If Carson Wentz doesn’t throw another pass this season, he will have thrown the 10th most passes for a rookie in NFL history.
He’s not done yet.
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Through 13 games, Wentz has thrown 498 passes, which puts him on pace for 613 for the year. If he throws that many, it would be the second-most passes an NFL rookie has ever thrown, behind Andrew Luck’s 627 in 2012. And it looks like Wentz will top Donovan McNabb’s team record of 571.
All those passes for a quarterback who was supposed to have a redshirt year until a week before the season, when Sam Bradford was traded to the Vikings.
“I'd love to manage that a little bit more for him,” head coach Doug Pederson said Wednesday. “I think it's putting him in a tough situation.
“As you mentioned, we've gotten behind. Last week [against Washington], we had the two-minute drive to go down [and score] and everything was a throw. The week before [against Cincinnati], we were down so early and so fast, that we had to throw the ball.
"But I would love to be able to manage it and lean on that offensive line more with the run game. Obviously, we're going against a tough run defense this week, and yet we still have to be patient with that to help our quarterback.”
Early in the season, when things were going well, the Eagles were managing Wentz’s throws.
After averaging 30.8 pass attempts per game in the first six games of the season, Wentz has thrown 44.7 passes per game over the last seven. In many of those games, the Eagles have gotten behind early and have been forced to try and throw their way out.
“I guess the biggest thing is the games have dictated that,” Wentz said Wednesday. “It’s one of those things, you go into a game plan. We want to be balanced every game. Sometimes you get down, sometimes it’s what they’re giving you. I guess it’s hard to say that I expected to throw this much, but it’s just kind of the way games have gone. By no means am I complaining about it.”
Despite all the throws, Wentz’s arm hasn’t fallen off yet. And despite all the hits he’s taken, he seems to be in relatively good health.
“I feel good,” Wentz said. “And I’m very fortunate for that, for sure.”
When asked if all these throws will be a good or bad thing for his long-term development, Wentz said he wasn’t sure, but added that he does feel like he’s developed.
The guy charged with his development, ultimately thinks this extended experience will help the young quarterback down the road.
“Have we asked a lot of him? Yeah, we have, and he's handled it extremely well,” Pederson said. “It's just making him a better quarterback for not only the rest of the season, but for the future.”
Wentz has had an up and down rookie season. In those first six games, when he was averaging 30.8 throws per game, he had thrown eight touchdowns to just three interceptions. In the seven games where his attempts have jumped, he's thrown five touchdowns to nine interceptions.
When the Eagles were winning early in the season, they were doing it by playing stout defense and not making their rookie quarterback do too much. More recently, Wentz has needed to throw more passes than anyone probably ever anticipated.
How has the rookie handled it?
“He hasn’t blinked,” veteran backup Chase Daniel said. “We’ve been behind. You’re gonna throw when you’re behind. That’s just the nature of this league. He’s handled it well. He’s had a lot of opportunities to throw the ball. Sure, he’s missed some, but he’s made more than he’s missed. So that’s an encouraging sign.”