When the Eagles announced before the season that rookie Carson Wentz would be the starting quarterback, Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo instinctively got excited.
“You look at the schedule and all of a sudden they put a rookie quarterback in there early,” Spagnuolo said. “Everyone gets excited about playing a rookie quarterback if you are on defense.”
But after watching Wentz complete 65.8 percent of his passes for 1,526 yards, nine touchdowns and three interceptions in the first seven games, Spagnuolo is less excited about facing the rookie on Sunday.
“He doesn’t look like a rookie quarterback to me,” Spagnuolo said. “He really doesn’t. Not the way he functions.”
Spagnuolo said he was instantly impressed with Wentz’s ability to throw the ball while moving to his left.
“He throws the ball as good going left as I have ever seen a right-handed quarterback do it,” Spagnuolo said.
Spagnuolo’s players share his respect for Wentz.
“You put the film on and you wouldn’t think that he’s a rookie quarterback just watching the plays, how he progresses into his throws,” defensive end Olivier Vernon said. “Just the decision making that he makes. He’s a good player. Good football player. We have a good game to look forward to.”
Here are some additional notes from the coordinators on Thursday:
•Linebacker Devon Kennard was used as an edge rusher in passing situations for the first time in the Giants’ win over the Rams before the bye. Spagnuolo liked what he saw from Kennard in that role.
“A little bit of it has been dictated by what the offense puts out for personnel,” Spagnuolo said. “I was very happy with what he did over in London in some passing situations, so we need to get him oiled up.”
•The Giants haven’t tipped their hand on any changes at running back coming out of the bye. But if rookie Paul Perkins doesn’t see a spike in snaps, it will likely be a result of pass protection concerns.
“He’s got the big sombrero in terms of the adjustments and how Eli (Manning) can change the protection,” offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said. “If a guy can’t do that and he can do the other things, that’s going to limit the opportunities. I think he’s shown some progress and some versatility in being able to run it, catch it and a primary for us to protect the quarterback.”
•Punt returner Dwayne Harris has fair-caught two punts inside the 10-yard line this season. Special teams coordinator said there isn’t a hard-and-fast cut-off point for fair catches.
“Some punters, it bounces at the 6 and now you’re starting at the 2,” Quinn said. “Try and preserve as much field position as you can. We always say around the 8. You have to know where you are. Obviously you don’t want to get back there, catch it, try to return it and have something bad happen. You have to make good decisions, which he’s done for the most part. You can’t always bank that it’s going to bounce into the end zone. With the Aussie punt, that usually bounces back.”