Bart Scott: Carson Wentz Is ‘Fool’s Gold’
As you prepare for Sunday’s big interstate battle between the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers, here’s this week’s edition of Weekend Reading:
Former NFL player Bart Scott thinks Carson Wentz‘s first two games have been flukes, from Ryan Wilson of CBSSports.com.
“Come on, man. Fool’s gold,” CBS Sports NFL analyst and former Ravens and Jets linebacker Bart Scott said during an appearance on “The DA Show.” “He’s played the JV. He could play Towson University and get a harder challenge than playing those two teams.”
That should give you some indication how Scott feels about the Browns and Bears, Wentz’s first two opponents. Those defenses rank 19th and 16th, respectively, according to Football Outsiders’ metrics, so it could be worse. Still, Scott remains unimpressed.
“It’s easy to make good throws when there’s nobody there in your face,” he continued. “There’s no threat. There’s no imminent threat of danger. He’s going to be under pressure. He’s going to be under stressful situations. Come on, man. We could go right now. We could get the University of Louisville or Houston, and they could beat the Browns.”
Kalyn Kahler of the MMQB asked Malcolm Jenkins about any personal stories he has of being racially profiled.
In our NFL security meetings that we do every year, the head of security for our team speaks to us about numerous topics like gun safety, domestic violence, how to keep our house secure, personal security, everything. And in the last two years, they have talked about police encounters, but this year stood out to me specifically because he started by saying, I am not here to get into a conversation about what is right and what is wrong and what your rights are as a citizen. I am here to simply coach you up on how to survive the encounter. There was a little bit of rumbling and he said, Look I get it, there are a lot of things going on, a lot of things that aren’t right, but we are here so that you survive the encounter.
In that moment you knew that he was not talking to Carson Wentz. He said, look if you get pulled over, most of you probably have tinted windows, so roll all your windows down, keep your hands on the steering wheel. If the officer asks you to pull out your license and registration, don’t just reach for it, announce and say, Hey, officer, I am reaching for my license. He said, I know all of this is not right and this isn’t in line with the rights you have as a citizen, but we need you to survive this encounter and you can report the officer later after that. The fact that we even have to have this conversation tells you that there is something wrong.
Jenkins has respect for former head coach Chip Kelly, and also adds it’s important to have a white player join in the national anthem demonstrations, pens Tim McManus of ESPN.com.
“I got a lot of respect for Chip, and I know how he is with his players,” Jenkins said. “I appreciate him obviously having Kaepernick’s back and then actually speaking on the fact that Kaepernick’s message is legitimate and that [the injustice] needs to stop,” Jenkins said. “Hopefully, coming from somebody like him, when you’re a head coach in the National Football League and you’re also a white man, to say that means volumes. So hopefully more people who actually feel that way who will speak up.”
Along those lines, Jenkins was asked about Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett‘s comments about the importance of a white player eventually joining in the demonstrations.
“I totally agree,” Jenkins said. “I’ve kind of talked about that in the locker room. It’s one thing for me to do it, but you’re trying to draw empathy out of people and feel it. It’s easy to write off somebody and say, ‘OK, it’s another black person that’s complaining about the system,’ and all of this, but all of a sudden you have a white person standing next to them and that can express that, ‘This might not be something that I’m going through, but this is my teammate that I could easily see him in this situation. I see the Tulsa events — that can be anybody in this locker room, that can be anybody’s family in this locker room.’ And so to have that I think speaks more than anything.”
Wentz has moved up to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.’s top spot on his rookie big board.
I thought it would take some patience and seasoning for Wentz to become a starter in the NFL, but he has been extremely impressive in his two starts so far. He has shown accuracy — he’s completing 60.6 percent of passes — and poise, and his command of the Eagles’ offense is noticeable. The most impressive thing: no interceptions on 71 attempts. Now, Wentz is still taking too many hits, and he won’t last long if he continues that way — he suffered a hairline fracture to a rib in the preseason — but the first two games have showcased his immense potential.
The Steelers hope to give Wentz his “welcome to the NFL” moment on Sunday, from Kevin Patra of NFL.com.
Sunday will mark Wentz’s first true test against intrastate rival Pittsburgh Steelers.
“You definitely want to beat him up,” Steelers linebacker Arthur Moats said of facing the rookie quarterback, via the Pittsburgh Tribune. “You want to hit him, but at the same time, when you confuse him with different looks, he’s worried about getting hit and he’s also trying to figure out where the coverage is, things like ‘Who’s my hot receiver?’
“Even our basic look can come off as exotic. To a rookie quarterback, that can be the difference between him making a completion or throwing an interception.”
Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler said he isn’t worried about how many starts Wentz has made.
“When I try to game plan for an offense, I don’t take into account that he’s a rookie,” Butler said. “I take into account who I’ve got to stop, what they’re doing well and things that might give us problems and look at how we can alleviate them.”
Head coach Doug Pederson has showed that he’s not just a clone of Andy Reid, pens the Inquirer’s Jeff McLane.
“I don’t try to fight it as much as try to be who I am,” Pederson said of the Reid comparisons. “Listen, a lot of my background has been learning from Andy Reid, so that’s kind of all I’ve known. But at the same time, I’ve watched and observed and took my notes over the years and have now tried to do things differently.”
Pederson is 160 wins, 11 playoff appearances, six NFC East crowns, and an NFC championship game victory from being mentioned in Reid’s class. But of the changes he has made to his mentor’s blueprint, each would seem to address a weakness or seem logical.
Spring workouts and training camp were a carbon copy of Reid’s. But the regular-season schedule has been different, in particular the time between the morning walk-through and practice. Reid’s plan has lunch and media availability in between the two sessions, while Pederson moved practice from early afternoon to late morning.
The last time the Steelers visited Philadelphia, Ben Roethlisberger was sacked eight times as the Eagles won by nine points. Roethlisberger also almost quit football entirely, from John Breech of CBSSports.com.
During an interview with 93.7 the Fan, a CBS Sports Radio station, in Pittsburgh this week, Roethlisberger talked about how close he came to retirement after being sacked eight times and almost breaking his hand in the nine-point loss.
“I’m not a big ‘remembering games’ type guy, especially losses, but that’s one that I do remember vividly,” Roethlisberger said of the 2008 game. “I remember getting sacked eight or nine times. I remember driving home from the airport after that game and thinking to myself like, ‘Do I want to keep doing this? Do I really want to keep playing football?'”
As it turns out, Steelers fans should probably send a thank you note to Brett Keisel, because he’s the guy who talked Big Ben out of quitting.
“No joke, I called Brett Keisel and we were talking, and he was like, ‘Why don’t you just stop over?'” Roethlisberger said. “It was kind of on my way home. I stopped over at his house and sat down in his basement for a couple of hours and we just talked and had a couple of beers and I was literally like, ‘This is not fun, this is not really worth it.’ We talked and got over it.”