Broncos-Eagles: Joseph is Wary of Wentz
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — Vance Joseph has a difficult job this week.
Not only does the first-year head coach have to take the shrink wrap off the "football rehabilitation" of Brock Osweiler, he's also got to find a way to stop Carson Wentz and the best team in the NFL, the 7-1 Eagles.
The Broncos have dropped three straight games in the competitive AFC West and stopping the skid at Lincoln Financial Field will mean Joseph's highly-regarded defense, led by edge rusher Von Miller and a pair of superlative cornerbacks in Aqib Talib and Chris Harris, will have at least slowed down Wentz, the reigning NFC Offensive Player of the Month and a legitimate candidate for league MVP at the season's midway point.
Speaking to the Philadelphia-area media during a conference call on Wednesday, Joseph continued what is becoming a trend, an opposing coach gushing over the skills of the Eagles' second-year quarterback.
“Boy, he’s impressive,” Joseph said. “He’s a big guy with poise, he has a great arm."
Wentz is a lot to put on the plate of any defense but Denver is more equipped than most to handle him, ranking No. 1 in the NFL by allowing just 261 yards per game. The Broncos' D is also balanced in that its strong defending the run (No. 2 overall) and the pass (No. 6)
Joseph, though, is concerned with Wentz's mobility, both from a design standpoint and from an unscripted perspective when the signal caller is able to extend plays with his size, strength and athleticism.
"I’ll tell you what, he can run with the football," Joseph said. "He can escape the pocket, he’s strong, he’s got Cam Newton tendencies. He plays so fast on the perimeter, with the boot game and the scramble game, but also he’s been really, really, really smart with the football."
And that's what has really captured Joseph's eye because the main reason he has to make a QB change is the fact that Trevor Siemian has just not taken care of the football as evidenced by Denver's awful minus-11 turnover ratio, 31st in the NFL. Conversely Philadelphia is plus-5, sixth in the league.
“He’s not turning the football over," Joseph observed. "So for a young quarterback to play with that much poise and that much courage in the pocket and not turn the football over, man, that’s a gem right there. That’s special.”
973espn.com Prediction: Eagles 21, Broncos 13 (2017 Prediction Record: 6-2, vs. spread 4-4)
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen