PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — “We’re basically saying it’s a new season. We’re zero and zero and we just gotta win everyday.”
That was Carson Wentz this week, as the 3-0 Eagles get ready to face the Lions in Detroit after their Week 4 bye.
Here are six observations about the Birds coming out of their bye week.
More designed runs coming for Carson Wentz
Wentz has just 21 rushing yards this season, but Doug Pederson says you can expect more Wentz runs going forward.
“I think that was an advantage to us in Kansas City with Alex Smith — and his strength was the ability to run the football. As we got deeper into the season, we dialed up a few more of those for him. It could be the same type of formula for Carson. Obviously you want to get him through the full 16-game schedule and I think the deeper you go, you increase it a little bit more.”
Must take advantage of Week 5
The Eagles are the only NFC East favorites in Week 5, as they’re -3 at the Detroit Lions.
The Giants are +7.5 at the Packers. The Redskins are +4 at the Ravens. And the Cowboys are +1 at home vs. the Bengals.
If the Eagles are the only NFC East team to win this weekend, they’ll improve to 4-0 and 1.5 games ahead of the Cowboys.
However, after Sunday, things are going to get tough for the Birds. At this point, the Lions are the final losing team the Eagles will face all season long. They’ll also play three road division games and a home game against the undefeated Vikings from Weeks 6 through 9. Then, in Weeks 11-13, they’ll get the Seahawks on the road, the Packers at home, and the Bengals on the road.
Ryan Mathews is still the lead back (when healthy)
Most assume that Wendell Smallwood and/or Kenjon Barner have broken into Ryan Mathews’ workload share after their impressive Week 3 performances against the Steelers, where both backs scored their first career NFL touchdown. However, Mathews — who was limited with an ankle injury vs. the Steelers — is still the team’s lead back. Pederson said as much.
Mathews has dealt with injuries his entire career and having Smallwood and Barner is certainly a nice safety for the Eagles. However, when healthy, Mathews will get the bulk of the carries.
Dorial Green-Beckham to see more targets
The Eagles acquired DGB before the second preseason game, so natrually the second-year player is still getting accilimated with the playbook. DBG has been targeted just 10 times in three games catching seven balls for 65 yards and no touchdowns. Expect Green-Beckham to see more targets, especially in the red zone.
Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich said on Thursday that Green-Beckham’s package has continued to grow.
Lane Johnson is still playing
It’s the never-ending situation. News broke back in August that Johnson will be suspended for 10 games for violating the league’s PED policy for the second time in his career, but still no word from the league. Johnson appealed the suspension this week and is expected to play Sunday. However, after this week, who knows. Doug Pederson said this week Allen Barbe and Halapoulivaati Vaitai (Big V) will replace Johnson at right-tackle if he’s indeed suspended.