Doug Pederson wants to keep firing deep: 'Gotta continue to work in that area'

Dan Roche
·2 min read

Pederson wants to keep firing deep: 'Gotta continue to work in that area' originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

It’s been more miss than hit for deep shots from Carson Wentz to rookie wideout John Hightower, but it’s not for lack of trying.

Wentz has aimed for Hightower more than 20 yards downfield 11 times over the past four games. More passes have landed in the hands of the other team (three) than in Hightower’s (two).

His passer rating on those throws is 28.8. For comparison, if he threw all 11 passes into the second deck, therefore incomplete, his rating would have been 39.6.

That’s… that’s not good. But Doug Pederson said Wednesday that he still sees something there.

”Hightower is open down the field,” Pederson said. “One of the things I’ve done as a play caller is called more of the shot plays with him in the game.

Hightower played ten offensive snaps in the Eagles’ last game against the Cowboys. Wentz threw to him three times, two of them deep balls. He was 0-for-3, with an interception.

In fact, Wentz’s stats throwing to anyone deep downfield, like virtually all of his other numbers in 2020, are subpar. His completion percentage on passes 20 yards or more downfield is 28.3%. The league average for last season is 47.7%. But Pederson wants his quarterback to keep firing.

“Honestly, yeah, we haven’t hit as many as I would’ve liked, but the fact that we’re getting him behind the defense and having opportunities down the field are things we can improve on. That’s the encouraging part, we have so much room to grow in that area.

We put Hightower in that position. He’s blessed with speed, he’s blessed with good ball skills… we just gotta continue to work in that area and keep throwing those balls not just in practice, but in games.”