Much has been said about Carson Wentz in the space of the last 12 months. Whether it’s valid, statistical, speculative, slander, or just pure hot-takery, the $129M man just can’t escape the spotlight. But now, he has to thrive in it.
Wentz has been here before. As a rookie, an offense led by Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz left plenty of meat on the bone. The team were involved in seven games that ended within a score, winning only one. 43 drops headlined a woefully inconsistent year on offense and the more things change, the more they stay the same.
The face of the Eagles franchise arguably looks better than he ever has from a mechanical standpoint and his passer rating reflects that. But he’s without his new favorite target in DeSean Jackson, or the safe pair of hands that is Alshon Jeffery.
Instead, Nelson Agholor (despite a resurgence late on) is struggling with drops, and Mack Hollins (who said he prefers special teams to offense) was at fault on several offensive pass interference calls as well as sustaining drops of his own. As for second-round pick JJ Arcega-Whiteside? Seven targets, two receptions, fourteen yards. In two games. Where he played the majority of snaps.
Now, it’s not over yet. DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery will return to the offense and we can all hope for the fairytale ending that sees Pederson and his aggressive fourth-down calls spearhead the group toward the promised land.
But in the meantime…
It’s time for Carson Wentz to step up as a leader. It’s difficult to really grade leadership and nobody really knows how much or how little the quarterback is doing behind the scenes. But especially after ‘that article’ (accurate or not) opened a window for self-reflection for Carson Wentz, this is the first real taste of adversity. As a rookie, when faced with a similar obstacle, it was naturally a little unrealistic to expect Wentz to put the offense on his shoulders and lift those around him. But now hes older, more mature. The receivers struggling are some of the younger players in the room and a vote of confidence from their QB will go along way.
In his post-game presser, he definitely seemed to have the right idea.
“It’s part of the game. Guys are going to drop passes.” Wentz said. “We’re going to put the ball on the ground. I’m going to throw picks. We’re going to miss reads. Things happen. Guys make mistakes. Any time somebody drops a pass or something like that I make sure I go right up to them and tell them it’s coming their way the next time and just try to keep building them up. Staying positive. Again it’s frustrating. No one wants to make mistakes but there’s nothing you can really do about it. Just have to keep building those guys up.”
One can make the argument that if the Eagles had made just 2-3 catches, they’d be 3-0. If they hadn’t dropped 7 passes on Sunday, they’d be 2-1. There’s no questioning that there’s physically no more that Carson Wentz can do. But as a mentor and a leader away from what goes on between those white lines? Only he will know. But this is why he’s paid the big bucks. To elevate those around him. To give them that confidence and to make them better. We’ve all seen how amazing Carson Wentz is on the field. But the Eagles need to see how impactful he is off of it, now more than ever.
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