Philadelphia Eagles News

Game Vs. Browns: Eagles Offense

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The following quotes were compiled after the Eagle's 29-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns ...

QB Carson Wentz

On how nervous he was today:

WENTZ: I wasn't really nervous. I really don't get nervous. I like to listen to worship music before the game to kind of calm my nerves. I just go out and have fun. It's a game and I try to enjoy it. I had a lot of fun today and the turnout was good.

On Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson talking to him before the game to calm his nerves and if he got the sense that Pederson was nervous:

WENTZ: I did not, no. He seemed ready to go. Locked in. I thought he called a great game. I thought we did some really good things offensively. It was fun out there.

On what the first drive of the game did for him:

WENTZ: It was huge. It gave me a lot of confidence. Going down, moving the ball, getting that 20-yard touchdown or whatever it was right away, right off the bat, was huge for my confidence and was huge for this team's confidence. I know the people here were rocking, so it was a lot of fun and was a great start to the year.

On what he saw pre-snap before the first drive of the game:

"It was just man coverage across the board. I knew Jordan [Matthews] – all week we'd been repping that – I knew he would get a good release and beat his guy. And that's what he did and I just threw it out there and gave him a chance and he made a heck of a play."

On the play later in the game with Matthews where he started under center and dropped back in the shotgun and found him for 28 yards:

WENTZ: We just changed the protection. Based on the look they were giving us, we changed protection. I got in the shotgun and communicated across the board and Jordan did a really good job beating his guy. [He] sped up his route due to the blitz that was coming, so he did a really good job and he was wide open and made my job easy.

On if that was his decision and if he made that call at the line:

WENTZ: Yeah. I'm pretty sure [Eagles C Jason] Kelce saw it at the same time, so we were on the same page right away.

On if he was trying not to run many option plays because of his ribs or if that was part of the gameplan:

WENTZ: It was part of the gameplan. It wasn't a big part of the gameplan this week. The gameplan we had was pretty solid and we executed pretty well.

On how he got a timing connection with his receivers during the crash course this week:

WENTZ: Like I mentioned, it just really goes back to the offseason: the spring and right after the draft and all summer long being around those guys. Obviously, the amount of reps was limited, but we made it work and at the end of the day, it comes down to players making plays and that's what we did today.

On if it was good to take a hit today that was similar to the one in the preseason and how it felt to get hit and get up and be okay:

WENTZ: Yeah, I don't really remember the specific one. I thought the whole line did a great job today. Some of them, we had some free hitters based on how they just out-numbered us. They brought one too many and we just have to get the protection better, but I thought it was good.

On if he was surprised that Pederson went for it on fourth-and-4:

WENTZ: I wasn't really surprised. I know he has an aggressive nature about him. For me in that moment of the game, it was just react and go call the play and go execute. They heated us up. They brought an all-out blitz and [Eagles TE Zach] Ertz made a great play. I was pretty excited that he had the faith in me to call the fourth-and-4 play and put us in that situation.

On Ertz being his first option and hot read on the fourth-and-4 play:

WENTZ: was the first progression and he was the hot look as well so it worked out great.

On the touchdown pass to Eagles WR Nelson Agholor:

*WENTZ: *That was huge. Obviously staying on the field was huge and then we took a shot right away. When Coach [Doug Pederson] called it, I was pretty excited. And Nelson right off the ball just killed his guy. He had a great release. I just put it out there for him and he was running. It was great."

On what he thinks the response will be tomorrow:

WENTZ: I will see what happens. At the end of the day, for me it's still just about playing football. I have to block out the noise, both good and bad, and just get back to work. That's what it's about and the goal is to go 1-0 each week.

On his communication with Coach Pederson today:

WENTZ: Coach Pederson has been awesome. We had some great communication between drives about what we're looking at and what we're seeing when we're going for each drive. It's been really positive. He's valued my input and his input has really helped me. The trust that he's had in me to put me in some of these situations makes me that much more confident. It was really good today.

On whether he felt the gameplan expanded as the game went on and opened up:

"Maybe a little bit. It's hard to say though. I thought we had a nice drive right away when we threw five times or something to put it into the end zone.  I wouldn't say it really opened up, it's just the way it went."

On whether he was able to soak up the situation today:

WENTZ: I came out pretty early when there weren't fans out there, and I just took it all in. I realized how truly blessed I am and to have this opportunity and to make the most of it. I have to remember it's just a game. I came out here and had fun today. It was a great team win.

