Assessing Carson Wentz & the future of the Eagles QB position
Over the last year, Carson Wentz has become one of the most polarizing figures in Philadelphia. Between his subpar play this season and his radio silence since the firing of the man that brought him to the Eagles, it looks like Wentz has played his last game in midnight green. Many believe that the signal-caller wants a fresh start elsewhere, and there is some substance to that argument.
If it’s down to Bears and Colts for Carson Wentz, and his choice is one, the #Eagles QB should have leverage to influence his destination. He could simply say he won’t play for one and that should be enough. And if that team were to know, they likely won’t have to sweeten offer.— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) February 7, 2021
Wentz rode the bench to end the season and has yet to publicly welcome his new head coach Nick Sirianni to the organization. In the same notion, I can’t recall a player getting obliterated this much by the media for not saying anything. Wentz is quite literally in “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” territory, and staying quiet allows the media and fans alike to curate their own conclusions.
Regardless of all the redundant reports and speculation, it isn’t wise for the Eagles to part with their former #2 overall pick just yet. I’m aware of the risk of Wentz playing worse and subsequently losing value on the trade market, but that’s just the thing. He can’t possibly play any worse than he did in 2020:
|Completion percentage||57.4% (34th)|
|Interceptions||15 (tied for 1st)|
|Passer rating||72.8 (34th)|
We’re not absolving Carson Wentz of any blame in this situation, he was dreadful last season. That doesn’t necessarily mean Wentz is a bad quarterback altogether, he was a bad player on an equally bad team. When you have 14 different offensive line combinations that allow the quarterback to be sacked 50 times, it’s difficult to produce at any level.
Pair that with an offense that evidently didn’t cater to his strength’s and there’s a plausible reason for why Wentz may be frustrated. Not to mention the organization did Wentz no favors by adding Jalen Hurts to the equation when the Eagles were in no position to be making luxury picks.
The typical thing to do following a down year from your franchise QB is to look into ways to build around him, not ship him to another organization. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 17 TDs and 15 INTs in his 5th year, but the defense carried them to a 12-4 season so everything was fine. Peyton Manning threw 23 INTs in his 4th season leading his team to a 6-10 record; the Colts didn’t bat an eye.
That’s not to say that I believe Wentz is in the same tier as these players, but bad years do happen. Through his first 5 seasons, Wentz is on par with some of the most productive QBs we’ve seen who also went through their slumps early on:
|Carson Wentz||Donovan McNabb||Drew Brees||Tony Romo|
We are just one season removed from Wentz being one of four QBs in the NFL with 4000+ passing yards, 25+ TDs, and 10 or fewer INTs; Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, and Russell Wilson being the others. He finished the 2019 season (healthy) with 1200 yards, 7 TDs, 0 INTs, and a 100.8 passer rating in the final 4 games to take his depleted team into the postseason.
Wentz clearly has his own deficiencies, however. Fumbles continue to be an issue as he’s lost the ball 58 times in the 68 games he’s played in. Misfortune aside, he has only played in one playoff game. The regression in Wentz’s mechanics is glaring and his reluctance to take what the defense gives him hurts the team more often than not. These are all issues that can be rectified with adequate coaching, which is why the hiring of Reich’s understudy Nick Sirianni seemed to add some hope to this chronicle.
Of course, none of this matters if Wentz doesn’t want to remain in Philadelphia. And quite frankly, the Eagles have their own organizational dysfunction to blame. Regardless of the reasoning behind it, drafting a quarterback with your second-round resource when you have a laundry list of holes to fill on your roster is counterproductive.
Carson’s most trusted weapon over the years was Zach Ertz, and as vital as he was, he averaged just 2.8 yards after the catch. Wentz is the team’s second-leading rusher since 2016 behind Miles Sanders. The Eagles failed to scout accordingly and build a consistent team around Wentz, and if you don’t believe me just look at what Buffalo provided for Josh Allen.
The appropriate route to take after last season would’ve been to part ways with Howie Roseman, get a competent GM in here (John Dorsey would’ve been great), and have your Super Bowl-winning head coach and franchise QB buy into their new direction.
Instead, the Eagles retained Roseman, fired Pederson, and are now in the process of trading Wentz while sweeping all of their other complications under the rug. I personally have a hard time comprehending how these events leave anyone encouraged about the Eagles moving forward. The blatant disconnect within the organization is ignominious, to say the least.
So where does all this leave the Eagles for the future? For starters, drafting yet another QB with the #6 overall pick would be dense. The team cannot afford to get rid of Carson Wentz just to put Jalen Hurts through the same scenario. Hurts has a lot of qualities that franchises covet in a leader; he’s a proven winner, the moment never seems to be too big for him and he says all the right things.
Hurts brings a lot of explosiveness to the offense with his legs, but there was a reason he only completed 52% of his passes and went 1-3 in the four games he did play in. The roster construction in its current state is broken, and the Eagles better build accordingly around Hurts unless they want to be singing this same song next offseason.
Most rushing yards by a QB in their first two career starts:— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) December 23, 2020
• Lamar Jackson: 190 yards
• Jalen Hurts: 169 yards
• Randall Cunningham: 150 yards pic.twitter.com/fUJeHBK0ky
All fans have yearned for regarding the Eagles is QB stability. After enduring Kolb, Vick, Bradford, and Sanchez (some can go as far back as Hoying, Detmer, and AJ Feeley), the city was thrilled to finally have a franchise QB. Most of us latched ourselves onto Wentz because he was seemingly the solution at the position for the next 10-12 years, and now he’s all but out the door.
Sadly enough, I don’t think this toxic cycle is going to end anytime soon, no matter who is under center. A revolving door at quarterback isn’t something any team should tolerate, but the Eagles seem more than willing to do so.
Carson Wentz | Every Career TD
Mandatory Credit: Mitchell Leff | Getty Images