Quarterback Carson Wentz rolled out of bed in the days following the Eagles’ season-opening win and felt pretty good, maybe less sore and achy than in previous seasons.
Maybe it was his much-talked about offseason diet and workout changes or something else?
“I did feel good coming out of the game,” said Wentz before Wednesday’s practice. “Is it the recovery and the diet and all that or is the fact that the O line dominated and I barely got touched? It’s a lot of those factors. Do think those things have helped me and will continue to help me.”
Those things have helped get Wentz to Game Two of the season healthy, and it will be the first time he will play the Atlanta Falcons since his rookie season. Injuries prevented him from playing the Falcons in their two previous games against the Eagles.
VIDEO: Carson Wentz on the Atlanta Falcons
Wentz had to watch from the sidelines as Nick Foles engineered an 18-12 win in last year’s season opener and a 15-10 victory in the 2017 Divisional Round of the 2017 playoffs, the Eagles’ biggest postseason test in their Super Bowl winning season.
In his only shot against Atlanta, Wentz engineered two fourth-quarter scoring drives to bring the Eagles back to a 24-15 win in Week 10 of 2016.
The Falcons were on their way to the Super Bowl that season and came to Lincoln Financial Field with a 6-3 record. The Eagles were scuffling along at 4-4, but had entered the game losers of four of their previous five games.
This is a different Falcons team and a different venue.
“You watch them on film, you watch the games from last year, they’re going to let you take things underneath, they’re going to kind of make you earn it down the field,” said Wentz. “Sometimes you just have to be patient and let the shot plays come to you and take what’s given. Have to get the run game going as well to kind of tighten their coverage up a bit. At the end of the day, just play our game and take what they give us and be patient.”
The game will be in Mercedes Benz Stadium, and, because it is a dome, that means noise, lots of noise.
“I think a lot of (preparing for the noise) is just here in practice over the next few days, kind of getting that dialed in,” said Wentz. “Basically, as a quarterback staying quiet so guys get used to the fact that the can barely hear me, working on hand signals and communication. I think a lot of that is it happens here in practice and to some extent you can only prepare for it so much then we have to go execute on Sunday.”
The Eagles were patient – maybe overly so – in Sunday’s win, especially when it came to the two big plays to DeSean Jackson, which didn’t come until after the Eagles fell behind 17-0 in the second quarter than in the third quarter that gave them their first lead at 21-20.
“Watching the film, I have to keep reminding myself to be patient,” said Wentz. “Coach is going to call a great game, I already trust in that. Just take what’s there, move the chains, then when they get aggressive then we can be aggressive. It’s a little bit of a chess match and who can break first. But just have to keep telling myself and telling the whole offense we have to be patient and the shots will come.”
On the flip side, Atlanta coach Dan Quinn is preparing for Wentz and not Foles.
“Scheme-wise it isn’t as big a difference because it’s a good offense and they know how to really feature their guys,” said Quinn during a conference call on Wednesday. “For a long time I’ve been impressed just the way they feature backs, tight ends, receivers, they make you defend everybody. They make you defend the whole thing and that’s what makes them difficult.
“Zach (Ertz) had the most production in terms of catches and that, but they make it challenging because of the group, and that’s usually a sign of a good team when there’s a number of different weapons and playmakers you have to contend with.”
And that top playmaker is a healthy Wentz.