Carson Wentz Denies Recovery Issues
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The numbers have been solid but the team success has not followed just yet and that has many picking apart Carson Wentz's recovery from the torn ACL/LCL that derailed what was turning into an MVP-level performance in 2017.
Through nine games Wentz's completion percentage has skyrocketed -- from 60.2 percent last season to 69.7 -- and his yards-per-attempt have also increased from 7.5 to 7.7, while the passer rating has stayed relatively static from last year's 101.9 to 100.8 this time around.
If there has been one change it's been with using the legs as Wentz ran it 64 times in 13 games last season for 299 yards and was lights out on QB sneaks. This season Wentz has run it just 26 times for 100 yards and coach Doug Pederson rarely checks off the sneak on his play sheet, likely a concession to the fact it takes a full 12 months to get back from the type of surgery Wentz had performed on Dec. 13 of last year.
Pederson denies that, of course, but the optics are as clear as day.
"He just hasn't had as many opportunities yet this year," the head coach claimed on Thursday.
Last season Wentz has his best rushing game against the Redskins, toting it eight times for 63 yards during a 34-24 win. With Washington on the schedule again this week that brought the one part of Wentz's game that has been a work in progress en route back from the injury off the backburner.
"If there are opportunities to take off and get a first down, protect yourself, slide, then we need that to stay on the field. I think that's one area that we can, on third down, particularly, to make sure we do stay on the field, is utilizing his ability to run," Pederson said.
What the coach would not pay any lip service to was an NFL Network report over the weekend claiming that a mechanical flaw is related to the injury.
"What [Wentz] has done has been impressive, but it does take a full year at the least to come fully back," Ian Rapoport said, repeating a timetable that has been reported ad nauseam. "I talked to a source with direct knowledge of his rehab and he said Wentz is not planting hard on his left foot. Baby steps, but he appears tentative with his left foot as he steps into his throws and as he scrambles."
When Pederson was asked about that report the coach brushed it off with a "haven't seen it.
Wentz, meanwhile, denied there have been any issues with confidence and planting on his surgically-repaired leg.
"I heard about that [report] and I don't know where it came from to be honest," the QB said. "I feel good. ... I have analyzed my mechanics from really all the way throughout this injury and I've never felt that is an issue at all and I feel really good with where I'm at."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen