Carson Wentz Shouldn’t Have to Prove Anything to Eagles Fans

Photo credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

At the risk of constructing the straw man and then knocking him over, I’ll say this:

I feel like I’m hearing a LOT of talk about Carson Wentz and this need to “prove himself” to Eagles fans or the NFL community at large. Surely you’re hearing this too, right? It’s a “huge year” for Carson and blah blah blah, as if the Eagles aren’t going to give him a long term extension anyway.

Common threads I spot on social media or hear on sports radio go something like this:

  1. Wentz needs to prove that the Birds’ front office made the right choice by keeping him over Nick Foles
  2. he needs to prove that he is not “injury prone”
  3. he needs to prove that 2017 was not a fluke

Let’s actually go backwards and address those charges in reverse order.

Narrative #3:

I honestly feel like people forget how good Carson was in 2017, his sophomore NFL season. He was, truly, playing at an MVP level before going out with the ACL tear against the Rams, his final action that year a 3rd quarter touchdown pass on a shredded knee. If that’s not enough to earn a fan’s eternal respect and trust, consider the following, after the jump:

  • Wentz was 11-2 as a starter that season
  • he threw 33 touchdowns and 7 interceptions with a QB rating of 101.9 (4th best in league)
  • 12.4 yards per completion was tied for third in the NFL
  • 7.5 was the league’s highest touchdown percentage, better than Brees, Brady, Goff, and Rodgers
  • he only took 28 sacks, which was bottom half of the league, thanks to his line and his escapability
  • etc

Even on the bum knee last season, and with the bad back, Carson threw for 21 touchdowns and 7 interceptions while improving his QB rating to 102.2. His completion percentage increased by nine points, probably due to the fact that he was settling for a bunch of short throws to guys like Zach Ertz, but there were enough instances throughout the season that suggested to me that 2017 wasn’t a one-off. You even saw flashes of brilliance despite the 14 interceptions and other assorted rookie issues that affected him in 2016.

I’m not sure why we always look at a great season and think about it being a “fluke,” instead of just giving credit where it’s due. People said the same thing about Foles and his 27 touchdown, 2 interception season, but of course it was a statistical outlier. He was never going to come anywhere close to that again, and yes there’s always a modicum of caution that comes with offering big money deals to guys based on one good year (Case Keenum). I don’t think Wentz is Case Keenum.

RE: Nick, he did amazing things for this franchise. He won a ring and got himself a statue built outside of the stadium. He put 41 points on the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

This isn’t about shitting on Foles, it really isn’t, but I do think people forget the following:

  • Nick underwhelmed in the 2017 Raiders game with 1st place in the NFC on the line
  • he was very average in the 2018 Falcons and Bucs games (1 TD, 1 INT, 54-82, 451 yards)
  • he threw three touchdowns and four interceptions in the 2018 playoffs with QB ratings of 77.7 and 61.4 (of course the Alshon drop and INT was not his fault)

Nick Foles has one of the best traits a quarterback can have – the ability to put in big time performances in big games. But let’s not act like his track record in Philly was spotless; he posted a few clunkers over the last two seasons, and any smart front office is going to take into account the entire body of work a quarterback compiles while also considering his age and market value. I think it was probably inevitable that Nick got paid somewhere else, and it played out exactly the way most of us predicted.

Right, then to point #2:

“Injury prone” is a weird phrase to me because we generally fail to distinguish volume from severity. For instance, say a guy suffers four minor injuries in one year, maybe a broken pinky finger, a thigh contusion, a concussion, and a pinched nerve, but he only misses two games. On the other end of the spectrum, somebody tears their Achilles in week eight and misses the rest of the season. Is that person “injury prone?” He suffered only one injury while the other guy suffered four.

Every NFL player will tell you that they go through each season with some combination of injuries. Jason Kelce played 2018 with an MCL sprain, a broken foot, and a torn elbow, but we didn’t know about it until the spring. Is he “injury prone?” Same goes for Alshon Jeffery, who played the Super Bowl year with a rotator cuff injury. How do we label him?

To me, it’s less about trying to determine arbitrarily if Carson Wentz can be labeled or not labeled as something. It’s about the evolution of his game in a way that helps protect himself. Is he going to dive for touchdowns in the red zone? Is he going to pull the ball down and run for the sticks, or throw it away?

I doubt you’re going to see much of this in 2019, a read option and dive instead of just taking your yardage and getting out of bounds:

Similarly, Donovan McNabb put his body on the line early in his Eagles career, ran the ball well, and then evolved as a quarterback, which granted him longevity. Carson needs to find the balance in his game where he effectively extend plays without putting himself at risk. To me, that’s where the focus needs to be, on how Carson handles himself and tweaks his game, because injuries happen. Shit happens; you just have to do what you can to mitigate it, and that needs to be what we zero in on as fans and media, because reporters can continually ask Doug Pederson if the team doctors fucked up and he’s never going to reveal anything.

Final point then, #1:

I kind of mentioned this earlier, but it’s not like the full resume of Nick Foles stands out, unblemished. If Nick was throwing three touchdowns and slicing up playoff teams every week out, the arguments to keep him and ditch a 26 year old Wentz would be much more founded.

