Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz looks like an old pro through two games of his rookie season, but there’s one thing he needs to learn: He’s not going to last in the NFL if he doesn’t get better at avoiding hits.
The Eagles’ coaching staff has made a point this week of reminding Wentz that he needs to slide or run out of bounds rather than fighting for every last yard, noting that he took a couple unnecessary shots in Monday night’s win over the Bears.
“There’s a couple hits he shouldn’t have taken,” offensive coordinator Frank Reich said, via ESPN. “Those ones on the sideline. You just can’t do that. And he knows that. Coach, we’ve all talked to him about that. You just can’t do that.”
Wentz said he’s aware it’s something he needs to work on, after coming up in a college system at North Dakota State where there was less of an emphasis on protecting himself and more of an emphasis on picking up extra yardage with his legs.
“You know, in college, we ran the ball. I had designed runs. So you kind of go into running back mode. And here it’s not so much the case. So I’m still learning how to protect myself,” he said. “I don’t want to take those hits by any means. I’m still learning, and I can tell myself over and over again but it’s one of those things, when you’re in the heat of battle, I almost have to keep reprogramming myself.”
Reprogramming himself may not be easy for Wentz to do, but it’s necessary. He’s far too important to the Eagles to put his body at risk while fighting for an extra yard.