Wentz looks healthy, Pederson isn’t surprised
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.