Carson Wentz isn't going to back down. Not from the challenge of getting this offense on track. Not from the critiques of his game. Certainly not from a pass rush looking to take him out of his comfort zone.
Coming off a struggle of a game on Sunday against New England, Wentz has his focus on Seattle and righting an Eagles offense in need of a strong performance to nudge this football team to a 6-5 record.
To do so, Wentz needs to be the confident, accurate, playmaking quarterback the Eagles have seem him be since drafting him in 2016. He needs to lead the way and, frankly, that way has taken a zig-zagging course through the first 10 games of this season. We're all being honest here: The offense has had more than its share of injuries. Truly, a load that has significantly altered the personnel landscape, the playcalling, the matchups, and all the plans head coach Doug Pederson had for the offense.
Had the Eagles stayed reasonably healthy through the first two-plus months of the season, we wouldn't be in this position. We wouldn't be having this conversation. You wouldn't feel the angst watching an offense having so much trouble taking flight. Eliminate the top two receivers and the most productive running back from any offense and there are going to be tough times.
And that's where the Eagles are right now – in tough times. Wentz isn't going to back down from it.
"Stay ahead of the chains, be efficient on first and second down, don't try to do too much, trust the guys around me," Wentz said. "I feel I have done that well at times, I feel at times you try to be greedy and make plays and force the ball and that stuff happens. I have to trust what the coaches are saying, and we'll be just fine."
Wentz uses the word "trust" a lot, particularly when he's speaking about a receiving corps that is quite a bit different than the one the Eagles presented at the start of the season. Injuries are part of the equation, for sure, but that's the nature of the NFL. The lack of production in the passing game, and down the field, has hampered the offense, limited Wentz, and increased the level of frustration for this 5-5 team.
In his fourth season, Wentz is still developing his game. He's going to be aggressive in his approach – Wentz has made that clear time and time again over the years. He speaks of a "fine line" of "knowing when to say enough is enough in trying to make a play. "I'll be walking that fine line my whole career." That's Wentz, an ultimate competitor. If his pocket is collapsing, Wentz is going to try to escape. He's not going down without a fight.
Sometimes, as was the case in the second quarter of Sunday's loss to New England, that approach gets Wentz into trouble. He was sacked and lost a fumble and New England converted the takeaway into three points. It would have been prudent for Wentz to dump the ball away and live for another play, and he knows that. But that competitive nature sometimes is too much to ignore.
"Would have loved to get rid of the ball. Would have loved to get rid of the ball," Wentz said. "The pocket was collapsing and, first of all, I've got to tighten it up. I can't let it slip out like that and put our defense in a bad situation like that, so I've got to own that one."
Wentz is hard on himself, certainly more critical than any fan or member of the media. He knows when he misses a receiver. He understands the need to lead a fourth-quarter drive to win a game. To be fair, Wentz did so earlier this season against the Packers. And he put the Eagles in position to do so in Atlanta and against Detroit and throws just weren't caught. Last Sunday against the Patriots, it was a combination of everything on that drive where Wentz missed receivers and had a pass tipped at the line of scrimmage and then heaved into the end zone a throw that would have required a superior effort to catch.
We all know the deal in this game: The quarterback is going to get the credit for the good stuff and he's going to get the blame for when things aren't working well. That just comes with the territory.
"I know this about Carson," Pederson said earlier in the week, "he's wired the right way. He is hard on himself and he's going to work to make corrections. He's not going to be perfect. He's going to learn to allow the game to come to him and throw the ball away and live for another play. This is just part of the process. I'm confident that Carson is going to be better than he was on Sunday. He had some plays out there that he would like to have back.
"That's what is so great about this game. We have another one on Sunday, another chance to go out and play a great game."