The Pros and Cons of Benching Carson Wentz

Photo credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s get one thing out of the way right off the bat:

When you bench a quarterback, the move doesn’t have to be permanent. You can sit a guy down for a half, a game, or maybe two games, then he clears his head, hits the reset button, and finds himself back on the field in no time.

This is what Andy Reid famously did with Donovan McNabb in 2008.

Donovan was playing poorly at the time, having thrown three interceptions in the 13-13 tie against Cincinnati. In week 12, he started against the Ravens by throwing two more picks, then was yanked for Kevin Kolb and the Eagles went on to lose 36-7 while falling to 5-5-1 on the year.

Was that the end? No. Andy Reid put McNabb right back in for the week 11 home game against Arizona, and Donovan responded with four touchdowns, led the Birds on a three-game winning streak, and then took them to the NFC Championship Game.

That’s not to say this situation is where the Eagles find themselves in 2020, with Carson Wentz, but it’s an example of how a short-term benching can sometimes help a guy erase a mental block and get a fresh start after watching from the sidelines.

This is personally what I feel about the Wentz/Hurts thing, and most of the Crossing Broad staff is in agreement on this. We think a short-term benching, even just one game or a couple of quarters, could be beneficial to Wentz moving forward.

Here are some things to consider:

Pros

  • Carson clears his head and watches from the sidelines.
  • We finally get to see what Jalen Hurts has.
  • The rest of the team might be energized/motivated by a change.
  • You placate the angry fan base for a week.
  • We get to see what the play calling looks like with a different QB in there (the same “simplified” offense we saw with Nick Foles?).
  • It sends a message of accountability, i.e., if you play like shit, you get benched.

These are all pretty straightforward. You are sitting Carson down, letting him refocus and perhaps get angry and motivated from his benching. Hurts gets a chance to play and the fan base gets to see what he’s made of.

Cons

  • Confidence killer for Wentz? does benching him cause irreparable damage?
  • If Hurts plays well, you’ve got a backup QB making $34 million in 2021
  • take the QB controversy fire and dump gasoline on it

It would seem that the pros slightly outweigh the cons here, but that’s just our take. Obviously Carson’s contract is the real elephant in the room and requires significant consideration.

Here’s the thing that really sucks:

The Eagles did this to themselves. We talked about this when they drafted Hurts, and as a reminder, allow me to re-post what I wrote back then in a column titled “Five Reasons Why the Jalen Hurts Selection was an Absolutely Horrendous Decision.” – 

“With the Hurts selection, Howie sent a clear message here. He doesn’t trust Wentz and neither does the coaching staff. If they did, they wouldn’t have grabbed a QB in round two, a move that breathed new life into the portion of the fan base that dislikes Wentz and thinks he’s “soft” or “injury-prone” or a “pussy” or whatever other stuff you hear at your uncle’s house when watching the game.”

Wentz went into the draft as a franchise quarterback and came out of it finding himself in a controversy. This, after Carson led a depleted squad to four-straight wins and a division title to lift the Nick Foles monkey off his back and prove some of his doubters wrong. He had finally overcome that difficult situation, living in the shadow of a Super Bowl winner, and then Howie Roseman went and put more unneeded pressure on his shoulders (after giving the guy a ton of money).

The Eagles painted themselves into a corner here. Either you bench your highly-paid franchise quarterback, or you continue to waste a second round pick on a gadget QB who barely plays. No matter what they decide to do with the quarterback position moving forward, they’re going to ultimately shoot themselves in one of their feet. It might be the left foot, or the right foot, but the bullet is coming. At this point, you’re trying to figure out which foot is going to hurt less.

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