On reality versus everything he has dreamed about:

WENTZ: At the end of the day, we won. You dream and you want to win. That was the goal today and we had a great team win. I think it will hit me now after the game. I've been dreaming about this since I was a kid. It's just the first of many and now it's on to next week.

On what Griffin III said to him after the game:

WENTZ: We just exchanged some words. Nothing real specific. We wished each other the best of luck.

On whether he feels like he needs to clean up some of his work:

WENTZ: Yes, there were some protections that I probably missed. I have to go back and watch the tape. I thought communication-wise we were pretty solid today. We ran the ball well and the offensive line did a great job of keeping me clean. We just have to keep getting better and keep executing. We missed some opportunities here and there that we can hit.

On getting ready for next week:

WENTZ: Jordan [Matthews] already said, 'Let's get back to work.' That's exactly the mentality we need. We're going to learn from this game, and we are going to build on it. It was a great first team win, but we're going to head into Chicago next week right away and it's on to the next.

On whether he could sense if Coach Pederson had jitters before the game:

WENTZ: No, not really. I thought he called a great game. He didn't seem real nervous.

On whether he was nervous:

WENTZ: No. I felt very confident. Right from the first snap, it was locked in and it was just football again.

On whether he was overcome with emotion after the game:

WENTZ: It was pretty cool. The fans obviously were pretty excited. The guys came up to me and it was great to get the first one under my belt. It was just a great first start and I'm glad it came out the way it did.

Eagles C Jason Kelce

* *

On Head Coach Doug Pederson:

KELCE: I was excited and happy for him that he could get his first win for his first NFL head coaching game.

On being under center with QB Carson Wentz:

KELCE: I have said this before. I think what was really impressive as a rookie; he had so much poise today. I think there were a lot of things that the defense did. They didn't hold back anything obviously. They were coming after with some blitzes, some situations with some exotic stuff, and he didn't let that get to him. I thought it was tremendously handled; the ups and downs of the game. He did a really good job for us."

On his communication with QB Carson Wentz:

KELCE: It was good. I mean on the field sometimes, we don't get it right. We get on the sideline and we make sure we iron it out so the next time we get it, we make corrections. Everything wasn't perfect obviously, but we did a great job of recognizing things that didn't go well the first time; making corrections on the second time. We did a great job making sure that it doesn't happen again. That is the mark of a guy who is poised enough to not let things get him.

Eagles LT Jason Peters

On whether his outlook for the season changed following the Bradford trade:

PETERS: No, because I've seen [QB] Carson [Wentz] and I knew he was a good quarterback – a starter. When Sam got traded, I knew Carson could step up and make plays for us.

On the fact that Wentz competed on the NCAA FCS level in college:

WENTZ: It doesn't matter. That's why he was drafted in the first round. The guy can play and you saw that today. He's only going to get better.

On whether the Cleveland defense did anything that surprised the offensive line:

WENTZ: They ran a bunch of blitzes. We practiced them during the week, we picked them up today, and they stopped running them. We practiced it all week and we focused on it, and it paid off today.

On the communication during the game between Wentz and the offensive line:

WENTZ: It was pretty smooth. He got hit one time when he was supposed to go hot. The guy was on all day. One or two times he missed a couple of hot throws, but besides that, he was on all day.

On whether the mobility of Wentz allowed the offense to do anything differently today:

WENTZ: We had the same game plan. The guy can move, we all know that, but it was the same game plan as if we would have had Sam.

Eagles RT Lane Johnson

On the game plan:

JOHNSON: The game plan was simple. We wanted to establish the run and then get some play action off of that and get some quick throws early. We did that and did some outside zone, some different formations, and then went back to it later.

On QB Carson Wentz dealing with pressure and making some big throws:

JOHNSON:  He is a big, strong guy: 6'5", 240 [pounds] or whatever. He can handle it. He is a big boy. I am proud of him for the way he handled it. There was a lot on his plate today and it feels good to get the win.

On when he noticed that the pressure on Wentz wasn't too much for him:

JOHNSON: It was just in OTA's. It was the way he carried himself. He wasn't cocky, but he was confident in himself. He goes and works real hard, so when situations do come like this, he'll be ready.

On how it felt on the field with Wentz not seeming like he was carrying himself like a rookie:

JOHNSON: Yes, I think he took the team by the reigns and it's his team now. He did a good job for the first week. I am proud of him and it is onto the next one. It feels good to get the first win of the season.

Eagles WR Jordan Matthews

On having a good day after the first throw that he dropped:

MATTHEWS: It was an alright day. I don't really dwell on any of the negatives or anything like that. It's all stuff that you learn from, but like you said, you don't take losses if you learn from them. So I just have to put it behind me and keep playing.

On the level of maturity of Eagles QB Carson Wentz:

MATTHEWS: I think I've been talking about it all week. I said, 'Carson's biggest asset is the way he competes against himself.' I think some of the best quarterbacks in this league have a chip on their shoulder. So when they go out and go play the game – whether its practice, regular game, us just going and throwing routes when nobody is looking – his game reps for him. He has a maturity about him that even if it's not crunch time, he's always treating it like it is. So then when you come out into a game, he just goes and plays and it's easy for him. I'm not surprised his motto is 'A01'. If anybody knows what that means, it's 'Audience of One'.  So he doesn't let any of the outside stuff really affect him. He hones in on what he needs to do and then he goes out there and perfects his craft, so I really wasn't that surprised either. But at the same time,  you don't want to gas the situation. We have to come back down and get to work.

On whether there were things the team could do on the field today that it hadn't been able to do the previous few seasons:

MATTHEWS: I'm not about to talk about the previous couple of seasons. I will talk about today. Carson came out and he put the ball in a lot of great places where he had to. Specifically, my touchdown catch and [WR] Nelson [Agholor]'s – I mean you can't throw those any better. He's putting them right where they need to be. He's waiting until you break leverage on the guy and then so even if he tries to recover, it's too late.  So that's all about timing, accuracy and then poise – not getting rattled when you say, 'Ok you got the match up, let me rush this ball out here.' He's taking his drop and he's putting the ball where it needs to be and then we just have to make sure we're there to make plays. I feel like Nelson came out and played a great game. To make that play on that type of corner then you have to have the mindset that he's working on his craft. He's not worried about the fact that that's one of the best corners in the league against him. Nelson did his thing and then Carson put it where it had to be. So I feel like that play was really big for us. I think it really gave us a lot of energy.

On whether the media made too big of a deal about the receivers not having enough reps with Wentz:

MATTHEWS: I think that there's a lot of reps that you guys don't see obviously.  I'm not going to sit there and downplay chemistry. This is just one game ... We have to go back, correct the mistakes. I have to go back and see what I did wrong and try to correct those things.  I know Carson is hard on himself and he's going to go back and makes sure he corrects some things, but at the same time, this isn't the Super Bowl.  We have to put this behind us and get ready for Chicago. Now was it a good outing? Did we come out and show some things? Yes, but we definitely have to be more consistent and continue to work.

On the route he ran on his touchdown catch:

MATTHEWS: It was man coverage and he said he was going to go to me all week on it. We threw it twice, I think, in Thursday's practice. He was telling me, 'If they're going man in this situation and you're inside, I'm throwing the ball to you. I'll close my eyes and throw it." So I was like alright, well I'll catch it. So there it was, man. It was just great communication all week and then just that's the situation where I'm like ok, I see the leverage, I see the coverage, I know the ball is coming to me, so I just have to go make a play.

On whether he felt like he was playing for a rookie coach:

MATTHEWS: I felt like [Eagles Head] Coach [Doug] Pederson went out there and he did his thing. Like I said, the best thing about Coach Pederson is just his authenticity. He's played the game and not only has he played the game, but he's been in our shoes. And when I say 'our shoes,' he's played in the city of Philadelphia. Playing in the city of Philadelphia - it's not like any other sports state. When they're playing football in here, it maximizes that much more. So he's been in those trenches before. When I see him, it's not even as much as I see a coach, it's like 'Yo Pops, I got you.' That's a blood brother right there, no different from those guys in the locker room. Sometimes Coach Pederson doesn't even have to say much. We already feel that family vibe from him so we just really want to go out there and win for him. I feel like that's his best asset. I felt like he called a great game. Obviously he's going to be hard on himself too. He's going to make sure he goes back and corrects some things. But at the same time as a collective unit as need to just hone in realize it's one game, put it behind us and get ready for Chicago.

On Eagles QB Carson Wentz throwing into tight windows:

MATTHEWS: I knew it was coming. It's a man play on the front side, and I'm on the back side finding the middle void. But if they don't go man coverage and go zone, the corners stayed under me and the safety was coming over top. I knew the ball was coming so I just kind of slow played it and let him read the front side. I knew it was going to end up coming to me. I couldn't even see Carson, I just saw the ball. That's just another play where he's going through his reads and breaking down coverages. Most of the time if you're on the backside the ball is not coming to you. All week he said if they go zone, it's coming to that backside dig. We never throw that in practice, but in the game that's what we saw and he hit it. That's just another testament to his maturity and his ability to go out and implement things that he saw in practice and go on to do it in a game. 

