Sacks are bad and, besides turnovers, are drive killers. So for several reasons, Wentz getting sacked nine times against the Eagles this past Sunday was alarming. First, nine is abnormally high, forcing the conversation about who is at fault.
The quarterback is problematic in some cases.
3rd sack of the game. I think Wentz drops the ball here, ultimately is a blame share between him & Norwell. Think this is more a pre-snap processing issue that hurts Wentz. Late in recognizing Slay playing off, has to pump because he's late. Phi DL wins again w/power & leverage. pic.twitter.com/TjYoetZ9CH— Jamual (@LetMualTellit) September 26, 2022
The offensive line is problematic in some cases
2nd sack - AG available in the flat, Wentz looks to be targeting him. Cox walks Turner back into the QB before he could even release the football. Pure bull rush, got into Turner's shoulder pads & out-leveraged Turner. I know it isn't easy, but Turner's attempt to anchor is poor. pic.twitter.com/76b80ScHMy— Jamual (@LetMualTellit) September 26, 2022
But what about other position groups?
Eagles pass rush was excellent on the 1st sack. Leno gets beat w/a pretty good move from Sweat, but Cox penetrating the interior took away Wentz's ability to avoid 94. Eagles backend played sticks & took away the mesh. Might be a different outcome if AG gets into route cleaner. pic.twitter.com/zzoLB8inkO— Jamual (@LetMualTellit) September 26, 2022
Context: The running back was Curtis Samuel, not Antonio Gibson.
Samuel struggled to get into his route, trying to squeeze between Eagles linemen Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave. Furthermore, if Samuel were to reach the flats quicker, he would be able to influence linebacker T.J. Edwards's decision-making. Edwards would either have to take Samuel or cover McLaurin, ultimately leaving Wentz with two options based on who he takes. Radio and Podcast host Craig Hoffman and I discussed another theory on the latest Hogs Haven podcast that has more to do with Samuel than it does the offensive line and quarterback.
5th sack. Would've liked for Armani Rogers to sit instead continuing on the drag away from Wentz. Hargrave was too powerful for Norwell & Graham showed great effort on Cosmi/Turner. Too much depth for Wentz? Idk. Pressure there at the top of his drop. Definitely can't fumble. pic.twitter.com/FKH4DCurMO— Jamual (@LetMualTellit) September 26, 2022
Part of being a successful receiver or tight end on the NFL level is how well you can diagnose and adjust against different coverages. In this example, Armani Rogers, to the left of tackle Charles Leno on this play, is chipping and running a drag route. However, what would help in this instance is if Rogers settled and sat in between the hashes instead of continuing his route toward the field side. In turn, sitting in the zone void creates an instant opportunity for Wentz to find Rogers quicker and get him the football. Washington may not have called for Rogers to sit on this particular route, but continuing the route would run you into the field-side flat defender for a big hit and make a much more difficult throw for Wentz.
In all, there is so much nuance in the execution of a play, and even in the examples used above, the offensive line was beaten relatively quickly. The coverage on Wentz’s sixth sack also allowed Wentz to target McLaurin on a corner route if the line gave him time. However, when a sack takes place, some layers need to be peeled back to understand why things went down the way they did. This is not to excuse how poorly the offensive line and Wentz executed; however, the Commanders offense struggled on a couple of instances that had more to do with other position groups, and it should get cleaned up.