quickly if he continues to take more of these.

Enough about Wentz’s toughness and pocket presence, let’s talk about how he threw the football in the Eagles first two games.

For starters, it’s worth recognizing that Wentz has yet to throw an interception through two games. We all know how important turnovers are in games and while he’s bound to throw a few, the fact that hasn’t yet has played a big role in the Eagles starting the 2016 season 2-0.

Went has also completed 60.6% of his 71 total pass attempts in the Eagles first two games but it’s worth noting that 26 of those completed passes flew 5 or less yards past the line of scrimmage. Like most quarterbacks, the further Wentz throws down the field the lower his completion percentage gets. Of the 9 total passes that Wentz has thrown in his first two games that traveled 6-10 yards past the line of scrimmage, he’s completed just 5 of them. In the intermediate distance of 11-15 yards past the line of scrimmage, Wentz is a little bit better as he’s completed 7 of 10 attempts. Most of those attempts have been to the right side of the field, however, which isn’t overly surprising being as he’s right-handed.

As for Wentz’s deep pass attempts through the Eagles first two games, the young quarterback is 5 of 10 with 2 touchdowns. However, it’s worth noting that he could have two more deep completions Monday night against the Bears if it were not for two drops by his wide receivers. The first drop, as you can see below, was a great pass by Wentz that wide receiver Jordan Matthews should have caught for a touchdown. The second deep drop in that game came courtesy of Nelson Agholor and while the ball was underthrown by Wentz on this particular play along with the Bears cornerback making a nice effort to recovery after being beat off the line of scrimmage, the image below shows that the ball had a good chance of being caught nonetheless.

deep-drop-1

deep-drop-2

So, how has Wentz been so far on 3rd downs? Through the Eagles first two games he’s completed 9 of 19 pass attempts with only 6 conversions. 3 of those 9 completions were thrown short of the sticks as well. It also should be noted that of the four times he’s been sacked so far this season, 3 of them have come on 3rd down plays.

As far as his red zone passing goes through the Eagles first two games, Wentz is 5 of 12 with 2 touchdowns. He probably could have had a third touchdown pass Monday night to his tight end had he a put a little more air on the football as you can see in the animated gif below.

While I didn’t chart it myself ESPN.com tells us that Wentz is currently 9 of 11 for 105 yards against the blitz in his first two games. If those numbers are indeed correct, they’re quite good.

Against the Steelers on Sunday, expect Wentz to come out throwing quite a few high-percentage short passes as he settles into his third NFL start. As we’ve seen in the Steelers first two games of the 2016 NFL season, defensive coordinator Keith Butler isn’t likely to blitz very much, but with that said, it might be a little more than what we saw in the first two games as his defense has done a poor job of getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks when only rushing 3 or 4 players. Additionally, expect to see a lot of dime personnel by the Steelers defense on Sunday as that is becoming their go-to sub package unit.

The Steelers need to make sure that Wentz and the Eagles offense have to work on long fields all throughout Sunday’s game so that means a strong punting effort will be needed in addition to the Pittsburgh offense not turning the football over. So far through the Eagles first two games they have scored 16 points off of turnovers with 13 of those coming Monday night against the Bears. Additionally, like they have done in their first two games, the Steelers need to force Wentz into several third and long situations as that appears to be one of his weaknesses.

While Wentz has played well in his first two NFL games, he is beatable and especially if his short to intermediate passing falls off some Sunday in Philadelphia and the Steelers defense decides to play off a little less in an effort to force the young quarterback into second and third reads down the field.

Alex Kozora will surely have more on Wentz and the rest of the Eagles offense later on in the week so be on the lookout for that.

  • This guy is a beast! Is he stupid for taking all those risks and all those hits, or is he just a plain beast? Yikes!

  • PapaJuju

    For the life of me, I will never understand Cleveland. They’ve passed on two franchise QB’s now. Big Ben and Wentz.

  • Paddy

    It doesn’t matter who the QB is in Cleveland, they stink at drafting just about everyone. Year after year GM & coach changing never makes a difference. Wentz has played 2 games against really bad teams. He wasn’t going to survive behind the Browns line anyway.

  • Sam Clonch

    Bet he slides if JH is coming…

  • Daniel

    No way wentz will survive Sunday if eagles oline doesn’t get better. Boy o boy heyward, tuitt, harrison, Hargrave, licking there chops on this.

  • David Paul

    Hargrave plays 11 snaps a game, on run downs.

  • Jason

    What makes u confident they’ll get near him? Havent gotten any pressure as of yet this season.

  • srdan

    All decent rookie QBs look good the first 3-4 games. Then DC get good tape on them. They look for tendencies and ways to take them away.

    I think he is on the cusp of that. He will have a game, but I’m sure there are things they are going to throw at him to take him out of where he appears to be comfortable on tape.

    It’s what distinguishes the great ones.

