Wentz Puts His Worst Week Behind Him
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Much of Philadelphia is hoping that last weekend's 48-7 setback in New Orleans was an outlier and not indicative of an organization collectively tapping out under the weight of expectations and injuries.
For Carson Wentz, the on-field leader of the Eagles, it was his worst performance as a professional: no touchdowns passes, three interceptions and a passer rating at 31.9, the worst in his 37 games at the helm of Philadelphia's offense.
"It's just the way this league is," Wentz explained. "There's going to be good weeks, there's going to be bad weeks. There's going to be some in between. You never want to be on the emotional roller coaster. You want to stay the same."
To that end, Wentz plans to move forward as he always does and not try to get out of a routine that has produced far more highs than lows.
"Nothing about this week is changing just because of the result of last week," Wentz insisted in advance of Sunday's key divisional game against the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field. "How I performed, how we performed as a team, we're still going to go out and practice the same, I'm still going to prepare mentally all the same."
With the snowball running downhill in New Orleans Wentz seemed to start forcing the issue although the QB denied what seemed obvious to others.
“I didn’t feel like I was pressing,” Wentz insisted. “I know late in the game when we were down by what we were, we are just trying to make plays, trying to put up points. You can call that pressing, but really we are just trying to make plays, trying to fight. That led to a couple of turnovers. Those are things you have to clean up, be smart about when you force those. But I never felt like I was pressing in the game.”
Semantics aside the Eagles remain very confident in Wentz's ability to right the ship.
"I can tell you this: We got a lot of confidence in Carson and his ability to throw the ball," offensive coordinator Mike Groh said.
Both Groh and coach Doug Pederson are former QBs and understand the mentality of trying to make a play to lift those around you.
"It's unfortunate because [Wentz] prides himself in really embracing that and kind of taking this team on his shoulders and leading by example on and off the football field," Pederson said. "It just didn't happen [against the Saints], and so he's disappointed, obviously frustrated, as we all are."
And the best path forward after that performance is to put in the rear-view mirror and concentrate on what's ahead.
"Last week was last week," Wentz said. "That's behind us. Personally, as a team, that doesn't represent who we are or how we play this game. We're all just looking forward to this next opportunity."
That's the suddenly resurgent Giants and the expectations remain as lofty as ever.
"I feel a lot of expectations on myself, and I hold myself to high expectations," Wentz said. "And what we put out last week, what I put out last week, was not good enough. It's definitely not good enough. I don't want to put undue pressure or added pressure on my shoulders. I try to not avoid those things, but as the quarterback and one of the leaders of this team, I realize I definitely got to be better to get this thing going."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen