The Eagles didn’t come into the season planning to turn Carson Wentz into a running quarterback.
But in the absence of better alternatives, they’re willing to let him take off from time to time.
With his skill position help decimated by injuries, Wentz has been able to create plays with his feet in recent weeks. He ran just three times in the first two games, but has 16 carries for 102 yards and two touchdowns over the last two.
“I don’t recall necessarily a conversation about it. I think it’s been a part of who Carson is,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said, via E.J. Smith of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We’ve encouraged him to use his legs, especially on passing situations when things break down. He’s really good at it. He breaks tackles. He gets out of it. He’s extended plays, and he’s been successful. We still have to be smart in the run game and some of the things that we do with him. But it’s a little bit of a conscious effort to get him more involved in the run game as a runner because he is big, strong, and powerful. Why not utilize that when we can?”
Wentz is actually averaging as many yards per attempt running as passing (5.8), which is actually more of a statement about his struggles with inaccuracy and their lack of healthy receiving targets. So if he can take off running on third down, he may have a better chance of converting on his feet (10 times the last two games).
“I think it can get us, as an offense, in a groove,” Wentz said. “Sometimes it’s third-and-5, and we’re able to convert, and it just puts a lot of strain and stress on the defense. But, you know, it’s not something that I go looking for. It’s not something we game plan a whole lot for. But we all know it can happen.”
With the Eagles struggling for any kind of groove they can find offensively, they’ll take it, even if they didn’t plan on it or hope it becomes a regular thing.