  • dany

    Yup! Ben would be an outright bust in cleveland, I have no doubts about it

  • Steel Your Face

    He looked nearly flawless last night and due diligence had better be done by our team.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    In this case, I’d like this rookie QB to look good in his first 2 games. Then Basta!

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Wentz needs a few dents by 4 or 5 Steelers. Vince Williams should make an introduction along with Deebo. Hit him early and often ala the Colt McCoy introduction to pro football.

  • Josh Gustad

    I understand why we haven’t been bringing the heat the last two weeks, but if we don’t this week, I’ll be slightly concerned. I want to see Went on his back 8+ times on Sunday.

  • srdan

    Realistically I think the model most QBs will follow against us is similar to the first two weeks. Lots of yards when they don’t count for a lot.

    The good QBs (Brady) we will need to do something besides bend but dont’ break. Because him and Gronk will force the issue.

  • We may be in trouble at Philly. Just sayin’.

  • ilamarca

    Why? At this point of their respective careers Andy Dalton is light years ahead of Carson Wentz. I am as impressed as anyone by his first two games but they came against two of the worst defenses in the league, complete with two of the worst offenses to keep those defenses on the field.

    Like I said, I like Wentz so far too but the Steelers have the better QB and the stronger team.

  • David Paul

    He’s played 2 games dinking and dunking against terrible teams, far too early to say he’s the next great QB in the game.

  • Daniel

    Did you see the pre-season game when we played them …our 2nd stringers overpowered there oline

  • Daniel

    The better team will prevail and the steelers are the better team. Ben and brown will bounce back this week and light up the eagles

  • David Paul

    21-34 for 190 is nearly flawless? It’s a decent game for a rookie against a bad team with a depleted secondary.

  • Daniel

    Flawless vs a sorry team weak defense c’mon man

  • hojo

    I remember when we gave RG3 a good smackdown in his rookie year. I expect we’ll be able to do the same to Wentz

  • Daniel

    Funny that some of you already crowning wentz as a great qb..lmao

  • StrengthOfVictory

    The Eagles game will be a little more challenging than I think some fans believe. After Gio Bernard basically had his way with the Steelers’ defense, I’m a little worried about the Eagles getting Sproles out in space as a receiver.

  • Daniel

    I expect a good ol smackdown like they did to cambell when he was with the skins

  • David Paul

    And he was playing better than Wentz is now.

  • Daniel

    Dude bengals didn’t even have 50 yrds on the ground what r u talking about

  • David Paul

    This is the NFL – every team has players that are dangerous. If you focus on those guys in a vacuum, you can make any game look like a tough game.

    Philly has fewer weapons than Cincy and Washington and a rookie QB behind a shaky line.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    “As a receiver.” Did you see what I typed? Bernard had nine catches for 100 yards and a touchdown on Sunday—as a RECEIVER.

  • Daniel

    Ok..sproles ain’t the same player

  • David Paul

    I think he’s referring to his 9 catches for 100 yards.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    It’s a recency thing. If an opponent has a weakness, future opponents will exploit that weakness. Happens all the time in this league. The Steelers seemingly had no answer for Bernard, so I hope the defense accounts for Sproles in that regard. Because they’re the same type of weapon capable of giving the same kind of headaches.

  • Daniel

    True but sproles ain’t as good as he was..I think Bernard is better in today’s nfl

  • Daniel

    The Bengals couldn’t stop dlo so same goes for eagles only they have to account for the best receiver in the league too which is much harder than thought. Not to mention our TEs too we just have crazy amount of fire power of ya know what I mean

  • Steel Your Face

    Gotcha. I was expecting a lot less polish than I saw but didn’t watch much of the 4th Quarter.

  • Steel Your Face

    You have to admit they did get after him for at least 2 and a 1/2 quarters but yes, the back end of their D is pretty shoddy.

  • Steel Your Face

    Chris Carter is still looking for his ‘c’mon, man…!’

  • Dubb Betts

    We still terrorize rookie qb’s. Let’s see what he is after Sunday

  • charles

    Think that Eagles have Jim Schwarz as DC. He turned Bills D around first year. Watch out for Eagle D. If D consistently thwarts opposing O, this sets up numbers that Wentz is the beneficiary of…..

  • Michael Martin

    I watched that game. He is fearless and very collected in the pocket against the blitz. Even when facing an impending sack he made multiple nice throws just prior to getting shellacked. That QB run where he got cartwheeled wasn’t even the worst hit he took running the ball. Every time he ran it was helmet first and die-hard. Blitzing him will be a bad decision, he can find the open guy. He will run if we try to rush 3 and give him any kind of lane or allow him to turn the corner. Hoping we rush 4 for the most part and if we do choose to rush three I hope it is Hargrave or Big Dan flanked by Tuitt and Heyward. We haven’t won in Philly in a very, very long time. Time for a change.

  • Michael Martin

    If Cleveland drafted him he would be on IR or life support right now.

  • Reader783

    Let’s also keep in mind that his two solid performances have been against, arguably, the 2 worst teams in the NFL, or certainly 2 bottom 5 teams. I’ve noticed in his games that he does have the guts to stand in the pocket and release before a hit, though.

