The Philadelphia Eagles knew it the moment they drafted him. Carson Wentz was going to be the leader of their franchise for years to come. But then the injury happened last season, and the Eagles took home the Lombardi Trophy without him, and the doubts began to set it. Should the Eagles turn to Nick Foles or give the ball back to Wentz?
After sitting out the first two games of the 2018 season, Wentz would return to an unfamiliar offense. Instead of handing off to LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi, Wentz is now forced to watch Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement, and Josh Adams take turns eating up yards and the clock. What a difference a year makes.
As far as passing goes, Wentz lost Torrey Smith and Trey Burton but still have Nelson Aghlor, Alshon Jeffery, and Zach Ertz. It’s early in his career, but Wentz and the Eagles’ system has the QB on par with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers’ system.
As accomplished as Rodgers has been over his career, he has always lacked a safety net.
What Rodgers has gone through in Green Bay, Wentz is now feeling his pain. Since coming back from injury in Week 3, Wentz has been on a tear. He’s regained his 2017 MVP form, but the Eagles as a team have not been as dominant as they once were. With a 4-4 record, many are questioning if their Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots was a fluke.
This is not a knock on Carson Wentz, but one on the playcalling of the Philadelphia Eagles. What has haunted the Eagles this season, is their lack of a ground game. The stats will show that the Eagles have rushed for 100+ yards in five of their eight games this year. However, there are instances in games where the Eagles are 3rd, and 1 and they’re in the shotgun formation. Why?
This is when they miss Blount the most. Watching Wentz line up in that formation is the same as watching the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers. I get the reasoning behind it. Rodgers, for his career, has completed 64.9 percent of his passes while Wentz has completed 63.1 (70.4 in 2018). But this is where the Eagles must be careful not to get too comfortable with such an accurate passer.
Doug Pederson is a gambler. Always has been and why not? With QBs like Wentz and Rodgers leading the charge, any coach will be. But should they be forced to gamble so much? Rodgers has had his fair share of 100-yard rushers throughout the years. So, why such a heavy emphasis on throwing when the situation doesn’t call for it?
Case in point is the deal the Eagles pulled off before the trade deadline ended this past Tuesday. Instead of going for a CB or a big-body RB, the Eagles snagged yet another WR in Golden Tate. Does this not remind you of another team?
For years, the Packers have searched for ways to shore up their defense and ground game. Instead of doing just that, they have brought in a pass-catching TE in Jimmy Graham and have continued to surround Rodgers with passing weapons instead of what’s truly needed. In the end, the stats will look good, but what does Rodgers have to show for it?
Are The Philadelphia Eagles Doing Right By Carson Wentz?
The measure of a great QB has always been winning. From Joe Montana to Terry Bradshaw to Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. We have measured their greatness by Super Bowl rings. Look at Troy Aikman. His three rings for the Dallas Cowboys has easily overshadowed his subpar passing stats.
Then you have players like Dan Marino and Philip Rivers. Both are/were great passers, but winning has eluded them. Now, to be fair, Rodgers has a championship under his belt while Wentz does not. The conversation has always been Brady vs. Rodgers for NFL’s best QB over the last five to six years. Rodgers has the stats to hang with Brady, but Brady has the rings.
Nowadays, the word “greatest” is tossed around so much that it has lost its true meaning. This is my biggest fear of what can become of Carson Wentz. He’s so good that Pederson believes he can win every game with his arm. While that might be true, all the Eagles have to do is glance over at Green Bay and see that’s not the case.
If Rodgers’ career is not a testament to that, then look at Drew Brees. The New Orleans Saints’ signal caller is crushing all NFL records this year, but he has that one ring to show for it. There’s no reason that Wentz can’t become the next Brady. The Eagles have shown they’re willing to spend what they must to win, but they have?
There’s no debating that Aaron Rodgers is set for the Hall of Fame when he hangs his cleats up. And the way that Wentz is playing, he’s sure to follow. But the Philadelphia Eagles must ask themselves what’s more important, the wins or the stats?