Carson Wentz was back in his home state of North Dakota hunting ducks during the bye week when Howie Roseman actually pulled the trigger.
Wentz got the call that the Eagles had traded for wide receiver Golden Tate, so he quickly sent his new weapon a text message to welcome him to the flock.
On Wednesday, Wentz said that text message was so he and Tate could immediately begin to build chemistry. Same with the invitation for Tate to join him at church on Sunday — an invitation Tate declined to study his new playbook, but his wife took up. They’ll still have to learn to play with each other on the fly, but any bit of information the two can gain about each other will help.
“Everyone’s different,” Wentz said. “Obviously, the more reps, the better. At the same time, you turn on the film of what he’s done in Detroit and just try to see his body language on routes and what he’s good at and those types of things. It’ll be big to finally get out there today and finally start to get used to him and build that chemistry right away.”
Doug Pederson said it’ll be on Wentz and Tate to build their rapport by spending extra time throwing to each other and getting a feel for one another. They won’t get it down immediately; Pederson said it’ll take some time.
“Getting used to Carson is something he’s going to have to do,” Pederson said. “But we gotta do it fast. Like now. It’s going to take some time.”
Sure, it’ll be a gradual process. No matter how much the two are on the same page by week’s end, they’ll be even further along come this time next week, and so on. There’s no mighty recipe to quickly create chemistry. But the quicker the better.
It’s good that Wentz isn’t going in blind too. While there’s nothing that can make up for practice reps, there’s plenty he can learn about Tate from watching film. Specifically, offensive coordinator Mike Groh said Tate is a QB-friendly receiver because of his body language.
Quarterbacks coach Press Taylor was able to elaborate on what exactly that body language looks like:
It’s kind of just sinking his hips, being able to shed a defender at the right time, understanding when to cross over a defender, maybe when not to, when to get in and out of a break. There’s a lot of times we have depths on certain routes and it may be one revolution short, one revolution extra, based how the coverage is dictated. With stuff like that, you need to be able to trust what you see with your receiver. So when he sinks his hip, when he changes his leverage of a guy, that’s when the ball needs to be out. That’s something that’s developed with Carson and these guys he’s been throwing to. That’s something we need to get Golden up to speed on.
Taylor said that Groh is especially good at making sure Wentz is always communicating with his receivers. If they’re in a meeting and Wentz mentions he’d like a receiver to run a route a different way, Groh will ask if he’s talked to that receiver about it. Because Wentz is the guy pulling the trigger, they want him to be vocal with what he wants. They want him to do that with Tate right away.
For years, Tate worked with Matthew Stafford and became Stafford’s security blanket on third downs. He can similarly help the Eagles in those situations, but Wentz will need to learn to trust him first. That started with a text message in the North Dakota wilderness as ducks hit the ground for the purpose of jerky.
So how quickly can these two get on the same page?
“Hopefully by Sunday,” Taylor said.
That would be quacktastic.
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