Carson Wentz

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Eagles practice report: Wentz struggles, Kessler steps in for Sudfeld

Eliot Shorr-Parks
August 10, 2019 - 12:16 pm

The Eagles are unlikely to give their starters any significant time in any of the preseason games, and as a result, they have picked up the intensity at practice. 

Head coach Doug Pederson had the players in pads and game pants on Saturday, holding a practice that went just over two hours and featured the most snaps quarterback Carson Wentz has taken so far in training camp. 

Here is a look at how Wentz and new backup quarterback Cody Kessler did on Saturday:

Wentz: Wentz had a very rough day of practice, and as a result, it seemed like Pederson gave him more snaps than usual. 

Wentz was on the field for a whopping 57 snaps on Saturday, attempting 41 passes in the process. The team’s starting quarterback struggled with his accuracy, overthrowing open teammates multiple times and turning it over twice. Wentz’s accuracy has been pretty sharp so far during training camp, so the misses on Saturday really stood out. He badly overthrew tight end Zach Ertz over the middle of the field on one play on what should have been an easy completion. Later in the practice he had receiver DeSean Jackson open as he was running from the right side of the field to the left sideline, but put it too far ahead of him. The signs Wentz was going to have a rough day were there early on, as in his first six passes he had four incompletions and one interception. 

His first interception was an ugly one, as linebacker Nate Gerry perfectly timed jumping a screen pass, intercepting it and running it into the end zone for a touchdown. Wentz’s second interception of the day came in a seven-on-seven drill, as his pass intended for J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was too low and safety Malcolm Jenkins got down to pick it off. Wentz has had issues with turnovers so far in training camp, as he is now up to seven interceptions and is on pace for the most he has ever thrown in training camp. 

Even in the red zone, where Wentz had two touchdowns, both of his scoring passes were short passes along the goal line that barely resulted in a score. 

Overall it was certainly a practice Wentz wishes he could do over and didn’t exactly inspire confidence in where the first-team offense is right now. 

Stats: 27/41, 2 TD, 2 INT (57 reps)

Grade: D-

Kessler: With Nate Sudfeld standing on the sideline with a sling on to keep his broken left wrist in place, it was Cody Kessler’s turn to take all of the second-team reps and show the team that he would be able to step in should Wentz go down. 

The results were mixed, but mostly positive. 

Kessler had a few nice throws, including two sideline completions to receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. The first was a perfect pass by Kessler as he hit Arcega-Whiteside in stride along the right sideline. The second was not a great pass, but he did put it where Areca-Whiteside had a chance to make a play on the ball, and the rookie did just that, coming down with a circus catch over the defender. 

Kessler did not impress during the red zone session of practice, however, as his only attempt was batted down by defensive end Shareef Miller, one of the rookie’s best plays of camp so far. 

Overall, Kessler didn’t do anything to make the Eagles think he would be a train wreck if he had to play, but he also didn’t exactly shine — he was perfectly average. At this point, considering Kessler entered camp in many ways the fourth quarterback, the Eagles will take it. 

Stats: 17/22, 0 TD, 0 INT (31 reps)

Grade: C

Thorson: The Eagles have found a way to make sure Thorson doesn’t struggle — don’t let him throw the ball. 

The rookie attempted only three passes on Saturday, 19 fewer than Kessler and 38 fewer than Wentz. He didn’t get his first completion until the final team session of the day, completing back-to-back passes to receivers Marken Michel and Braxton Miller. Kessler was on the field for only six reps, completing two of his three attempts. 

At a certain point the Eagles are either going to have to bring in another quarterback or let Thorson throw it more. It is going to be very hard to evaluate the bottom of the roster receivers with Thorson running with the third-team offense. 

Assuming Wentz doesn’t play in the preseason, there is a chance Thorson plays two-plus quarters in each of the next three preseason games. Without many practice reps, it is hard to see why the Eagles should expect anything different than the disastrous showing he had in his preseason debut. 

Stats: 2/3, 0 TD, 0 INT (6 reps)

Grade:  B

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