Wentz ready to enter Lions’ den
PHILADELPHIA >> The bye was a blast for Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, who chronicled it on Twitter with a photo of the prize he nailed.
Garbed in camouflage, Wentz posed with the firstever buck he brought down with a crossbow.
That was the highlight of the NFL Rookie of the Month’s bye week.
“Definitely getting out there, my brother with me, and getting that buck with the bow,” Wentz said after practice Wednesday. “It was just a lot of fun. Doing that and seeing some family and friends, that’s always huge. So that was a lot of fun. Now it’s one of those things where it’s 13 straight weeks … and hopefully more. And we’re ready to go.”
Wentz was ready to get back to work before the bye ended. There’s only so much family, friends and North Dakota State football games he can take.
“I was kind of chomping at the bit to get back here,” Wentz said. “I was ready to go. For me, once I’m here and we’re in football mode it’s real easy for me to be locked in.”
The Eagles oppose the Lions this Sunday at Ford Field. Detroit has a decent pass rush led by Kerry Hyder, who with 5 sacks is second in the league.
“They’re a good D,” Wentz said. “They like to fly around. We’ll be in their building. They’ll be playing fast. It will be a loud environment. So we know they present some challenges and play fast. We’ve just got to execute.”
Rest assured Wentz will have a plan to avoid Hyder and the other Lions who pose a danger.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson marveled at the way Wentz protected himself against the physical Steelers, the result of studying video of techniques used by other quarterbacks.
Wentz has a couple of favorites.
“I think Russell Wilson does a really good job of protecting himself,” Wentz said. “Obviously he makes plays with his feet. Cam Newton takes some shots here and there but I thought last year he was a guy that I always thought, he did a good job with all the designed quarterback runs of just protecting himself and taking the shots very sparingly.”
Pederson hinted that Wentz could be running more later in the season, designed or otherwise, depending on how the Eagles do.
Wentz is OK with whatever the boss decides.
“It kind of is what it is,” Wentz said. “So far I can’t complain about the playcalling. I think it’s been tremendous. He’s done a really good job of putting us in good situations to make plays and I trust that he will the rest of the year as well.”
••• The good news is all of the Eagles are healthy and that Pederson anticipates Lane Johnson, who has appealed a suspension for the use of PEDs, playing Sunday.
If Johnson is suspended, Pederson said he might roll with rookie Hal Vaitai (6-6, 315) at right tackle as opposed to moving left guard Allen Barbre to the position and starting Stefen Wisniewski at guard.
Pederson said the Eagles are considering “Big V” as an option after watching him in the preseason and during practices the last couple weeks.
“You want to exhaust all the possibilities,” Pederson said. “Allen Barbre has been playing great at left guard and if you don’t have to disrupt two positions and just do one, there’s some conversation there. But (Vaitai) is definitely in the mix.”
••• The Eagles hit the practice field to a symphony of KISS hits. KISS? It’s Detroit week. “I think it’s kind of fun when you hear the music from all the places we’re going to go,” tight end Zach Ertz said. “When we play the California teams they have a lot of California rap on there. It’s fun. I think it keeps the team light. Especially at warm-ups because guys are always a little slow getting out to practice.”
Ertz had a big game in the opener, but a displaced rib sidelined him in the next two games. He’s eager to get back to work this week as the Eagles test drive the three tight end offense.
It’s a moment Wentz has been waiting for.
“That’s huge, having Ertz back,” Wentz said. “You guys know how he makes plays and can get open. Trey (Burton) did a tremendous job stepping up for him and (Brent) Celek, he’s been the same guy now for 8 or 9 years now. Having all three of those guys being able to make plays and all the things they bring to the table, that’s huge for us.”
••• Safety Malcolm Jenkins still is impressed with Wentz’s temperament and approach to his job.
Wentz was back to work at 5:30 a.m. to get ready for the Lions.
“So far he’s shown no signs of change,” Jenkins said. “He’s still going about his work like a professional. He’s still working on the little things. So I don’t see him falling for everybody jumping on the Wentz Wagon.”