Q. When you have an entrenched veteran franchise quarterback, gives you the best chance to win with the division on the line, how do you truly keep that player accountable when he makes mistakes or blunders potentially? (Mike Kaye)
PRESS TAYLOR: It always comes back to him understanding the value he is to the organization and what the accountability level of his play of how that is. So, he understands that. We continue to talk about the standard we have for our offense for the quarterback play within our offense and making sure he understands that at all times and making sure that he is practicing that, living that in and out of the building. Everything that comes with that and we’ve continued to talk about that, hit on that and he’s well aware of that, as well.
Q. You’ve obviously been working with QB Carson Wentz for a while now. How personally surprised were you to see him turn the ball over 16 times through the first half of the season? (Dave Zangaro)
PRESS TAYLOR: It’s obviously disappointing that that’s happened. That’s something he’s well aware of is not acceptable around here. It’s something we’re very confident that he’ll be able to clean up as we go into these next eight games, the second half of the season. He is very aware of it; that that’s not what we expect around here. That’s not what we preach around here and it’s something we are excited to see going forward how we play the second half of the season.
Q. Carson had mentioned after the Dallas game that obviously the turnovers everybody knows are not acceptable, but he also mentioned his sort of DNA as a player, the aggressive mentality, the willingness to take some chances and he doesn’t want to change that. How do you as a coach kind of walk that fine line, and is it possible or do you just have to accept this guy is aggressive? (John McMullen)
PRESS TAYLOR: Well, it certainly is a fine line, like you said, something that we’re always going to toe and that’s the way he’s played and honestly that’s the way we call games. We are going to be aggressive; we’re going to be bold in our approach. We’re going to take our shots when we feel like the situation calls for that. But as a quarterback, nothing will ever trump ball security, and so that’s something we will always talk about, whether it is we are directing him to push the ball down the field, it’s an out-of-pocket decision that happens later in a down, whatever it is, ball security will always be a premium and that’s something we continue to talk about.
Yes, we want Carson to be aggressive. We’re never going to take his stinger out of him — we’re not going to reign him in like that, but he has to understand, and he does, that the ball is the priority. We are always going to do — whatever we do, whether it’s being aggressive or whether it’s a direct a shot, out-of-pocket decisions, like I said, we always want to make sure we are conscious of ball security first.
Q. Carson’s completion percentage obviously is pretty low this year. It’s probably as low as it’s been in his career in that 0 to 10-yard range, which is kind of the bread and butter of this offense for the most part. He’s got five interceptions in that range, as well. What’s going on there with those throws? (Paul Domowitch)
PRESS TAYLOR: There’s certainly a number of issues. I wouldn’t say it’s one certain thing, whether it’s him, somebody else, play call, whatever it is. It’s hard to say there’s one blanket statement of what’s going on with it. But I do think that’s an area that we expect a high completion percentage, a lot of people would and obviously as you get further down the field that number changes. Your expected completion percentage is going to drop a little bit as you’re throwing the ball further down the field. But that’s just something, whether it’s play call, whether it’s rhythm, timing, mechanics, protection, there’s a lot that goes into that but again that’s something that we are excited to see improvement through the second half of the season for everybody, for our offense as a whole.
Q. Wondering how your conversations with Carson have changed this year, especially since you’re on the sideline now?(E.J. Smith)
PRESS TAYLOR: Whether I was in the press box or sideline, we were obviously in constant communication. You have a direct line with the phone and that was something we were always, always talking to one another. But now, you’re immediately right there with him and going through the pictures yourself. Where we were able to do that, but it was through a phone call and maybe it didn’t happen every single drive, but there’s definitely more communication as it goes. There’s more communication with receivers, as well. That was something that I really didn’t have a chance to do prior.
So, you’re constantly trying to grab guys and make sure you’re on the same page and we do have a younger or less experienced receiver core. So, that’s something that has been a process as we’ve gone through this thing to make sure everybody’s seeing everything and everybody is aware of the adjustments we’re making on the sidelines as we go and it’s been a fun part of it, being able to have direct contact with those guys in the heat of battle.
Q. The average length of Carson’s passes this year are the highest it’s been since 2017, probably a little higher than then, and that seems to be where many of his turnovers have come, whether he’s throwing the ball down the field or holding the ball too long. Why is that? Why is he doing that more this year? I understand before the year he said he wanted to be more aggressive down the field, is he pushing it too much in that regard? (Jeff McLane)
PRESS TAYLOR: It certainly comes down to play call, play design, in terms of our aggressiveness, of pushing the ball down the field. That’s been a concerted effort at times, but there are also times, as a quarterback, and we call it for an ideal look, it’s not the ideal look, we expect you to make the play call right and maybe that’s check the ball down to the flat. Then everybody is accountable for being where you need to be when you need to be there. That’s what really makes the passing game go and that relies on protection, every single aspect of it. There are times where we are trying to throw the ball down the field and maybe we have the ideal look and get a chance to push it, which I think we have done a little bit more of this year. Then there’s times where it’s not there and by down and distance, it calls to push the ball in the flat right now. That’s something that we are continuing to harp on with him and again, like all I can emphasize is we are excited to see where that goes in the second half of the season. I think we are moving in that direction and doing a good job of that.
Q. Looking at the season coming in, this is not the season you expected Carson to have coming out of camp. The turnovers, the completion rate at certain distances, overall, why is he at the bottom of the league in so many categories? What has happened to his play that has put him in this situation he’s in after eight games? (Les Bowen)
PRESS TAYLOR: Again, I don’t know that there’s necessarily one certain thing that I put my finger on and say this is our No. 1 issue. If that were the case, we would certainly get that corrected right away. Now there are a number of things that we kind of uncovered. We all kind of believe is something we can clean up and improve ourselves moving forward.
But the biggest issue has been our turnovers. The turnovers lead to less plays, lead to less opportunities, lead to less points and so that’s really our No. 1 focus is cleaning up the turnover ratio that we’ve had. And again, we are really excited about where we are going to go this second half of the season and we think we are on the right track in terms of identifying that and correcting that moving forward.
Q. We’ve spoken to you a few times so far about the composition of the coaching staff this year relative to past seasons. How has communication filtered to Carson on game days and during the week because it would seem like there was the potential for a lot of different opinions coming to him? (Zach Berman)
PRESS TAYLOR: I think we have done a good job of handling that and that comes down to the type of people we have on the coaching staff and everybody pushing their ego aside and everybody understanding we are trying to do the best for the team at all times. Everybody is doing a good job kind of filling their role and letting the conversation filter through — I would say it probably more so goes through [Head] Coach [Doug] Pederson first and foremost as the play caller. I think the most important thing you can do is have your play caller and quarterback be on the same page all the time and they are doing a good job of keeping that as a priority. Then the rest of us kind of filling in the roles and try to fill in the gaps of communication with Carson as we see fit and I think that’s actually been a smooth process for us so far.
Q. Carson and really the offense in general, you’ve made the right plays at the right time the last couple weeks, third quarter, fourth quarter, which ideally, you want to do that all four quarters but it’s nice to have it late. Have you been able to take stuff from what’s happening late in the game, and say we can implement this stuff earlier or why are we in a rhythm better later in the game than we have been early in the game? (Mike Garafolo)
PRESS TAYLOR: I think kind of the urgency picks up, so the tempo picks up and that’s something we have always talked about around here. We really feel like we thrive as an offense and he thrives as a quarterback when we get into these tempo situations. A lot of that starts on your what we call P-and-10, the first play of the possession, having positive yards, being able to move forward and converting that first, first down, whether it’s the first down turns into a first down, a second down, a third down, whatever it is, get in that rhythm, put the defense on their heels and being able to attack a little bit more with that mindset. Then again, that’s kind of his aggressive nature when it’s kind of those crunch time situations and the ball has to be pushed down the field, he does a good job of that. Our guys do a good job of playing with that certain urgency and making plays down the field. It’s really everybody making plays in those type of situations. You say the quarterback stepped up and did a good job in the third and fourth when we needed it, but the line has done a good job in those situations and our receivers have a sense of urgency and have risen to the challenges and made plays when they needed to.
