How should Eagles fans look back on the Carson Wentz era?

SANTA CLARA, CA – OCTOBER 04: Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz (11) calls an audible during the NFL football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers on October 4, 2020 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. (Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire)

It feels like only yesterday that Carson Wentz was drafted with the second overall pick. It’s hard to forget the excitement that came with every trade-up, knowing that the Eagles would finally have a quarterback they could lean on. For the most part, they did…until they leaned a little too hard.

There’s so much to unpack when discussing the Carson Wentz era that it almost becomes difficult to find a place to begin. Of course, the very origins of his tenure in Philadelphia tell the tale of a rookie quarterback turning up to the NovaCare Complex a week earlier than everyone else in a bid to build chemistry with Jordan Matthews. That was ultimately who Wentz was – quiet. Nothing he did was ever for the clout, for the retweets, or for legions of TikTok followers. Wentz just put his head down and got to work, knowing it bettered the team and himself.

During his first year with the Eagles, Wentz broke multiple NFL and Eagles rookie records, including most pass attempts and completions of all time. That would be a sign of things to come, but we somehow never talk about it.

We could sit here and talk for hours about one of the strangest ‘rise and fall’ stories in NFL history. One riddled with anonymous sources, character concerns, fractured relationships, and of course, injuries. But the problem in doing that is it would be doing exactly what Howie Roseman did – simply adding to the problem.

The Eagles had it cozy with Wentz. Everyone remembers his iconic 2017 campaign. The mesmerizing footwork, the cannon confidence, and the resilience to go back into a game on a torn ACL and throw a touchdown. That’s who Carson Wentz was. The question we faced in 2020 was one of who Carson Wentz is now.

Was it the drafting of Jalen Hurts? Was it the buddy-buddy relationship with Press Taylor? Was it the expectations of being the $128 Man? Perhaps it was a combination of all of the above and a whole lot more, but on the field, Wentz regressed in a frankly shocking way.

The more he struggled, the more he took full accountability, refusing to blame an offensive line that allowed him to be sacked more than any other QB in the NFL not named Russell Wilson. or the gameplan that abandoned the run week after week. Through all the noise, adversity, and setbacks, Wentz remained the same man he always was – calm, composed, accountable.

It’s puzzling then that the endless barrage of slander against his name painted him out to be an egotistical maniac who had his heart set on doing things way. What’s equally puzzling is that teammates were no longer the ones making these reported accusations. They’d all bought into Wentz after he bought into them just one season before where he carried a dead beast on his shoulders to an NFC East title.

In fact, during that 2019 campaign, Wentz became the third QB in NFL history to throw a TD in every single game and have 7 or fewer picks to his name. That kind of production should not die off overnight.

What followed was a year of utter chaos. A broken offensive coordinator positioned that did the total opposite of their intent, a drafted QB, a weak offense, and a Head Coach beginning to lose his grips on the team as the glue came unstuck.

The world, wanting vocal answers, gradually turned their backs Carson Wentz after he said absolutely nothing during an offseason where his name was being tossed around NFL bully circles for fun. Why wouldn’t he stand up and say he’s all-in on the Eagles? Why didn’t he speak about Pederson’s firing?

Could you imagine if he had?

Nobody outside of the NovaCare Complex really knows the ins and outs of the downfall endured by Carson Wentz. But for fans, remembering him for all of the negatives surrounding his name would do his tenure in Philadelphia a massive disservice.

Instead, remembering the ‘G-money’ and ‘Small-world’ nicknames, the goofy outfits, and Favre-like tendencies on the field is far more productive. Carson Wentz produced some of the most breathtaking moments fans have witnessed in over a decade and regardless of whether or not he was at fault fully, partially, or not at all for his downward spiral, nobody can take that away.

For five years Eagles fans were treated to quarterback play worthy of cheers. The carousel had stopped spinning and Wentz, through his selfless acts off the field, and his stunning ability on it, had brought a sense of stability to Philadelphia – a player fans can hang their hat on.

How we got to this point is irrelevant. The Carson Wentz era is over and the NDSU product gets a fresh start with a new team built on incredibly strong foundations. He may well thrive and leave a bitter taste in the mouth of Howie Roseman…but there is no reason why fans should have that same experience.