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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings know Carson Wentz can have success if he throws passes quickly

By Derek Wetmore

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – When the Vikings were preparing for games against Marcus Mariota, Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers, the defenders pointed out all week that a “contained rush” would be critical to shutting down the offense. Over-pursue, and risk getting burned by that QB’s mobility.

Slightly different story with Eli Manning.

And it’s anyone’s guess what the defense needed to have ready for Brock Osweiler and his bag of tricks.

Now, as they prepare for Eagles rookie, Carson Wentz, the theme that kept popping up Monday was how quickly he gets rid of the ball.

As Minnesota fans have seen with Philly’s former quarterback, Sam Bradford, a quick and efficient passing game can be a way to mitigate opposing pressure and keep drives alive by not taking negative plays and exploiting holes in coverage on shorter or intermediate routes.

In five starts this year, Wentz has helped lead the Eagles to a 3-2 start, including a disappointing one-point loss to the Lions in Week 5 and another L in Washington this week , in which he had his worst game as a pro. Overall, Wentz has completed 102 of his 157 passes (65 percent), with a 7:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. His 7.6 yards per attempt currently ranks 12 among all NFL quarterbacks, sandwiched between Eli Manning and Carson Palmer. (Bradford’s 7.92 YPA ranks 6th.)

Wentz, according to Pro Football Focus research, is in the middle of the pack when it comes to average time from snap to release. But his rating is best when he’s getting the ball out quickly, and takes a significant tumble if he holds onto the football for longer than 2.5 seconds, according to PFF. Finally, before his Week 6 setback against Washington, Wentz led all quarterbacks in adjusted completion percentage, which factors in drops and throwaways.

All that is to say that Wentz has been impressive in the early goings for a rookie out of a school that rarely is in the college football spotlight, North Dakota State.

“It seems like he understands where the ball is going – quickly,” head coach Mike Zimmer said. “He has done a nice job of avoiding pressure in the pocket and using his athletic ability, and he has got a great arm. He looks very accurate to me. He has got a great deep ball. So, he has been impressive.”

Those are the traits Philadelphia’s front office was looking at when they decided it was an OK time to trade Sam Bradford to the Vikings for a first-round pick and more, just days before the regular season was supposed to begin with Bradford as their Day 1 starter.

“He gets the ball out quick and he’s efficient,” linebacker Anthony Barr said. “He’s a good athlete back there – I didn’t realize that about him being able to move a little bit. It’s going to be a challenge for us but I think we’ll be up to it.”

Barr said that when a quarterback is good at doing that, the way to counteract it isn’t overly complicated.

“When [they’re] getting the ball out you’ve just got to play tight coverage and force them to drop back, force them to run those longer routes. … If we don’t stop the quick game, they’re going to keep it going the entire game, so I think that will be a point of emphasis going forward,” Barr said.

Stick coverage. Give the rush time to hit home. Pressure the quarterback into making rushed reads or bad throws.

It sounds simple. And so far this year, the Vikings defense has been making it look simple, too, even if it’s not.

Washington limited Wentz and the Eagles’ offense by getting pressure with their front four and forcing Wentz to make downfield throws. You can bet Zimmer and his staff will have some blitzes dialed up Sunday in an effort to confuse the first-year quarterback.

The post Vikings know Carson Wentz can have success if he throws passes quickly appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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