But the Super Bowl season was a combined effort by two quarterbacks who played some of the best ball we’ve ever seen in this city. Wentz got the Eagles to the door step, which was the #1 seed in the NFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Foles took the baton and carried it the rest of the way, earning more of the glory despite playing in fewer, but ultimately bigger games.

The Birds had two franchise quarterbacks to choose from, but they could only fit one on the roster due to financial constraints. In my mind, there was no incorrect decision here. It’s like choosing between Ibiza and Malta, and I think all Eagles fans should take a step back and think about the concept of having a “good problem” on your hands, vs. some controversial and divisive kind of conflict. It wasn’t that at all, and I don’t think Carson has to prove anything to anyone. He already has a ring, and he deserves that ring without any sort of asterisk or footnote being slapped on there.

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18 Comments

  • Carson Went's Flaccid Organ and Testes June 3, 2019 at 10:53 am

    Cue all the armchair GMs here for their hot and completely incorrect takes.

    Reply
    • Clearasil Wentz June 3, 2019 at 10:57 am

      hahahaha flaccid wanger posts always steal the day. well done

      Reply
  • I HOPE JERRY JONES LIVES FOREVER June 3, 2019 at 10:59 am

    Waiting for that eagle hater BAD BACK GIMPY KNEE @sswipe to leave a comment.
    33333333333333

    222222222222222222222

    1111111111111111

    Reply
  • DD June 3, 2019 at 11:30 am

    Just so we are clear- Wentz has nothing to prove because he had a good 2017 regular season… but McNabb had everything to prove at all times, dragging no-name receivers to multiple NFC Championship games. Okie dokie.

    Reply
    • Clearasil Wentz June 3, 2019 at 11:34 am

      actually the defense drug Mcbouncepass to multiple NFC champ games if we are being honest

      Reply
    • DONNIES DUI'S June 3, 2019 at 11:37 am

      AND THEN FAILING WITH A SOLID CORP IN 04 PUKE,08,09 NUMBER 5 WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU

      Reply
  • It’s the end of the world as we know it June 3, 2019 at 11:36 am

    Tonight on Jeopardy.

    Reply
  • SO Taguchi - Phillies Legend June 3, 2019 at 11:40 am

    1. Nick Foles won this team the Super bowl.

    2. Nick Foles brought this team back from the dead last year and was a dropped pass away from the NFC title game.

    3. Nick Foles never had people on the team question his leadership.

    Reply
    • DD June 3, 2019 at 11:55 am

      Ding Ding Ding. Imagine if any other QB had a good 11-2 regular season (not even a full season) and the fan base hung on to it for more than a year… Hard Philly would rip that city daily for being soft.

      Maybe he can just play in, and maybe win, a playoff game.

      Reply
    • 44-31 June 3, 2019 at 12:03 pm

      Nick Foles also helped the team go 11-2 during the regular season
      and also won dozens of games in KC and LA.

      Nick Foles was a torn ACL away from winning the MVP during the SB run.

      Will you still be giving Nick Foles a Hummer when he fails in Jacksonville?
      Or will you come up with you’re usual excuses to justify your subpar arguments?

      Reply
      • Clearasil Wentz June 3, 2019 at 12:28 pm

        lol you still can’t handle the fact that Nick Foles is the 1st and only Super Bowl winning QB in this sorry franchises history. I imagine you cried in November 2016

        Reply
        • SUPERMAN June 3, 2019 at 2:29 pm

          wrong answer schmuck.
          I have an authentic super bowl ring with ‘Nick’ on it.
          I wouldn’t have paid 12 grand for that if i didn’t love Foles to death.
          I was only at every friggin home game that foles has played as an eagle.

          You can’t handle the fact that Wentz helped the eagles win the division and get the first seed in the playoffs.

          The truth is probably somewhere in between.
          If either one is not on that team, no SB.

          Reply
  • The Greatest Center in NBA History June 3, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    What the fuck kind of headline is that? OF COURSE HE DOES…needs t o prove he can play a full season…which he has not done. GET A FUCKING CLUE

    Reply
    • Kevin Kinkead June 3, 2019 at 3:39 pm

      wrong

      Reply
    • Mike June 4, 2019 at 2:55 pm

      He has played a full season

      Reply
  • KH June 3, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    I’m not sure this turns out so well for the Eagles, unless being the Falcons, Lions, or Packers of the last 8 years is the goal. In any case, if you are looking backwards to Wentz v. Foles, the correct framing going forward is Foles @ $22 million AAV + a 1st round pick all ready in hand and spent on say, Josh Allen + likely more, versus Wentz @ $30-$35 million AAV (TBD) and an end of the 3rd round compensatory pick in 2020.

    To me, the first option sets the team up for a potential dynasty. The second option, a rapidly closing championship window. We’ll see.

    Reply
  • Warson Centz June 3, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    I also suffer from “acne wang”

    Reply
  • Carson Foles or Nick Wents June 4, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Why do people feel it necessary to put one QB down to praise another. We were lucky, we had two very good quarterbacks for two year. I thought that was a good thing. Me, I will be rooting for Nick in Jacksonville unless they are playing the Eagles. Nick is a class act and I hope he does well. I will be wearing my Wentz 11 home green jersey on Sundays cheering him on to return to form. Carson is a class act as well. Both good guys, both bring different positives to a team.

    Reply
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