It was only a little over a year ago that Carson Wentz signed a groundbreaking $128-million contract, making him temporarily the highest paid QB in the NFL. After an incredible end to the 2019 campaign, Wentz entered the offseason healthy and with a brand new army of offensive weapons at his disposal. Fast forward six months and nearly every weapon has either missed time or is currently out, and the offensive line may as well not exist. Unfortunately, while these are factors in declining play, they can’t be used as blanket excuses. Carson Wentz has been terrible and the Eagles need to do something about it.
The sense of urgency was never there before. Why would it be? Carson Wentz is a human, he’s bound to have slumps in play. There was previously no sign he’d ever sink into a hole too deep to climb out of, because all the face of the franchise ever seems to do is claw his way back from the brink and overcome every piece of adversity. But we’re now eight weeks into an NFL season where he’s weighing the Eagles down just as much as any other factor contributing to a miserable year.
Wentz turned the ball over four times on Sunday. A pair of interceptions and a pair of fumbles against a Dallas defense who had just one pick all year up to that point kind of summarized the recklessness that has hounded Wentz this season.
The worrying part is, this is nothing new. He’s had 55 fumbles since entering the NFL in 64 games, but even that ridiculous total should be inflated. Even before entering the NFL, Jon Gruden put the-then NDSU prospect through his QB camp, pleading with him to become a ‘two-handed monster’ due to ball security issues. The advice fell on deaf ears and since day one, Wentz has developed a habit of desperately throwing the ball away when being sacked or hit. This largely went unpunished and sometimes even found a teammate, but it’s hurting him now and the same response from both coach and quarterback is wearing thin.
“We understand we can’t turn the ball over, bottom line.” Doug Pederson said after the loss to Dallas. “We can’t turn the ball [over]. We’re too good. We have got too much responsibility for everybody, me included, that we’ve just got to take ownership of it. We can’t do the things that we’re doing in order to really survive in this league.”
Survival is the key term here. Wentz is averaging 4.9 net yards per play, ranking 31st in the NFL. That number was 5.9 in 2019. He ranks 31st in completion percentage with 58%, ahead of nobody but Drew Lock. Between 2017-2019, Wentz had an interception rate of 1.5%. This year, it has sky-rocketed to 3.9%. He leads the NFL with 12 picks, Kirk Cousins is second with 10.
The good news is – it’s clearly all coachable.
The bad news is – it’s clearly all coachable and isn’t being coached.
At some point in time, the finger-pointing has to turn to Press Taylor and the rebuilt coaching committee on offense for allowing this play to go unpunished and undeveloped. Carson Wentz is putting his team in bad spots and is doing so without any other variable playing a factor. He’s just playing extremely poorly right now and looks like a shadow of his former self. Why we aren’t seeing game-to-game improvements or subtle changes is confounding.
Even on his better days this season, they have still been far from excellent. It’s just that the bar is so low, any game that doesn’t feature an interception or he doesn’t blindly throw into double coverage is regarded as masterful.
The Eagles spent a lot of money on Carson Wentz and for good reason. He does have elite potential, we’ve all seen it time and time again. But if the QB coach cannot iron out the most basic of processing errors, mechanical inconsistencies, and mental aggression, then it’s time to find someone who will. Taylor might have helped facilitate the ‘Philly special’, but he’s now creating the ‘Philly collapse’ and has a huge hand in the downfall of Carson Wentz.
With Jalen Hurts looming in the background, one has to wonder just what kind of performance Wentz needs to put up for Doug Pederson to pull the plug. The bottom line is it should never get to that. The scary part is, unless something drastically changes in-house to come down harder on a quarterback who is slipping so far away from the signal-caller he used to be, it just might.