Wentz looks healthy, Ped­er­son isn’t sur­prised

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - SPORTS - By Jack McCaf­fery jm­c­caf­fery@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Jack­McCaf­fery on Twit­ter

PHILADEL­PHIA >> In Week 6 of the sea­son, in a crit­i­cal NFC East spot, on na­tional TV, on the road, in the rain, Car­son Wentz gave the Ea­gles ev­ery­thing they needed.

He’s healthy. He’s him­self again. He’s back.

And Doug Ped­er­son never ex­pected any­thing else.

“You knew just by watch­ing him re­hab, watch­ing him work out on the field and his de­ter­mi­na­tion to get back on the foot­ball field,” Ped­er­son said Fri­day, at his day-af­ter news con­fer­ence at the No­vaCare Com­plex. “He had a lot of strength in his lower body. You kind of no­tice the lower body through the up­per body by the way he’s throw­ing the foot­ball. And we felt that his lower body was solid.”

In a 34-13 vic­tory over the New York Giants, Wentz com­pleted 26 of 36 passes for 278 yards and three touch­downs. At 122.2, his passer rat­ing was in vivid con­trast to the 66.1 tossed up by Eli Man­ning, once the cream of NFC East quar­ter­backs.

His last sea­son punc­tured by a knee in­jury that cost him the en­tire off­sea­son and pre­sea­son, Wentz had his best game of the sea­son, even if he re­jected the idea that he’d car­ried the Ea­gles to the vic­tory.

“No, not at all,” he said. “I feel like we’re such a bal­anced of­fense. We’ve got great guys up front. We have run block­ers that can open some lanes and the right backs to do their jobs. So I never feel like I’ve got to take it on my back, so to speak.

“I just spread the ball out and get these guys touches how­ever we can. And Coach does a great job of de­sign­ing the game­plan each week. So it was a re­ally good team win tonight.”

The Ea­gles had a few of those dur­ing Wentz’s re­hab, in­clud­ing one in an ex­trav­a­ganza pro­moted with Ro­man nu­mer­als. But un­til he could reg­u­larly show the abil­ity to mount an­other MVP cam­paign, the Ea­gles would not be thought to be whole.

Though his rain-damp­ened sta­tis­ti­cal pro­duc­tion in MetLife Sta­dium will not likely leave him with any Player of the Week re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, Wentz was strong enough Thurs­day to al­low the Ea­gles to en­joy a less stress­ful long week­end. More than once, he evaded a New York rush with his mys­ti­cal abil­ity to avoid contact, and made a crit­i­cal pass, in­clud­ing one in the first quar­ter to Al­shon Jef­fery for a touch­down.

“That’s why he is who he is,” Nel­son Agholor ob­served. “And as a wide re­ceiver, you re­ally embrace that. You keep work­ing. Think about it: The touch­down to Al­shon, that was in a scram­ble drill. He just does that and we just try to play heads-up foot­ball and we try to give him a win­dow so he can tar­get us.”

••• De­spite a high an­kle sprain, Lane John­son started, though he did not fin­ish, the game Thurs­day night.

“Any time you have an in­jury like that, it can af­fect you,” Ped­er­son said. “But I’ll tell you what: Lane bat­tled through it. Tough, tough kid. And it’s a trib­ute to him, a credit to him, where he wants to be great. Great play­ers can play through pain and in­jury, and he was one of them. He bat­tled through.”

Said Wentz: “Lane’s a war­rior, though. He’s go­ing to give it ev­ery­thing he’s got. It was great to have him out there.”

••• Ja­son Peters left the Giants game in the sec­ond half with a bi­ceps in­jury. Ped­er­son does not ap­pear ready to panic.

“We’re still gath­er­ing a few more tests,” Ped­er­son said. “I don’t want to spec­u­late too much, but the early in­di­ca­tion is pos­i­tive. We’ll see. We’ve just got to make sure we have all the in­for­ma­tion.”

••• Sid­ney Jones left early with a ham­string is­sue.

“He’s an­other one that we’re go­ing to con­tinue to eval­u­ate,” Ped­er­son said. “It is prob­a­bly more of a weekto-week ba­sis for him right now with the ham­string.”

With Jones iffy, Ped­er­son ac­knowl­edged that the Birds may look for some slot-cor­ner help.

“It’s some­thing we’re go­ing to take a look at in the next cou­ple of days,” Ped­er­son said. “Ra­sul (Dou­glas) is ca­pa­ble. We’ve seen that. We also have guys we can be­gin to coach up with the time we have.”


Ea­gles quar­ter­back Car­son Wentz, left, shakes hands with Giants quar­ter­back Eli Man­ning af­ter the Birds blew out New York Thurs­day night at MetLife Sta­dium.

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