Eagles’ training camp is buzzing at an all-time high. The Eagles finally have a fully healthy Carson Wentz, they’ve traded for DeSean Jackson, and their defensive line is one of the best in the league despite losing two key players. It’s great but there may be one cause for concern that could define this season. Wentz’s ability to share to distribute the ball not evenly, but effectively.
No, this won’t be an injury-related talk, I’m looking at the glass half full when it comes to the Eagles QB. Although an injury can really set this team back, I believe Wentz has put the injuries behind him. Let’s focus on the task at hand. Last season, Zach Ertz finished with 116 receptions, which was not only a career-high but he also broke Jason Witten’s all-time record. Unfortunately, it came a cost. The cost was a disgruntled player voicing his opinion to a writer that needed the attention which led to an article that completely questions Wentz’ leadership.
Last season, after Ertz’ break out in receptions, the next closest receivers were Alshon Jeffery with 65 receptions and 843 receiving yards and Nelson Agholor with 64 receptions and 736 receding yards. Not too bad but then again, even with all of those stats, the offense still failed to produce at the level they did in 2017.
What’s stunning is that Jeffery’s receptions nearly halved in 2018, from the 120 he led the team with during the Super Bowl season. Zach Ertz ended with 110, Nelson Agholor with 95. Obviously the complexion of the two seasons are massively different and one could argue that in 2018, the back injury Wentz sustained may have impacted his leniance on Zach Ertz, with mobility becoming difficult and the QB rarely coming off his primary or secondary read, which was often over the middle, so Wentz didn’t have to mvoe.
Recently, Louis Riddick has come out and said that if Wentz wants to be the MVP he has to be more like Magic Johnson and less like Michael Jordan. Understandably so but In 2017, Wentz was just that. He was an efficient point guard for this Eagles offense but it was the Michael Jordan move that cost him the season in LA against his counterpart Jared Goff.
Louis Riddick, who has Wentz winning NFL MVP, on the smart side of the “Wentz needs to play more like Foles” take. pic.twitter.com/uLq58g8uch
— Joe Giglio (@JoeGiglioSports) July 26, 2019
With the addition of DeSean Jackson, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard, this team is in a very dynamic spot. They’re on the verge of greatness, a possible dynasty depending on how you look at the glass. They have to tread carefully from here on and it all starts with Wentz.
The chemistry with the receivers and their QB is crucial. One sign of how Wentz is approaching this dynamic has been the after practice sessions he’s held with his receivers. All of whom have been Jackson, Jeffery and Agholor. A key ingredient to this offensive dynamic will be DeSean Jackson. Jeffery and Agholor have never played with a receiver that demands attention like Jackson.
Entering his 12th season in the league, the 32-year-old wide receiver has finally returned to where it all began. As a young receiver, Jackson was very outspoken on and off the field. Now as a veteran, he’s tuned his tone and approach to the place he once called home. He knows what the expectations are but he’s made sure to downplay the Super Bowl talk every chance he could. His chemistry with Wentz is crucial because of the voice he will have with the WR group.
As long as Wentz learns to move and distribute efficiently throughout this loaded offense, the Eagles could be a scary sight for any defense in the league. He mentioned on Tuesday the excitement he has in Coach Pederson’s game plan for the upcoming season. He also mentioned how he can’t wait to spread the love on an offense like this and how the weapons they have can push them as far as having a 13 personnel formation. Finding the middle ground between Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan isn’t so farfetched. I mean just look at LeBron James. See, Wentz has already shown his ability to consistently do so throughout a season. Don’t believe me? Just turn on the tape.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports