The Curious Case of Carson Wentz

I’ve seemed to notice there’s some conflicting views regarding Carson Wentz, which is very interesting to me.

In 2017, he was arguably on his way to becoming the NFL MVP before suffering an injury against the Los Angeles Rams. In his place, Nick Foles led the Eagles to a Super Bowl, but it was Wentz who brought them to an 11-2 record.

Wentz finished his season with 3296 passing yards (253.5 per game), 33 TDs and 7 INTs. He had a passer rating of 101.9, and the best QBR of any QB in the NFL; sounds good to me.

However, his 2018 season was a bit more rocky.

He actually started off rather well statistically during his first 7 games, passing for 2148 yards (306.9 per game), 15 TDs and 3 INTs with a passer rating of 108.5. However, during that time, the Eagles went 3-4.

During his final 4 games of 2018, Wentz passed for 926 yards, 6 TDs and 4 INTs, and had a passer rating of 89.4; the Eagles went 2-2 in that time.

To be honest, the game that really holds him down was the one against the Saints, where he threw no TDs and 3 INTs, with a passer rating of 31.9, as the team was destroyed by a score of 48-7.

Remove that game, and during the other 10 games of 2018, Wentz had a passer rating of 109.13, and threw for 21 TDs and 4 INTs, passing for 291.8 yards per game, but his team only went 5-5.

The reason I keep bringing up his record is that some hold that against him.

Image result for carson wentz 2018
Wentz seemed to regress in 2018 as he came off of a torn ACL (Credit: AP)

Is that fair? Well, if you’re using solely last season as evidence, I don’t think so.

In the 6 games the Eagles lost with Wentz as the starter, 5 of those losses were by less than a TD.

This includes two OT losses, and two other games were the Eagles were tied or had the lead in the 4th quarter. Yes, they lost, but they were competitive in 4 of these games, and if they win just 2 of them, suddenly the Eagles are 7-4 under Wentz as opposed to 5-6, and we’re having a different discussion.

No, you can’t simply change records like that, it’s not that simple. However, I think we need to use this to paint a clearer picture.

Wentz was roughly 9 months removed from a severe knee injury by the time he began his 2018 season, something that limited his ability to train in the offseason, and practice with his teammates. Well into training camp last summer, he was being held from 11 on 11 drills, and was splitting first team reps with Nick Foles.

Even when Tom Brady came back from tearing up his knee in 2009, he started off rather shaky (certainly steps back from his play in 2007). However, once he had a full offseason to train like normal, he went into 2010 and had a phenomenal season, becoming the first unanimous MVP in NFL history.

However, Wentz was still facing another injury this offseason, this time with his back.

I’m not sure how severe it is compared to the knee injury, but as of April, he was not completely healed. He’s been healthy for training camp, which is a step in the right direction, but will missing time this offseason hold him back?

Health is a big factor for the future of his career, but saying he’s not a QB based on what he has accomplished thus far seems kind of silly to me.

During his first 3 seasons, he has won 23 games as a starter, and has a career passer rating of 92.5, and an AY/A of 7.11; only 11 other QBs have done that since 2016: Tom Brady, Dak Prescott, Drew Brees, Big Ben, Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, Alex Smith, Jared Goff, Matt Stafford, and Kirk Cousins.

He’s in good company thus far, and we haven’t seen his best for a full season yet.

Now those injuries have prevented him from appearing in a playoff game, but he has a winning background from his days in college. While at North Dakota State, Wentz was the starting QB for back-to-back FCS Championships.

Wentz is entering his fourth season in the NFL, meaning the last season of his rookie deal. The team exercised his fifth year player option in April, and could have simply let the next season play out before deciding if he was worth the investment as their QB of the future.

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Carson Wentz signed a monster extension this offseason. Will he be able to play through that entire deal? (Credit: Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)

However, less than 6 weeks later, Wentz and the Eagles agreed to a 4-year, $128 million extension, with $107 million guaranteed (the deal starts in 2021).

It was a huge commitment and a sign that the Eagles believe Wentz can move the team forward in the future.

Does Wentz still have something to prove in the NFL? Yes. He needs to show he can play a full season healthy, something he only accomplished as a rookie, and that he can carry his team through a playoff run. He also needs to show that his 2017 season was not a fluke.

Is he capable of doing this? Yes. I think last season can be attributed to being a Super Bowl hangover early on. Now the Eagles went 3-0 to finish 2018 under Nick Foles, but those included 2 very close wins, which was the type of situation the team was in under Wentz during the season. Wentz will have to show he can win those games in 2019, something Foles was able to do during a smaller sample.

As long as Wentz is healthy and performing at his best, I believe he is more than capable of reaching the level of play we saw in 2017.

If you’re low on him right now, that’s fine. I’ll buy any Wentz stock that you’re selling, because I believe he’ll be ready to prove a lot of people wrong in 2019, and in the years to come.


Follow Nick on Twitter (@Nick_Collins14)

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