You go back to the first Giants game, where [TE] Richard Rodgers had a big scramble play. We had solid protection on the play to [RB] Boston Scott and he makes an unbelievable catch in the corner to score there. It’s just a lot of guys rising to the challenge in certain situations and making plays when we need them.
Q. QB Jalen Hurts, how far has he come and how ready would he be to take over if something were to happen to Carson and just like what you’ve seeing from him as far as his ability to do a whole lot of different things when he’s on the field. (Martin Frank)
PRESS TAYLOR: Jalen has done a really good job in learning our system, learning kind of the rhythm, the ins-and-outs of each week within a season, seeing how game plans evolve, how the offense evolves, how you mix in personnel as it goes and he’s doing a really good job if his process right there. We are really excited about him and the development and continues to show.
Q. Along those lines, we’ve talked to you in the past about possibly a two quarterback offense, why do you think that can be effective and why do you think it has been effective — I know he’s only thrown two passes, but why do you think that’s been effective when both those guys have been in there? (Mike Kaye)
PRESS TAYLOR: I think some of those have been some un-scouted looks, whether it’s a unique formation presentation to the defense and then the value of when he comes in, until the ball is snapped, you’re not sure if he’s going to line up at quarterback, where he’s going to align on the field until really the ball is snapped and we break the huddle. I think that kind of can get to people a little bit.
I know if you go back to the Baltimore game, he kind of got a spark there in the second quarter playing quarterback and being able to run the ball and we had a gadget play that had potential for a big play. Then he comes in in the second half and the second he enters the field, they go to a zero blitz look. Then he lines up at receiver, he’s more of an eye candy on a ghost motion type thing and we are able to spit out a split zone for a huge play there, and I think that’s kind of the cat-and-mouse game a little bit of you’re not sure where he’s going to align, what role he’s going to have so you’re kind of just aware and you’re on edge a little bit. There are times where that is good. There’s also times where we are not sure how they are going to align, so you kind of want to be cautious, you want to be aggressive, you’re trying to walk that line again of are we doing too much, are we putting ourselves in a bad situation, our offensive line in a bad situation because there are some unknowns obviously. But we are very excited about the things he’s done, the things we can continue to do with him, and he’s done a good job of executing when we have asked him to do certain things.
Q. With no camp, limited camp time when you got there, back to the Jalen Hurts situation, how much of the playbook is he really capable of running, assuming he doesn’t get many first-team snaps, anyway during the week? (Howard Eskin)
PRESS TAYLOR: I don’t know if I’d put a certain number on it. Certainly, he is accountable for the entire playbook like everybody on our offense is. If he were quarterback it’s like anything, you’re going to do what he does, you’re going to call what he does well. So whether that’s a hundred percent of the playbook, 50 percent of the playbook, I don’t think I can put a number on it when we are always going to do, like we have done with any quarterback that comes into a game for us or has a chance to prepare for a game plan, we are always going to tinker our game plan to fit his strengths. [We’ll] always be conscious of the people around him, putting them in a good situation while also being conscious of who we are playing, what type of scheme we are playing and attacking. He’s done a great job of learning our playbook and everything we do and what everything means and why we are doing it. But it would always cater regardless of the quarterback, whether it’s Jalen, [QB] Nate [Sudfeld], Carson, it will always revolve around their strengths. So, I’m not sure I can put a certain number on it but whatever the game plan would be, it would be 100 percent to match his strengths.