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December 23, 2016

Pederson had 'no hesitation' using Wentz as lead blocker on Agholor reverse

Eagles NFL
122316_Eagles-Wentz-Doug_AP Michael Perez/AP

"Me? Try to get you injured? Geez, Carson, you make it sound like I'm jealous that you're a better quarterback or something..."

If you thought Carson Wentz was being reckless when the rookie quarterback blocked for Nelson Agholor on that double-reverse in the fourth quarter of the Eagles' 24-19 win over the Giants, think again.

He was simply executing the play that was called, according to Doug Pederson.

“He is supposed to block," the first year head coach said on Friday, barely 12 hours removed from picking up his first NFC East win. "Most double reverses, the quarterback is actually [blocking] — him and the tackle, in this case Jason Peters, were both out in front. And he is supposed to block if there’s a guy to block. He actually got the guy on the ground, and actually took out our guy* at the same time.”

*Peters left with an ankle injury but returned shortly after.

It was scary enough for fans to see their franchise QB, the one on whom the team spent so much to acquire in the draft, put in a position where he's meant to hit a defensive player. But that quickly after he was evaluated for a concussion, like Wentz was late in the third quarter? 

Now that just seems foolish. 

Pederson, however, said he didn't give it a second thought. Largely because, at least to him, once Wentz cleared the concussion protocol, it was as if the Olivier Vernon hit that knocked Wentz out of the game never happened.

“No, I didn’t [hesitate calling that play]," he said. "Listen, there was no — I mean, he was cleared [by doctors], he went in, he came out. How many guys run into a concussion deal with a banged-up head injury? He ran in. He ran out."

It's true; Wentz jogged off the field, but only after having a few minutes to get himself right. He admitted being dizzy after the hit and quite frankly looked like he could barely stand. He even needed some help from Peters, who told him he needed to get off the field.


"I was obviously a little dizzy there and [Peters] was just helping me," Wentz said. "He was like, 'You need to go to the sideline, bud.'"

That wasn't enough to deter Pederson.

"We talked on the sideline and we talked before the play, before the series, and he was good," he said. "And he was cleared, so I had no hesitation.”

When it comes to Wentz, that feeling is apparently mutual.

“If there was anyone out in front there, I was going to go pick up a block," he said following Thursday night's win. "When I was cleared [from concussion protocol], I was ready to go. It didn’t really affect me and it didn’t affect my decision making in doing that. Once you are cleared, you’re good to go.”

Still, wouldn't it be wise for the Eagles to avoid risking further injury in a game that didn't mean much for them, save for their pride? The more times you put Wentz in those situations, the more opportunities there are for him to get hurt.

“I don’t know," Pederson added. "We can speculate all day, I guess. You know, obviously our goal in everything we do is to try to win a football game. And I think the second you sort of hesitate in any situation is the time you get beat. 

"Again, I had no hesitation on making that play and putting him in that situation.”

That makes one of us, Doug. Two, if you count Carson.

Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin