Carson Wentz set a new career-high last week when he galloped into the end zone from 11 yards out for his third rushing touchdown. The Eagles quarterback belted his chest forward and awkwardly spiked the ball. The celebration dance self-admittedly needs some work.
“I got to work on the touchdown celebration, though,” Wentz said. “Those are always pretty lame. I gotta work on those.”
The move looked more like a deep sigh of relief than a choreographed celebration dance. He’ll get better and so will the Eagles as they look to make it two in a row this week against a blitz-happy Steelers’ defense. Wentz should be on the run again, looking to improvise and make big plays with his legs.
— NFL (@NFL) October 5, 2020
“It puts a lot of strain and stress on the defense,” Wentz said of running, “but it’s not something I go looking for. It’s not something we gameplan a whole lot for but we all know it can happen and receivers do a great job of staying alive and looking for the big play, the conversion when things do break down.”
In addition to his three rushing scores in 2020, Wentz has rushed for 10 first downs. He’s become unstoppable at moving the pile on third-and-short or fourth-and-inches. The nimble kid from North Dakota has gained 111 yards on 19 carries (5.8 per touch).
“Using my legs always just comes down to instincts,” Wentz said. “It’s rarely — every now and then it’s gameplan — but a lot of times it’s the pocket breaks down or the defense is playing the coverage well or something.”
Coach Doug likes using @cj_wentz in the run game because he is "big and strong and powerful, so why not use him?" to help the running game. He's had 10 first downs gained in the running game the last two weeks. Keep it going!#FlyEaglesFly
— Dave Spadaro (@EaglesInsider) October 7, 2020
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‘It’s Been Part of Who Carson Is’
There was no specific conversation about running more with Wentz, it just happened. And will continue to happen. Organically. Remember, the Eagles quarterback has 896 career rushing yards and six touchdowns in five NFL seasons.
“I don’t recall necessarily a conversation about it, I think it’s been a part of who Carson is,” head coach Doug Pederson told reporters. “We’ve encouraged him to use his legs, especially on passing situations when things break down. He’s really good at it, he breaks tackles, he gets out of it, he’s extended plays and he’s been successful.”
— Philadelphia Inquirer Sports (@phillysport) September 27, 2020
Pederson agreed that getting Wentz going on the ground sometimes can lead to finding a rhythm on offense. However, he cautioned against it boosting the passing game and reminded everyone that it’s a fine balance. You don’t want to “gas him out” or tire his legs out.
“I think it can only help him, whether it translates into the passing game I’m not sure,” Pederson said. “You need your legs to throw the ball as well and we don’t want to gas him out by using his legs all the time.”
Wentz Comments on Viral Shove-Block
Eagles fans let out a collective breath after the Eagles split Wentz out wide as a receiver last week. Exposing the franchise signal-caller on a gadget-play, with backup Jalen Hurts under center, was a calculated risk. Borderline unnecessary.
Pederson said he would never put Wentz in danger, but he didn’t account for his quarterback mixing it up with 49ers cornerback Donte Johnson. The two were blocking hard and hand-checking, then Wentz shoved him at the end of the play. What was that all about?
“Every time I’m asked to do something different out there, I never knew if the ball was going to come my way, so I was giving my all and blocking my tail off on that one,” Wentz said. “As far as the extra shove, there was no whistle, so I was just blocking to the whistle. That’s what you’re taught even when you’re in little kid football, you play to the whistle and that’s what I was doing.”
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) October 5, 2020
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