On not going overboard after one win:

MATTHEWS: It's only one game. I like to be excited and go out here to win games, but last year we did great in preseason and everyone basically handed us the preseason Lombardi. It means nothing. Then we went out and didn't do as well as we should in the regular season, and it's all for naught. I'd rather rest on the mindset of going out here and playing as hard as you can. Win, lose, or draw you have correct it and put it behind you.  We didn't just come out here and do something crazy. We came out here and played football. We were able to get a win, now we have to go out and get another.

On receiving a lot of targets:

MATTHEWS: It's just part of the game. I was put in a position to go out there and make plays, and Carson put it on me. [WR Nelson Agholor] went out there and had a great game. I think every catch [TE Zach Ertz] had was a conversion. It was 4th and 4 before Nelson caught his touchdown. That's a huge play. That's what you need your tight ends for. We had a slant on the money for a first down, now we go out and take a shot and score. It's a whole unit and a group of guys that have one identity. It's like the Spurs, you don't know who is going to score but we all have to go out there and make plays for the guy calling the show.

On his relationship with Wentz:

MATTHEWS: I really like music. I don't really get into TV. I was like 'What do you all listen to out in North Dakota? I don't know any rappers from North Dakota'. He said his favorite album was from Jason Aldean. I went to school in Nashville so I heard of Jason. It was the 'Dirt Road Anthem' album. I thought if I'm going to learn this guy's mindset, I have to listen to his music. I listened to the whole album and it was pretty good. There's a song on there called 'Fly Over States', and it made sense because where he lives is a 'fly over state'. I've never been to North Dakota so I got a feel for who he is. He's a humble guy from North Dakota and I'm a humble guy from Alabama. The bottom line is that I got to know him a little bit through that. I told him that if I listen to Jason Aldean, he has to listen to a Kanye [West] album. You have to know who I am. We're trying to grow off the field as well as get better on the field.

Eagles WR Nelson Agholor

On QB Carson Wentz:

AGHOLOR: All he does is work his butt off. He believes that he is going to make plays and that's what happens.

On Wentz taking the big hits early on and the poise he showed instead of looking for where the pressure was coming from:

AGHOLOR: You just made an analysis that I had no idea about. I don't watch it from that end.  All I know is that he is a great football player and he is a great competitor. That's what comes down to being poised like that. He understands what the game is going to be. He is going to take some hits and he is going to make some great plays. And he is ready for that moment.

On the receivers as a group and if it feels good to get off to a start like this:

AGHOLOR: Yeah we have been busting our butt all offseason.  That is what we are going to continue to do. This is Week 1 and it's over with. Now it comes tomorrow to see what we are going to do. We are going to watch the film and we are going to be real critical of the mistakes we made.  And we are also going to hone in on some of the good things we did and we are going to take it from there.

On what he did to get ahead of CB Joe Haden on his touchdown:

AGHOLOR: Same thing I do every day in practice going against corners like CJ Smith and Nolan Carroll.  Just work my releases and train. The things I train I put into play.

On if Haden touched him on that play:

AGHOLOR: Yeah, he was at the line of scrimmage man to man.  I worked my release like I have been trained to do and found a way to get separation. Carson gave me an opportunity.  He threw a great ball like that so it helps you out."

Eagles TE Zach Ertz

On QB Carson Wentz taking more chances with the ball:

ERTZ: It is tough to say honestly. I though the guys were open, so he made the right reads on those plays and he put the ball where it needed to be. And then there is [WR] Jordan [Matthews] and [WR] Nelson [Agholor]. I was really happy for Nelson today to get that touchdown. He has worked so hard this offseason to be better with his hands and to be better mentally, and I thought he did an unbelievable job today.

On the one-handed, over the shoulder reception:

ERTZ: Yeah that was my first catch in the preseason too. Hopefully [Carson Wentz] looks my way. I want to make plays as often as I can for him and help him out to the best of my abilities. When the ball is in the air, no matter who is on me, I think I have to go up there and make the plays.

