From #2 overall pick to #2 QB, this is the story of how the Philadelphia Eagles destroyed the best thing to happen to them in over a decade: Carson Wentz.
Carson Wentz starts hot
This is where the volatility really kicked in for Wentz after a rookie season of promise. Howie Roseman orchestrated a masterful offseason to surround Wentz with the playmakers that the offense needed to thrive and the best O-line in Football.
Wentz spent the offseason working with QB Guru Adam Dedeaux in a bid to improve his footwork fundamentals and the results were mesmerizing. The second-year QB looked like a Gazelle in the pocket, constantly resetting his feet, throwing from a firm base, and adding some structure to his Houdini-esque talents.
The result was an MVP season that never was. Through 14 weeks, Wentz was invincible. 33 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, and 3,296 yards fail to really highlight just how impressive Wentz was in his second year. As we all know, it was a year he never got to finish.
Wentz tore his ACL in that week 14 matchup against the Rams in a daredevil attempt to punch the ball into the end zone. Nick Foles entered the game and ensured the team that drafted him back in 2012 got the win.
The rest is history.
Nick Foles takes the stage
Foles, who was previously best known for a second-year breakout of his own back in 2013 where he threw 7 touchdown passes against the Raiders, would go on to lead an overlooked Eagles team all the way to the Super Bowl and then go one step further and hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
All Carson Wentz could do was be supportive for his teammates and watch from the sideline as his backup QB, a former fan-favorite put the icing on his Cake.
It had to have stung, but it’s part of the business. Injuries happen, his team did what they set out to do as a collective. Wentz would be back in 2018 and everything would be normal again, right?
The snowball begins to roll
This is where the list of minor issues begin to snowball. Before Wentz even had a chance to get into the building, the euphoria surrounding one of the greatest underdog stories in sporting history had engulfed the City. A statue of Pederson and Foles calling the ‘Philly special’ was erected outside the Linc later that year, cementing its legacy. The story of Nick Foles and his footballing transformation was the talk of the town. It’s less than ideal, but again, not the end of the world.
Where the issues really kicked in were during the heart of the offseason. Unable to physically practice due to his rehab, Carson Wentz spent a chunk of Training Camp watching from a distance. The team that had spent every game from week 15 through to the Super Bowl working with Nick Foles as QB1 under a simplified scheme was about to do so again. Receivers were used to his timing, placement, rhythm, and overall presence.
Carson Wentz returns
Wentz hurried himself back from injury to take over from the offense in week 3 and would fight valiantly to get back on the same page with his offense.
A 5-6 record was good enough to put the Eagles in a position to win the NFC East, and a stunning 69% completion percentage headlined a slightly more conservative QB who was well aware of the consequences that his daredevil play could bring. Wentz tossed 21 touchdowns and 7 picks along with 3,074 yards before something interesting happened.
Wentz ended the season IR. After battling a back injury all season and being listed on the injury report twice, the pain grew too much and he was diagnosed with a stress fracture on December 11th.
It didn’t require surgery, but you can draw a direct correlation to some mechanical struggles Wentz had that season to his torn ACL. Wentz was often throwing off his back foot and having to over-exert his torso to generate the power lost which may well have led to some problems.
Anonymous sources vs Carson Wentz: EP1
In the weeks prior to his designation, tensions started to rise. The first in the ‘anonymous source’ saga saw a player criticize Wentz to ESPN’s Josina Anderson for targeting Zach Ertz too much. Ertz was easily the most targeted player on the team (156 to his name by season’s end with Nelson Agholor the closest to him with 97), but it’s not like it was without reason.
This wouldn’t matter anyway for a few months. The Eagles had a playoff berth to secure and a Lombardi Trophy to defend.
Nick Foles took back over against the same team he did in the year beforehand and the same result ensued. The Eagles started to roll and all of a sudden, things started to change.
With a playoff berth in reaching distance, the ski-masks were donned and the underdog mentality was embraced. Interestingly, ahead of the Houston Texans matchup, a shrine to Nick Foles was created inside the locker room as a ‘good luck charm’. Harmless fun? Maybe. Morale booster? For everyone except the man who had to watch him win a Super Bowl and guide that team to glory, get a statue outside the stadium and now looking to repeat that same miracle, maybe.
The Eagles made the playoffs but their journey ended in heartbreak this time. With time running out and a chance to pull of yet another miracle, Foles tried to guide the offense down the field in New Orleans, but a rare mistake from Alshon Jeffery saw a pass tipped into the air and safely into the hands of Marshon Lattimore. Hopes ended. Dreams shattered. Controversy ensued.
Continued on the page below.
Photo credits: Icon Sportswire