“You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” The words of Harvey Dent in one of the most iconic superhero movies of our time, The Dark Knight. It seems fitting for a moment like this, a time where as an Eagles fan, you’d hope would never come but it’s here. Since 2016, the Eagles have committed themselves to the former number two overall pick, Carson Wentz. A commitment that has had is a fair share of ups and downs.
Wentz hit the scene by surprising the league and leading the Eagles to a 3-0 start. The world saw him battle back against the Ravens as he juked former NFL Safety, Eric Weddle. We saw the wheel route work to perfection as Wentz passed to it Sproles for a touchdown against the Steelers. His rookie season showed Philadelphia that the Eagles selected the right QB out of the 2016 Draft.
Fortunately, it got better from there. In 2017, Wentz hit the ground running and was, in my eyes, the best QB in football. Hands down, there was no debate. He led his team to a mind-blowing start with eleven wins and only two losses but while Wentz and the Eagles were standing tall on the highest mountain, the star QB was taken out of the season due to a torn ACL. Unfortunately, this is where the nightmare began for the Eagles.
It was amazing to see Foles step up in the playoffs, but you’re lying to yourself if you believed he would do so after the way he played against the Raiders that year. There was no way anyone saw this coming until Pederson changed the way the offense played. As the story unfolds, Foles led the Eagles to their first-ever Super Bowl win but in doing so, chaos was created.
Some have gone on to say that Wentz hasn’t been the same since 2017. His mechanics have been off, his timing has been off, and maybe he’s formed trust issues with the offense around him or even a change in coaching staff to a certain extent thanks to a shortened offseason that involved nothing but rehabbing that torn ligament. In 2018, Wentz rushed back from said injury, which led to a broken vertebra in his lower back, another injury that took the QB out for the season.
Last season though, we saw two versions of Carson Wentz. Early on, we saw the QB who was pushing to find his form while also trying to find targets to rely on. Wentz struggled from week 2 to week 13 and there was no way to hide it. The Eagles were on a downward spiral and were almost out of contention for the playoffs until that very moment happened after the loss to the Miami Dolphins.
Wentz flipped the switch to his pre-injury form. He led the team to a 4-0 finish and the NFC East Division title. He had a passer rating of 97.5, 109.3, 108.2, and 88.4 during that final stretch. He also passed for 1,199 yards and 7 touchdowns with no interceptions. Wentz was on a tear without any of his starting WR’s. In fact, only two QB’s passed for over 4,000 yards and led their teams to the playoffs without a 1,000-yard receiver. One was Carson Wentz and the other was Super Bowl MVP, Patrick Mahomes.
This leads us into why this year is so important for Carson Wentz. Currently, Wentz isn’t viewed as one of the top QB’s in the NFL. Media will blame it on his injuries and missed games and while there are many ways to counter that statement, the fact of the matter is that Wentz has yet to play four quarters of a playoff game. The league is going through a change right now., there’s so many up and coming young QB’s that have become extremely appealing to represent the league, and somewhere in the midst of the chaos lies Carson Wentz.
Wentz is on a crossroad right now, he’s had a great career thus far but has yet to find his consistent level of play. He’s shown us plays of pure brilliance but has also made us scratch our head as well. It doesn’t help that Wentz hasn’t had a decent receiving core or even a healthy one since 2017 either. Missing out on playing in the grandest stage of them all certainly stung, but time moves quickly.
2020 will be the 5th season for Carson Wentz and hands down the most important. The Eagles will get a healthy DeSean Jackson to start the season and they’ve restocked their WR group with new talent like veteran Marquise Goodwin and the rookies: Jalen Reagor, John Hightower, and Quez Watkins. They’ll also have last year’s hero in Greg Ward and a determined J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, as well as a seemingly reformed Alshon Jeffery who is recovering from an injury. That’s 8 targets that could potentially be very vital to Wentz’s success this season.
He’ll also finally have a consistent run game thanks to a star in the making named Miles Sanders, who will be supported by Corey Clement and Boston Scott. We now know that all of these backs can be used in the passing game as well. Sanders actually had more receiving yards last season than all of the wide receivers.
Not only have the Eagles loaded up on targets for Wentz but they’ve also shaken up the Coaching staff for the offense. They’ve promoted Press Taylor to the passing game coordinator and added the likes of Rich Scangarello, Marty Mornhinweg, and Andrew Breiner.
The blueprint is set, the stage will be as well. Carson has everything he needs to help him and this offense succeed. He showed what he could do when he trusted in the practice squad players last season, he’s shown what we could do when he’s had healthy receivers as well, now there may be no room for error for Wentz. Unless the Eagles face a similar collapse in health like what transpired last season, Carson Wentz will be expected to take the leap into one of the NFL’s elite QBs. If he doesn’t, well then the Eagles did draft Jalen Hurts…
Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports