‘Mind Can Play Tricks on You’: Carson Wentz Talks Eagles Offense, Confidence

Carson Wentz Zach Ertz

Getty Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz and TE Zach Ertz

The Kinks warned us that paranoia will “destroy ya” in 1981. While the British rock band knew little about playing quarterback in the NFL, the line can be applied to Carson Wentz’s rocky 2020 campaign. The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback has to avoid getting mired in his past mistakes because staying confident is the only way to improve.

Wentz is dealing with another week of calls to be benched after the Eagles’ offense sputtered in Week 12. This time it wasn’t all his fault, but the face of the franchise took the blame and talked about learning from his errors on Wednesday. Wentz can’t let the paranoia set in, blocking it out and trusting the guys around him has been his “press forward” mantra.

“No matter what sport you’re playing, it’s on to the next,” Wentz told reporters. “You got to stay confident, stay positive. Because it’s easy — your mind can play tricks on you, tell you one thing or you lose some confidence or whatever — but you got to be always pressing forward.”

His wide receivers and tight ends have done him no favors in recent weeks by struggling to get separation and sometimes running the wrong routes. Dallas Goedert’s missteps last week led to an interception, further proving the skill players aren’t on the same page as Wentz.

“I know I got to do a better job,” Wentz said. “Making sure we’re on the same page, throughout a given week. Whether it’s in practice or watching film, talking to them, I got to make sure we’re on the same page. And, at the end of the day, I got to make sure I trust everybody and I do trust everybody. The second you play indecisive, whether I’m indecisive or they’re indecisive, that’s when bad plays happen.”

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Rolling Out of Pocket, Escaping ‘Edge Pressures’

One of the major complaints levied at the Eagles’ offense this year has been the inability to roll Wentz out of the pocket. He has been deceptively dangerous when throwing on the run throughout his career, especially when plays break down and he keeps his eyes down the field. But the coaching staff (read: Doug Pederson) hasn’t designed a ton of roll-outs for him, something he needs to do more of.

“Probably the No. 1 thing is just me calling it more, honestly,” said Pederson.

According to Wentz, it hasn’t been for lack of effort.

“They did have some plays called, unfortunate play-calls into some tough looks,” Wentz said of the Seattle Seahawks game, “and that’s something we are always watching for each week. And so it’s always part of the plan, the rollouts, the nakeds, the bootlegs, all that stuff.”

Those situations are largely dictated by the flow of the game, never forced or demanded by the quarterback.

“For starters, we got to be running the ball first for those things to be effective,” Wentz said. “I know going forward, moving the pocket and all that stuff, is always going to be a part of what we do and then within the flow of every game and some weeks it’s going to be used more and other weeks it’s not.”

Getting Zach Ertz Back Should Spark Offense

The Eagles activated Zach Ertz from injured reserve on Tuesday and the Pro Bowl tight end is expected to play on Sunday. He practiced in a limited capacity last week but his bum ankle wasn’t quite good enough to get in the game. Now Ertz is back and his mere presence should bolster the offense, particularly with Goedert in 12 Personnel.

“I think it can, for sure,” Wentz said. “We’re hoping he’s ready to go, time will tell here, but just knowing what he can bring to the offense whether we’re in 12 and putting him and Dallas on the field at the same time, great to create mismatches and do a lot of different things.”

Ertz has 24 catches for 178 yards (45 targets) in six games, a down year by his high standards. However, the chemistry and reps he has banked with Wentz should immediately impact the mood of the huddle.

“I think that will be a nice spark for this offense and hopefully he’ll be ready to go,” Wentz said. “He’s a guy I have built up a lot of trust and confidence in over the years.”