There is no denying Carson Wentz is a special player. The guy makes plays a lot of quarterbacks around the NFL cannot make, and for Eagles fans it makes Sundays fun again! However, as I have been watching Carson Wentz this season and hearing news around the league there is one thing that looms in the back of my mind when I watch Wentz leave the pocket and take off on a scramble, what would happen to this 6-1 team if Wentz took that hit too hard or took that fall to the turf too awkwardly? This is why I feel Carson Wentz needs to be more cautious while scrambling out of the pocket.
It’s something that Doug Peterson was asked about earlier this week in his press conference.
“Well, the dives — I’m okay with the dives because they are normally full steam ahead and he’s usually in the — about to be tackled and he kind of goes down underneath or at least gets hit sort of on the back of the pads.” Pederson said.
“And the slide typically comes in when guys are in front of you and where you can just slide and go down. And we’re conscious of that. We try to have conversations with him to just protect himself when he’s in the open field, and he did a nice job a couple times scrambling, getting himself out of bounds, too, protecting himself there. But by no means do you want to hinder any of his aggressiveness when he runs.”
There are 4 Quarterbacks right now that have started over 100 consecutive games. Those Quarterbacks are as followed: Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers, Matt Ryan, and Matt Stafford. What do all 4 of these Quarterbacks have in common? They do not run, and if they do it is rare but they are all very good at protecting themselves from big hits. Eli Manning has started 218 games in a row for the New York Giants, Phillip Rivers has started 193 games in a row for the Los Angeles Chargers, Matt Ryan has started 128 games in a row for the Atlanta Falcons, and Matt Stafford has started 105 games in a row for the Detroit Lions. These Quarterbacks together have combined for an impressive 4 rushing yards a game during those consecutive starts. Now let’s discuss the other side, the quarterbacks who do run or move outside of the pocket.
There are 5 quarterbacks that stick out in my mind right now that have suffered the consequences of not being more cautious when outside of the pocket, Marcus Mariota, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannelhill, and Aaron Rodgers. All 5 of those quarterbacks are arguably franchise quarterbacks and have all missed significant time with an injury. Marcus Mariota missed the end of the 2016 season with his leg injury, and missed time in 2017 with a hamstring injury. Cam Newton missed time in 2016 with a shoulder injury and missed time in 2014 with a rib injury. Andrew Luck has yet to play a game this season with a shoulder injury and also missed time in 2016 with a concussion. Ryan Tannelhill is missing the entire 2017 season with a torn ACL and missed time in 2016 with a knee injury. Aaron Rodgers is missing most of the 2017 season with a broken collarbone and missed most of the 2013 season with the same injury. These 5 quarterbacks are all immensely talented but lack the trait of being cautious while running or being outside of the pocket. I don’t want Carson Wentz, who has already had a rib injury in 2016 that kept him out of the preseason and a wrist injury at NDSU in 2015, to end up as one of the immensely talented quarterbacks who cannot stay healthy.
It’s safe to say that as time goes on, teams are going to be more and more prepared to deal with the dual-threat attack. Wentz certainly became more and more comfortable in and out of the pocket as his rookie year wore on…and the proof is in the pudding. In the first eight games of the season, Wentz rushed for 36 yards. In the final eight? Wentz rushed for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns. Through seven games this season, Wentz already has 150 rushing yards and just 6 less rushing attempts than the entirety of last year.
“A lot of the times I’m on the sideline telling him to slide, because sometimes he just goes for the extra two yards.” Eagles Safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “It’s fun to watch him; he’s an exciting and electric player, and obviously he has a lot of eyes on him around the league.”
Wentz doesn’t seem to be too phased about taking hits or the entire sliding conversation. “There is a time and a place, for sure. There is a time and place.” The franchise QB said after Monday Night’s win. ” I think I did have the one slide early. There is a time and place to go out of bounds, all those things. You just have to be smart.”
Carson Wentz is everything that the Eagles fan base have asked him to be and more this season. I am not asking for Wentz to change his play style, I am not asking for him to end being aggressive, and I am sure not asking him to stop making those dazzling plays with his legs. However, I am pleading that he be more cautious when outside of the pocket or taking off up field and stop taking those monster hits. He is the most important player to this franchise and they have a special season started in Philadelphia. Just like the other Eagles’ fans out there, I just want our Quarterback to stay healthy and lead this special group of men deep into some January football.
Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports