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June 11, 2017

A look at Carson Wentz's 14 interceptions in 2016

Eagles NFL

Someone by the name of "Jeff M" (via Eagles reddit) put together a coaches film video of Carson Wentz's 14 interceptions last season. Thanks for doing the legwork, bud. Anyway, it's an interesting look and something of a microcosm of where Wentz needs to improve as a passer.

To note, Wentz threw 607 passes last season. The following video shows only 14 of those. That would be 2.3 percent of his passes. For context, over his career, Donovan McNabb was eighth all-time in INT percentage, and he threw interceptions on 2.2 percent of his passes. In other words, this is not a time to crack each others' heads open and feast on the goo inside.

INT #1, Eagles vs. Lions: Bad throw. Wentz's throw is too far outside, and he gets no help from Nelson Agholor, who fails to ensure that if he can't catch it, nobody will.

INT #2, Eagles vs. Vikings: Bad throw, bad decision. This probably could have been called pass interference on Eric Kendricks, who hooks Brent Celek's hip, but the throw is still off target to a receiver who wasn't open.

INT #3, Eagles vs. Vikings: Bad decision. Wentz does a nice job of buying time by stepping up in the pocket, but then makes an odd decision to throw in a whole mess of Vikings bodies.

INT #4, Eagles vs. Giants: Bad throw, bad decision. Wentz escapes the pocket, and probably should have just thrown this ball away to live another day. Instead, he sails it over the head of Agholor, who would have gotten lit up had the throw been accurate.

INT #5, Eagles vs. Giants: Bad throw. I'm OK with the aggressive window throw here, but Wentz simply sailed it way over the head of a 6'5 receiver.

INT #6, Eagles vs. Seahawks: Bad recognition. It appears that Wentz never saw Kam Chancellor, who gladly accepts the gift INT.

INT #7, Eagles vs. Seahawks: Bad receivers. This is a three-man route, and the Seahawks still get pressure. With nothing open and not in a position to throw the ball away, Wentz launches a deep ball to a borderline roster-worthy player who is working against the best corner of the last decade. As you might expect, it does not go well. Going forward, this is a throw you don't mind Wentz attempting if it's Alshon Jeffery 50 yards down the field instead of Bryce Treggs.

INT #8, Eagles vs. Packers: Bad throw. Once again, Wentz sails the ball, this time over the head of Zach Ertz.

INT #9, Eagles vs. Bengals: Bad protection. Playing RT, Allen Barbre gets beaten by Carlos Dunlap, who is able to get a hand on Wentz's arm as he's throwing, leading to an easy pick.

INT #10, Eagles vs. Bengals: Bad throw. Wentz sails another one over Ertz's head.

INT #11, Eagles vs. Bengals: Bad awareness. Wentz doesn't see Vontaze Burfict jump into the passing lane at the line of scrimmage, though it's hard to put too much blame on him here. Burfict simply makes a great play.

INT #12, Eagles vs. Redskins: I'm not certain what to blame here. When you get a 6'0, 195-pound safety on your 6'5, 250-pound tight end in the slot, it should be money in the bank. Here, Deshazor Everett seems to be more ready for the ball than Ertz. This may have also been a bad throw, though I'm not certain of that since it's not exactly the best route, which is normally a strength of Ertz's. Whatever the case, this is matchup that should result in a touchdown more often that not if you're a good offense.

INT #13, Eagles vs. Ravens: Bad awareness. Facing pressure, Wentz throws it directly to the linebacker.

INT #14, Eagles vs. Giants: Bad receivers. When you watch guys like Aaron Rodgers and Tony Romo extend plays for more than six seconds, you often see them convert those into huge plays. How many times last year did we see Wentz extend the play, only for his receivers to remain covered for an absurd amount of time? 

On this play, Bryce Treggs shakes free momentarily, but Wentz is still trying to elude a pass rusher. By the time Wentz gets free to throw, the window to throw to Treggs has closed some as the defensive back is just hovering behind the play. When Wentz throws, Treggs does not help out by coming back toward the football. He waits for it to come to him, allowing the DB to jump in front for the pick.

Summary: The occasional bad decisions and bad awareness aren't very troubling, in my view. Those things are going to happen to a quarterback coming from a lower level of college football when you ask him to throw more than 600 times in his rookie season. However, as we all kind of know by now, when Wentz misses on his throws, more often than not he misses high, resulting in gift picks for safeties. 

The bad decisions and the bad awareness will likely occur with less frequency as Wentz gains more experience, but the mechanical issues that lead to sailed passes could be a more difficult fix.


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