Inevitably, you will come across Carson Wentz arguments this week. Across all local channels of communication. That includes the hellscape known as social media, Philadelphia sports talk radio, and text messaging with family members, assuming they know how to text.
They will talk about Carson and the good game he had on Sunday. They’ll talk about his stats looking pretty solid this season, and they’re right about that; Wentz has logged nine touchdowns and one interception while losing two fumbles over six games. And over the past two games, he’s completed 36 of 55 attempts for four touchdowns and 625 yards. If you want to go back three weeks, you can add the Miami game, where he was 24-32 for 228 yards and two scores.
You can be on either side. You can say the Eagles made a mistake in trading Carson Wentz, or you can think that moving on was the right decision. Regardless, Wentz is playing, and if Eagles wants want that first round draft pick, they need Carson on the field.
Whatever side you take this week, here’s some ammunition to help your cause. Some political talking points to recite:
- He beat the Texans, who are missing their starting QB and absolutely stink.
- Miami also stinks.
- The Colts are 0-4 against teams that went to the playoffs last year.
- Indy should have beat the Ravens, who completely shut down the Chargers’ offense on Sunday.
- The Colts missed a game-winning field goal against Baltimore and had another attempt blocked in the fourth quarter.
- It’s true that the Colts settled for field goal attempts in the second half against the Ravens, but Carson actually made some nice throws. Frank Reich got really conservative on one of the drives and ran the ball six times in a row. I wouldn’t put too much stock into the narrative that Wentz couldn’t close out that game. He’d probably end up 5th or 6th on the blame list.
- One of Carson’s touchdown passes was a 76-yard screen that was all Jonathan Taylor. He got a nice statistical boost out of that.
- On the second Baltimore touchdown, Carson stepped into a hit, lofted a 50/50 ball in the air, and Michael Pittman Jr. went up and made an awesome play on the ball, then broke a tackle to find the end zone. Great individual play from the receiver on that score.
- He’s throwing a much better deep ball than Jalen Hurts right now.
- The Colts’ offense looked infinitely with T.Y. Hilton back in the fold on Sunday.
- Indy is helping him out by running the ball. Taylor has double-digit carries in every game and Nyheim Hines and Marlon Mack have more than 50 combined carries.
- Carson’s passing attempts per game are down. He threw it 36 times a game in 2020 and he’s only throwing it 32 times a game in Indy.
- He has better offensive weapons this year, which I think most people know is obvious. Hilton, Pittman, Zach Pascal, and Parris Campbell is a better receiver group. The tight ends are okay, but they aren’t being targeted the way Carson would hit Zach Ertz in years past. Mo-Alie Cox is a red zone threat and Jack Doyle is fine for a second option, but not a world beater.
- Indy’s line is better than what the Eagles were putting on the field last year.
- Carson isn’t doing much with his feet. If anything, he looks like the 2018 Wentz and not like the 2017 Wentz. I don’t think the 2017 Wentz comparisons are accurate. He looks like a mix between a traditional pocket passer and a game manager.
- He’s still throwing into tight coverage. NFL NextGen stats has him listed as #6 in the NFL in their “aggressiveness” metric.
- Completion percentage is up to 64%. That’s where he was in 2019.
- In the Ravens game, he fumbled on a play where the left tackle whiffed and called for offside on the defense. Carson tried to get out of the pocket and ran into his right tackle. Bad red zone turnover for the Colts.
- He took a bad fourth quarter sack against Baltimore that was wiped out due to a horse collar tackle.
- His receivers are catching the ball. Three drops from Pascal, one from Doyle, and then the others are from Hines and Taylor.
- Both Wentz and Hurts have good weapons for open space. Hurts’ receivers are averaging 6.5 YAC per completion and Carson’s guys are averaging 5.9. Those are among the best in the NFL.
- Wentz has thrown 7 balls away. Hurts 12. Hurts actually leads the NFL in this.
- Carson has taken more hits than anybody this year. Need to watch more film to get a feel for why He does seem to be sitting in the pocket and has made some nice throws facing pressure, but other times he looks like the Wentz of old, who is just holding the ball too long.
That’s what I came up with. It’s a not a comprehensive list by any stretch of the imagination, but should add some context beyond some doofus tweeting “Carson sux, same old guy.” Or, “Eagles should have keep Wentz.” The truth is that he beat two bad teams, but he looked good against the Ravens and probably should have exited that game with a W.
He’s not 2017 Carson, but if you took some of his better moments from 2018 and 2019, and combined them together, that’s the guy on the field for Indy right now. If he stays on the field, the Birds get a first round draft pick.