Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz got off to a strong start in his rookie season under first-year head coach Doug Pederson but struggled during the second half of the season, amassing a 1-7 record from Week 8 to Week 15.
The Eagles’ 2016 first-round pick completed 62.4 percent of his passes for 3,782 yards and threw 16 touchdowns to 14 interceptions, but feels more comfortable entering his second season under offensive coordinator Frank Reich.
“Way more comfortable,” Wentz said to Peter King of MMQB. “It’s OTAs, I know. But things have slowed down. I’m not thinking about everything anymore—last year I was. Now I can feel the important things early in the play—where’s my answer, what are my options, what will work? It’s a different game when you can dial it down and feel you know what’s important to look for, and you’re not looking at every little thing out there. I mean, cover 2 is cover 2.”
The Eagles have made sure to surround the 6-foot-5, 237-pound quarterback with plenty of weapons, signing wide receivers Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith and running back LeGarrette Blount this offseason.
“I never found myself pressing last year, and I won’t this year,’’ Wentz said. “Losing bugs me. But I’m a very optimistic person. I continue to refine what I do. I’m loving working with these new guys. The attitude here is very good, very positive. Going into this year, I’m really happy where we’re at.”
The Eagles finished the 2016 season with a 7-9 record after starting the year 3-0, but ownership and fans are hoping the team’s second year under Pederson plus multiple new weapons will lead to a more successful year in 2017.
One of the Eagles’ offseason acquisitions already has the attention of running backs coach Duce Staley, as Blount’s power and size has already impressed the Eagles former running back.
“He brings that power,” Staley said Monday, via Pennlive.com. “He’s a big human being … and he’s coming downhill. That’s something we haven’t had here in a long time.”
The Eagles’ 6-foot, 250-pound running back led the league with 18 rushing touchdowns in 2016, and is sure to take some of the load off Philadelphia’s second-year quarterback, especially near the goal-line.