Ped­er­son try­ing to limit Wentz’s throws

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Jack McCaf­fery jm­c­caf­fery@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @Jack­McCaf­fery on Twit­ter

PHILADEL­PHIA >> A newer-age base­ball pol­icy soon may be ap­plied to Ea­gles’ quar­ter­back Car­son Wentz. Seems Doug Ped­er­son would pre­fer to put his rookie quar­ter­back on some­thing of a pitch count.

A day af­ter a 21-10 vic­tory over the Min­nesota Vik­ings, the Birds’ coach vol­un­teered his idea in a dis­cus­sion about his run­ning game. Sun­day, the Birds ex­e­cuted 26 run­ning plays and at­tempted 28 passes, a bal­ance that Ped­er­son thinks will work best for Wentz.

“I prob­a­bly lean more to­wards not want­ing Car­son to throw the ball 35 times in a game or 40 times in a game,” the head coach said, in his reg­u­lar No­vaCare Com­plex press con­fer­ence. “So I prob­a­bly man­age that one a lit­tle bit more than I do the run. I would lean more to­wards run­ning the ball prob­a­bly with the run­ners that we have.”

Sun­day, Ryan Mathews had 14 car­ries for 56 yards. Dar­ren Spro­les (three car­ries), Wen­dell Small­wood (four) and Wentz (five) also ran the ball for a com­bined to­tal of 101 yards.

“I don’t nec­es­sar­ily get into ‘Ryan has to have X amount of touches or Dar­ren has to get X amount of touches,’” Ped­er­son said. “I think by a com­mit­tee, and col­lec­tively, they do a good job. We’ve been around that 100-yard mark each week so far and it’s been ef­fi­cient.

“We weren’t as ef­fi­cient nec­es­sar­ily run­ning the ball for yards-per-at­tempt, but against a good de­fense we were still able to do some good things in the run game. We’re go­ing to con­tinue to do it. There are cer­tain runs for cer­tain run­ning backs that we put in the game, but over­all, it’s go­ing to be sort of a run­ning back by com­mit­tee de­sign.”

The larger or busier that com­mit­tee, the less rea­son there will be for Wentz to throw passes. In his first pro game, Wentz threw 37 passes against the Cleve­land Browns, then at­tempted 34 against Chicago, 31 against Pitts­burgh and 33 against De­troit.

But two weeks ago, Wentz threw just 22 passes against the Red­skins. He was 16-for28 against the Vikes for 138 yards and a touch­down.

That is more than a trend. It’s a bud­ding pol­icy that Ped­er­son ac­knowl­edges is con­nected to his quar­ter­back’s rookie sta­tus.

“It’s a lit­tle of both,” he said. “At this level, you say, ‘First of all, can he do that?’ Yeah, he can do that and we’re prob­a­bly go­ing to have to do that at some point this sea­son, to throw the ball to win the game. I just feel like if we’re not be­ing real ef­fi­cient on first and sec­ond down, run­ning the ball or with play-ac­tion passes, then you can ex­pose your quar­ter­back to more hits than you need to.”

Sam Brad­ford at­tempted 41 passes Sun­day and was jolted 19 times. Six times, he was sacked. Twice, he fum­bled.

Ped­er­son does not want Wentz un­der that pres­sure … at least not so early in his ca­reer.

“Right now, we’re try­ing to build his con­fi­dence each and every week,” he said. “And I thought our guys did an out­stand­ing job of not al­low­ing a sack against a team that had 19 com­ing in. They pro­tected him, kept him clean. And it just gives him con­fi­dence now and gives our whole unit con­fi­dence mov­ing for­ward.”

Un­der Chip Kelly last sea­son, Brad­ford and Mark Sanchez com­bined to av­er­age 39 passes per game. Through six games, Wentz is av­er­ag­ing just un­der 31 pass at­tempts. Though Wentz was in­ter­cepted once and fum­bled twice, that min­i­mized ex­po­sure to de­fend­ers, his coach be­lieves, has value.

“Com­ing away from the game, even with the four turnovers and the neg­a­tive plays that we had,” Ped­er­son said, “we still had the abil­ity to win that foot­ball game.”


A sight from Sun­day’s win over the Vik­ings that Doug Ped­er­son would like to see more of in the fu­ture: Ea­gles quar­ter­back Car­son Wentz hand­ing the ball off to a run­ning back, in this case, Dar­ren Spro­les. Ped­er­son said Mon­day he hopes to not ask Wentz to throw too many times in a sin­gle game.

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