PHILADELPHIA - A quarter of the way into the 2018 season, the Philadelphia Eagles are 2-2, which is neither cause for celebration nor panic because, well, it's a quarter of the way into the season.
"The sky isn't falling,'' Carson Wentz assured everyone Wednesday. "We're 2-2 right now. Would love to be 4-0, but this is just where we're at. We're a month in. Still trying to figure out 100 percent who we are. But at the same time, we know the guys we have. And we know what we're capable of doing.''
Wentz, the Eagles' third-year quarterback from North Dakota State, made his second start Sunday since returning from December's knee injury. He completed 33 of 50 passes for 348 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles' 26-23 overtime loss to the Titans.
He also completed just four of 11 passes on third down and four of nine in the red zone, and lost a fumble for the second straight game, and spent too much of the afternoon being harassed by a Titans pass rush that sacked him four times and put him on the ground on at least 12 other occasions.
Sunday's four sacks came on the heels of the five times he was sacked in a too-close-for-comfort four-point win over the Colts.
The Titans blitzed a lot, thwarting a couple of the naked bootlegs the Eagles like to use to get the mobile Wentz out on the perimeter.
"It's unfortunate, because a big part of what we do is moving the pocket and getting me out there,'' Wentz said. "There are things we can clean up in getting out of those plays if we get certain looks. We've definitely taken a look at that.''
The Eagles' protection problems the last two weeks have been a mixture of things. Sometimes, it's been an offensive lineman getting beat, as was the case with the game-changing sack early in the fourth quarter by Titans rookie Harold Landry, who got around the edge on All-Pro right tackle Lane Johnson and forced a fumble that the Titans turned into points.
Other times, it's been a communication breakdown, or Wentz has hung onto the ball too long, or the running back has failed to pick up a blitzer, which appeared to happen twice Sunday with Wendell Smallwood.
The Eagles' offensive line has struggled to keep Carson Wentz clean in his first two games back.
"You see a sack, and everyone wants to point out a specific guy or this or that,'' Wentz said. "But sometimes it's me. Sometimes I didn't have the right protection called, and we had an unblocked guy. Sometimes it's the (running) back miscommunicating. It's a combination of things. I think the more we keep working together, the more we'll keep ironing out our communication and everything. I think we'll be fine.''
Eagles center Jason Kelce echoed Wentz's assessment.
"We had a great season last year,'' he said. "In order to (repeat) that, we know the attention to detail has to be on point. And we know we all have to be on the same page. The communication has to be there. The technique has to be there. And it's really not far off. If you watch the game, it's not like one guy was just getting beat over and over again. It's one guy here, one guy there. It's a missed assignment here, bad point there.
"But it culminates into a very sloppy, poor performance by the offensive line in general and by the offense.''
If Wentz hadn't gotten hurt in December, he probably would have won the league MVP award rather than Tom Brady. He had a league-high 33 touchdown passes when he went down. He led the league in third-down and red-zone passing.
The more he plays this season, the better he'll get.
"He's improved from his first start out,'' Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. "I think he's still working through, I think, just the overall game speed.''
Said Wentz: "Personally, I feel good where I'm at as far as processing and in-game speed, and even being comfortable with the guys out there. So, I feel good where I'm at as far as seeing all that stuff. And physically, I feel great. I feel I'm picking up [where I left off] on the field last year. To me, the knee thing is behind me, and now we're going forward.''
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