By Pete Baxter
What to do with Carson Wentz? To help put things in perspective and answer that question, let’s take a quick look at the trajectory of this man’s career.
Carson Wentz started off with a solid rookie year, headlined by a rookie record 379 pass completions and a franchise record 607 pass attempts. His 16 touchdowns and 3,000 yards through the air were enough to maintain the mediocre status quo of the team at the time at 7 and 9 for a second straight year, the first with head coach Doug Pederson after Chip Kelly’s dismissal.
Flash forward to year two, and Wentz took off to an MVP caliber run through 13 games of his sophomore year before succumbing to injury. Wentz went 11 and 2 as a starter and tossed 33 touchdowns over that span. His completion percentage did take a notable dip, though, to just over 60%, a small red flag in an otherwise outstanding season. Despite missing the last three games of the season and the playoffs, he would win a ring that year thanks to some Nick Foles heroics and a Philly special.
Wenz entered season three with exceptionally high expectations, as he had proven himself to be an elite quarterback the season prior. Despite Foles’ outstanding play down the stretch and in the playoffs the previous year, it was a no brainer that Wentz returned to his starting gig early in the season when he returned from injury. However, Wentz never really seemed to be 100%, finishing with a starting record of 5 and 6 before getting shut down for the season with a back injury. Foles finished the season for the team once again, before eventually moving on the Jaguars in the offseason. Wentz, through this up-and-down season, did have his highest career completion percentage of 69.6%, with a strong touchdown to interception ration of 21 to 7.
Season four began and Wentz got paid, signing an extension through 2024 with $107 million guaranteed. For the second time in his career, Wentz received mention in MVP conversations. He set a franchise record with 4,039 yards passing with 27 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, with almost no help on offense. In classic Eagles fashion harkening back to Donovan McNabb’s glory days with James Thrash and Todd Pinkston, no wide receiver caught more than 500 yards. Wentz put the team on his back and led the Eagles to a winning record at 9 and 7 and a playoff berth, though he was knocked out with a concussion early in a loss to the Seahawks in a Wildcard matchup.
And here we are in season five, with the wheels having abruptly fallen off. Wentz has the Eagles at 3-4-1 and has thrown as many interceptions as touchdowns while displaying some truly atrocious decision making, sprinkling in occasional passes that make you remember this guy was an MVP candidate just a season ago. Carson Wentz personally has more turnovers than the majority of TEAMS in the NFL, which is almost impressive. There are calls to bench him and replace him with rookie Jalen Hurts.
So what to do with Mr. Wentz? Without hesitation, I boldly respond NOTHING. Hold the line, Dougie P.
The Eagles are going to win this division. With Dak Prescott injured, even at his absolute worst (and this is his absolute worst), Carson Wentz in far and away the best quarterback in the NFC East and will take this team to the playoffs. Danny Dimes won’t catch them (even if he does he will trip over his own feet, HA), Kyle Allen and the ghost of Alex Smith won’t catch them, and whatever hitchhiker the Cowboys pick up to play QB next week won’t catch them.
We have also seen Carson Wentz be good. We have even, for stretches, seen Carson Wentz be great. We saw some of these flashes of greatness just one year ago. He is just 27 years old, big, strong, fast, has a cannon for an arm and there is no reason to believe he is declining. He is a true talent and a franchise quarterback.
Doug Pederson is a great coach, who just a couple years ago took down Belichick and Brady with Nick freaking Foles. This season is going to be ugly. Wentz is in a slump, yes. The team is not very talented, particularly on offense. However, they are going to win the division. They are going to make the playoffs. They are at rock bottom, but they are going to climb.
Patience is not a popular word in the NFL, I understand that. However, Eagles fans need to remember some of that patience that kept them waiting more than 60 years to win a Superbowl. There are not a lot of teams with 27-year old quarterbacks capable of MVP level performances. There is no evidence to show that Jalen Hurts is that guy, and I can only guess based on Doug Pederson’s aversion to using him, he is not showing it at practice either. There is no one available at this point who will be any sort of upgrade. The Eagles are not bad enough to get Trevor Lawrence in the draft, and late round Tom Bradies don’t grow on trees.
Wentz is the guy. Ride this out, Eagles fans, and enjoy your free playoff berth. Trust Pederson to regroup in the offseason and come back strong. I fully expect Wentz to return to form. This too shall pass.
Agree? Disagree? Couldn’t care less? Let me know! And as always, thanks for reading!