  • Reader783

    He had probably 70 of those yards on 1 drive where he was covered on 0 plays. Not saying that’s a good defense, but I’m sure if we wanted to stop it, we could have had Shazier play man on him. Seemed like Butler was content to allow the BS dink and dunk stuff down the field. Carson Wentz LOVES the dink and dunk in his first two games, so I hope we change our tune.

  • PittsburghSports

    The Rams are the dumbest franchise in the NFL. Well, beside the Browns.

  • lyke skywalker

    Carson Wentz – meet James Harrison.

    You are welcome.

  • ciscoNoDrink

    Memba the days when the Steelers pass rush would make rookie quarterbacks shake in their cleats? Memba?

  • DoctorNoah

    We are going to crush them. Seriously. This game is going to be the blossoming of our new defense. 4 sacks, 2 INT and a fumble recovery. Carson Wentz QBR will be Sub-60.

    This is not arrogance. The person that scares me most on that team is Nelson Agholor. Or the ghost of Chip Kelly.

    Honestly, I think this is a very winnable game in a not-unfriendly environment, against a rookie QB. Our keys to winning are to develop a pass rush with 3-4 men, stay sound in short, middle-of-field dump off and screen situations, and to be tough in red zone situations, then put it in the hands of an explosive offense that has the potential to basically score at will. Over two games, against playoff caliber opponents, we’ve shown that we can do that, even if we have basically zero sacks to show for it. Ben and AB aren’t going to have numbers that crappy again for three years, excepting an Act of God.

  • Steel.pirate

    I think your giving too much credence to the stat line. The Steelers went into that game deciding to not let AJ Green beat them… I don’t have the All-22, but I am going to guess that on many plays the Steelers had 2 guys boxing AJ green, plus another deep safety. When you play 5 in deep coverage, you end up vulnerable to screens and dump-offs. Both teams short range receivers had a lot of catches and yards as this was the flaw in both teams defensive scheme that day.

    I’m more concerned the Steelers are going to always bring a safety into the box or always have a safety within 10 yards of the line that they will get burned deep versus the Eagles. Wentz/Eagles haven’t shown they can credible complete a 35+ yard pass so its probably the right move from the Steelers… still not without risk.

  • Jason

    You seem too intelligent to put stock into anything that happens in the pre season. I understand what you’re saying and I hope you’re right but it looks like we’re sitting back in “bend but don’t break” mode alot. We’ll have to win 1 on 1 matchups to get to him.

  • Applebite

    May be time to pull out the LeBeau Classics….

  • SilverSteel

    Yeah, so he looks good. But, how are we going to deal with the likes of Brady and win a championship if we can’t get passed a rook from philly? If we are what I think we are, it will be hard fought and we will come away 3-0. This game is hard only because its a road game. If a rook can expose our defense, then we have a lot more work to do. We aint the Bears.

  • Shane Mitchell

    They should blitz not so much to sack him but to set up some read and trap coverage, I can see Big Play Will Gay with a pick six this game from a trap coverage, book it.

  • Kelce’s [grey]Beard, O.G.

    eagles fan here; came looking to do some research, found y’all through the webz.

    that aside – this is truly one of the best articles on Wentz I’ve seen yet, hands down. Well done Dave. If this is the regular quality of content ’round here, you guys are blessed.

    Excited for Sunday

  • The problem with Steeler Nation is we know our team well. We know our coaches, schemes, and tendencies well. Im very proud of this.
    But for some reason I’m not confident we know what Butler and our defense is doing right now. We are assuming we know.
    So I will go out on a limb- I dont think for a second that our pass rush is weak or lacking. I actually think Butler has put alot of planning into his scheme, I think if not this week, soon he is going to unleash hell on turf. If you look closely at how our secondary is morphing. I really think they are waiting for Burns’s game to slow down. When that happens Gay is going to the slot. Davis is moving to safety. We already see what cockrell and Golden are doing (SURPRISE!!) Now, when our 2-3 rookies round out, we are in for an eye opener. I personally am not going to fall for the hype that our defense is nearly as bad as the media is reporting, nor am I going to think the “plan” is to allow 250 -300 passing yards per game. Last year thats all Tomlin talked about. Maybe just maybe, they are letting the stat slide before adjusting it. Dwill and Deebo said something that sticks in my head- “accolades and stats dont matter”. (SUPRISE!!!)

  • Blessed we are my man. This blog has some of the most in depth, accurate, non biased information on the Steelers I have found on the interwebs you speak of. Thanks for stopping over and worst of luck to your team this weekend! Lol jk

  • Yes I Memba

  • If we could have tackled better his stats wouldn’t have been so crazy I don’t think

  • Second stringers playing against second stringers is not a good measure of starting personell

  • Bears have the 9th rank defense, hardly weak.

  • I know we have the better team, but we suck in Philly. Just sayin’. I hope you’re right.