Wentz ready to en­ter Lions’ den

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Bob Grotz bgrotz@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @BobGrotz on Twit­ter

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.”

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