On Carson Wentz's poise in his first NFL game:

ERTZ: He was unbelievable. The thing that everyone doubted us on was whether or not he was a good quarterback, but we knew what we had in the building all along with Carson. He is a special, special player. He didn't play like a rookie today by any means. To go out there in your first start with pretty much eight days' notice and to not have any turnovers speaks volumes about his play.

On being in such control offensively:

ERTZ: When you are on the field that long you are able to impose your will as an offense, and I think that is what we did today. We were able to run the ball getting 3rd-and-threes, 3rd-and fours, 4th-and-fours. When you are in that situation it is a lot easier to convert and the percentages are a lot more in your favor. When we play ahead of the sticks I think we are going to be very successful.  

On what makes Carson Wentz a special player:

ERTZ: He is extremely confident in his abilities, not that he is cocky by any means, but no stage is too big for him. People think, 'Oh he is playing in Philadelphia from North Dakota, so the stage is going to be way too big.' But that is not the case by any means. He is very confident in his abilities and he is very confident in us as well. I think that gives us a lot of confidence, and he played great today. There are not enough good things I can say about him, and the guys are really excited to play with him.

On Head Coach Doug Pederson's debut:

ERTZ: I thought he called a heck of a game, honestly. He went for it on fourth down, and I was able to go out there and make a play. He was aggressive early. The first 15 to 30 plays were very efficient, and it felt like we were on the field the entire game, honestly.

On the Eagles' defensive play:

ERTZ: Our defensive play was spectacular. I mean that front seven is extremely tough. I go against [S] Malcolm Jenkins every day, and [Browns TE] Gary Barnidge had 1,000 yards last year and I don't even know that he had a catch today. So the guy is an unbelievable player. I am really happy for him and our defense as well.

Eagles TE Brent Celek

On the tribute to September 11th:

CELEK: It means a lot. This country means a lot to me. I think it's the greatest country in the world. I appreciate all the people that were there today; the first responders. It was a great tribute to all of those guys."

On the offense continuing to rush the ball:

CELEK: Yeah I mean, listen, if you run the ball it's going to open up things in the pass. I think obviously our goal every week is to be able to run the ball. I love that we stuck with it. There were sometimes where they did a great job of scheming against us. There were sometimes where we just got beat man to man. We've got to get better at that. But I think ultimately we did okay. It wasn't great. We'll get better at that though."

On QB Carson Wentz's play:

CELEK: I thought he did great. I mean [his] first game as a rookie, I don't know how you can do much better than that. We've got to win, that's all that really matters. He made great decisions. It was calm in the huddle. It was awesome."

Whether Carson's play will allow the offense to expand the playbook:

CELEK: I don't know, that's up to [Head Coach Doug Pederson]. But I think he did a good job. Even when things broke down, even when he had a bad snap [and] the ball was rolling around on the ground, just seeing him being calm [and] trying to throw it to a guy or throwing it out of bounds. That's the kind of poise we need from a guy at quarterback. I think Carson did a great job of when things weren't going right, to make it right.

On if they prepared for growing pains with Carson Wentz as a starting quarterback:

CELEK: I mean I don't think anyone on this team expected it because he is a good quarterback. I think obviously, he showed what he can do. We all talked about it during the week that we've got to play better around him to elevate his play. But I think he played really well himself and helped all of us. So, that's what we need from a quarterback."

On importance of Doug giving multiple receivers the ball today:

CELEK: I don't know, maybe getting everybody involved just gets the excitement going. But I don't look at it that way. We have a job on every single play to do and my goal is to just do my job."

* *

Eagles RB Kenjon Barner

On the rarity of having games that run exactly like practice:

BARNER: Yeah, it may have seemed like that, but there are things we could definitely improve upon. Whatever the saying is, 'It is never as bad as it seems, nor is it as good as it seems.' I think we did a great job today, but there are always things that you can go back, once you watch the film, and correct and make better.

On starting the first drive off with a touchdown and the momentum it gave the team:

BARNER: It gave us a lot of momentum. Anytime you can go out and start the game with a touchdown it is good.

On QB Carson Wentz:

BARNER: Believe it or not, Carson was calm before the game. You guys don't get to see him on a daily basis like we do, but he is a confident guy. He believes in his ability and God has truly blessed him. What he did today was display to the world what he displays to us on a daily basis.

On the confidence the positive yards gives him moving forward:

BARNER: It gives me a lot of confidence. It is just something that we have worked on going back to OTA's, and then me, personally, putting in work in the offseason. It is just one step towards where I want to be and where this offense wants to be. I am extremely blessed and I am thankful to God for the opportunities.

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