Carson Wentz Doesn’t Deserve Criticism Regarding His Mental Toughness

NFL: SEP 20 Rams at Eagles
PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 20: Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz (11) walks off the field after an interception in the second half during the game between the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles on September 20, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

It’s no secret that the Philadelphia Eagles have hit lightning in a bottle with their 2020 second-round pick Jalen Hurts. It’s also not a secret that Carson Wentz has taken a lot of criticism for his lackluster season that resulted in his benching two weeks ago. Many questions surround Wentz’s future with the franchise, but should he be criticized to the extent that he has been?

ESPN analyst Ryan Clark spoke on ESPN’s morning show “Get Up” Monday as he commented on Hurts’ performance in the 33-26 loss to Arizona Sunday. The segment included Clark criticizing Wentz as he called him “soft” and saying he doesn’t have the “Philly toughness” that Hurts has.

This isn’t the first time Wentz’s mental toughness has been in question this season. Reports surfaced prior to Sunday surrounding his understandable frustration about being benched for Hurts, before stating that he is not willing to stay as a backup quarterback. It was also made apparent that the North Dakota State product was upset about the fact that the organization drafted Hurts in the second round.

It’s a recurring theme over the years regarding criticisms of Wentz over his leadership abilities. Similar issues occurred when Nick Foles was still on the team and how some players in the locker room preferred Foles over Wentz as the starting quarterback.

Carson Wentz is Anything But Soft

Clark’s criticism of Carson Wentz’s mental state is one that isn’t particularly backed up by facts as it’s more of an observation. Even observing Wentz’s performances over the years will back up the fact that he is as tough of a player as they come.

Back in 2017, Wentz tore his ACL against the Rams in a 43-35 win that helped position them for the number one seed in the NFC playoffs. Even though he was hurt, Wentz still played four plays and even threw a touchdown pass on the injured leg.

During part of the 2018 season, Wentz played through a back injury for multiple games before the injury kept him out of the season starting in week 15 against the Rams. The back injury ended up being a stress fracture that he played through for a portion of the season.

The 2019 season saw Wentz with multiple offensive weapons out with injuries including Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor, Darren Sproles, Zach Ertz, Jordan Howard, and Corey Clement. Losing that many players at the end of the season would be devastating for most teams. Wentz was able to put a team filled with rookies and practice squad players and turned it into an NFC East title.

This is without mentioning the endless onslaught of ‘anonymous sources’ speaking out and once more questioning the character of Wentz – something he would meet head-on in an interview with utter humility and accountability. Wentz admitted that he could’ve been more approachable/available as a teammate during his rehab in a reflective answer no quarterback in his position should have to give.

On that note, even with all of the adversity, injuries, poor production from skill-position players, and worrisome play-calling, never once has Carson Wentz thrown a teammate under the bus – even when the answer to a question was blatantly obvious. It always started with him and what he needed to change.

Even this season proved that Wentz’s mental toughness on the field goes uncredited. Before being benched, he led the league in sacks and quarterback hits. He’s also played behind a banged-up offensive line who has historically gone through more rotations than any other unit in NFL history. Despite all of this, he could be seen fighting and playing hard in every game this season.

Should Wentz be criticized for his play this season? Yes. He led the league in interceptions and recorded one of the lowest quarterback ratings in the NFL. He took too many sacks and struggled with decision making with the football. It has by far been the worst season of his NFL career.

The issue comes with questioning the toughness of a quarterback who has been the true face of the franchise. Even when benched, Wentz could be seen encouraging his teammates and helping Hurts during his first two NFL starts.

Wentz should be criticized for his play on the field, but to question his character is unfair and simply not true. While Wentz’s future with the Eagles is in jeopardy, fans should fully expect many teams to be calling about the Pro Bowl quarterback. His talent and desire to win is enough to know that he still has a chance to have a successful NFL career.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire