Did Carson Wentz just get fixed?
With regard to Carson Wentz, here is where we are currently. He has just been traded to the Indianapolis Colts for a 3rd round pick this year and another conditional pick next year. I think the Eagles front office is very smart. I know GM Howie Roseman is not above using public opinion to his advantage in order to increase the value of his assets. I also think he has been questioned some internally, maybe even by his bosses, about Wentz and his value. He was worth 100M a couple years ago, and now we don’t want him here at all? Roseman has proven for years that he doesn’t care about external doubt, however, this internal strife might be somewhat new.
The Eagles now gain cap relief in 2022 and beyond. As for the Colts, the 'reclamation project" has started.
It’s just my opinion, but I really don’t think they should have traded Wentz. I’ve been the lone soldier on that island throughout the process. It’s just not the Eagles way. In fact, it’s the opposite of how they’ve done business in the past. Why would the Eagles take an all-time, historic hit of $33 million against their cap for a player no longer on their team? In a year when the cap is going down dramatically? The Eagles are not the Rams. I wrote the other day that their decision-making philosophy and structure is at another end of the spectrum. I was wrong.
The timing of this is coming to light now because teams, and people like myself, have now had time to go back and look at tape of Wentz from 2017 and compare it to his 2020 season. I did just that recently and concluded the following, which isn’t very different from what my take was early in the year and before Jalen Hurts had played a single meaningful down. There is plenty of blame to go around, but the attention that has been on Wentz as the starting quarterback has taken the pressure off other weaker spokes in the wheel. The best way I can describe it all is to say that TRUST had been broken on several levels and it’s impossible to play quarterback in the NFL when this happens.
I went into the film room thinking that maybe there was an issue with Wentz’s knee, something that hadn’t been rehabbed correctly, something physical. I had made the visit to North Dakota State to watch Wentz when he came out of college. At that time, I had rated him above the recently-traded Jared Goff and it wasn’t close between the two. I had seen all of his college tape and filed the full report on him, complete with background and character material to fall back on. What was different about Wentz all of a sudden in 2020?
I believe his trust was broken, first by numerous injuries upfront with his offensive line and second, his perimeter options at receiver and TE were limited. Injuries played a real factor in the regression of Wentz when the depth on the Eagles roster couldn’t stand up to their opponents. Specifically, it showed in the lack of confidence that Wentz had almost immediately at the top of his drop in the passing game. His eyes went immediately to the rush and not the coverage. He became a paint by numbers QB instead of “letting it go”. He has always had a propensity to play “hero ball” too much, but this made it worse. The burden he faced had become a full-sized piano on his back. The absence of OT Andre Dillard, OG Brandon Brooks, and a healthy RT in Lane Johnson can affect the bounce in anyone’s step and when you combine that with the personnel decisions the front office made to fill those roles it led to failure for the most part. The more tape I looked at, the worse the offensive line got. What the Eagles had in 2020 was far from their 2017 team in every facet.
It was no different at WR, where they had whiffed on production from a first-round pick this year and where they also spent way too much time and effort hoping to reincarnate DeSean Jackson or Alshon Jeffery. Hope is not a plan. 1st round pick Jalen Reagor may turn out to be a player, but he was no help to the Eagles this year, especially when compared to the other rookie receivers in the league who were drafted after him.
Wentz went from a confident decision maker at quarterback in 2017 to a player in 2020 who was really unsure of what was going on around him, from game to game and from play to play. He really lost his ability to read coverage and he also lost anticipation/instincts as to when and where targets would come open. He was like a “deer in the headlights." The game was foggy for Wentz all year, but, in my opinion, he also got no help from the sidelines either. The Eagles really seemed to have no plan that varied from week to week and they made no attempt to run the ball to take the pressure off the fragile QB who was under siege from the overmatched roster. All things that he had in his favor when I went back to the 2017 tape, he didn’t have this past season.
I really think the Eagles had done the inevitable and started the “Save Carson Project” by changing their offensive system and the coaching staff. Next step would have been re-tool the roster.
I saw, with Carson, the same skill set on tape, in spurts this year that was evident when Wentz was at North Dakota State and early in his pro career. His rebuild really should be focused on what’s between his ears, it’s not a physical issue. I’m not really buying anything people are saying regarding the locker room turning on him either. Losing brings out the negative chatter. Leaders are not all liked. I saw the same questions pointed at QB Russell Wilson in Seattle when people doubted his agenda and they were not winning as much as some people expected. This hiccup can be overcome with an offseason of mending, if it even exists.
There is no disputing the fact that this year’s Eagles team was not Roseman’s best work. I think he would admit that. If I was him, I would have looked in the mirror, pulled up my big boy pants, rolled up my sleeves and got to work. I’d take acceptance for my part of the systematic failure and make the changes with how we build the team. What we got instead was, finger pointing. Part of any QB’s effectiveness is getting a healthy offensive line and then upgrading the quality of depth on our roster. Valuing their own team is what’s holding the Eagles back currently. I don’t think Hurts is the answer at this point either. Hurts’ body of work can only be seen as a “work in progress” at best. He brought Eagles fans change and a new face but his ability to be a consistent NFL passer is still in question.
The trade itself is just what the doctor ordered for fixing Wentz. It short-cutted the process he was facing in Philly. Indy has a better Oline, better receivers, more help from game-plan and system standpoint (coaching). Now it’s just about restoring confidence and trust which happens to be Frank Reich’s specialty. The move has put all the attention now on Roseman back in Philly. He blamed the coach and got rid of him, blamed the QB and got rid of him. He is the only one still standing in the city of brotherly love- he’d better rebuild fast if he wants to “get some”.