Carson Wentz's Deep Passes During Training Camp Could Be Sign of Things to Come

It was a beautiful 75-degree day Sunday morning at Lincoln Financial Field. 

But Carson Wentz made it rain deep balls. 

All morning, the Eagles' quarterback dropped perfect deep pass after perfect deep pass into the hands of his receivers and tight ends. It was his most impressive performance of training camp (see Sunday's practice observations)

"The one we hit on today, he checked to it," Torrey Smith said. "So that lets you know how he's thinking. 'Hey, let's go for it.' I'm excited about it."

Wentz's hitting perfectly on his deep passes isn't anything new this summer; he's been doing it throughout training camp. But after a rookie season in which he rarely got a chance to go downfield, it could be a telling sign of things to come. 

Just how bad was the Eagles' deep-passing game in 2016? 

Well, Wentz's 6.23 yards per passing attempt ranked him 29th in the NFL among quarterbacks with at least 300 attempts. Only Brock Osweiler had a lower yards-per-attempt average (5.80) and he ended up getting traded for less than nothing. 

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Twenty four quarterbacks threw more 20-yard passes and 40-yard passes than Wentz, who had 39 and six, respectively. 

"I love taking shots down the field but some of those things are just kind of in-game," Wentz said last week. "Take what the defense gives you. Some defenses are more aggressive and those are all parts of the game and part of knowing your opponent. At the end of the day, to some extent, you've got to trust Coach (Doug) Pederson and how he calls things. But when the chances are there, yeah, I'm definitely looking forward to taking those chances." 

Wentz hit several of his receivers perfectly Sunday. Smith caught one over Patrick Robinson, Jordan Matthews snagged one over Malcolm Jenkins. Perhaps the best throw, though, came to Trey Burton down the middle of the field through triple coverage. 

The defensive backs didn't stand a chance. 

"He throws those perfectly," Alshon Jeffery said of the deep balls. "The one that Trey caught, that was on the money." 

Part of the reason the Eagles have attempted so many deep passes this training camp is because of how aggressive Jim Schwartz's defense is, Wentz said. 

Another reason is that they "have some guys who can fly." 

The Eagles added Smith and Jeffery during free agency and then went out and drafted two more receivers in the spring. The whole receiving corps is much-improved from a year ago. 

In 2016, among Eagles with at least 10 catches, Brent Celek had the highest yards-per-catch average on the team at 11.1 yards. For wideouts on the 2016 team, Matthews led the way with 11.01, which ranked him 76th in the NFL in yards per reception. 

If training camp is any indication, things are about to change in 2017. Although Wentz didn't throw deep much as a rookie, he's proving this summer that he definitely has the ability. 

"Carson, he was drafted that high for a reason," Smith said. "He's one of those guys with that natural arm talent where he can make every throw. So I can't say I'm surprised. He's the No. 2 pick. He works his tail off. All the time in the offseason, I think our timing as a group has gotten better."

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