Eagles Brace for QB Test; what can Carson Wentz Deliver?
The Eagles’ schedule is a who’s who of quarterbacks, and in a quarterback-driven league, it doesn’t get much better than the ones Philly will face this fall.
With so many big names on opposing teams lined up against the Eagles in 2020, the question becomes, what can Carson Wentz do for an encore from 2019?
Forget about Jalen Hurts, the Eagles quarterback became the first in team history to throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season with 4,039 while throwing 27 touchdowns to seven interceptions. He also became the first QB in NFL history to throw for more than 4,000 yards without a receiver going over 500 yards.
It’s not unreasonable to think that the Eagles QB will once again throw for more than 4,000 yards. Nor is out of the question to believe he will break the franchise record he set in 13 games during the 2017 season for the most touchdowns in a year at 33.
Wentz is still just 27, though he is a father now.
Being a dad certainly won’t dim his competitive fires If anything, that could stoke his passion even more.
“I don’t fully know how this is going to change me in the locker room setting,” said Wentz last week on a conference call. “I can sure as heck tell you it’s changed my perspective and my view on life, and who I am as a man and a husband, and now as a father, and the type of person I want to be, and the type of person I want my daughter to see her dad be.”
Wentz’s leadership in the locker room should be stronger than ever.
He no longer has an older, veteran quarterback as his backup. He has a young group of receivers – Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson aside – who he can help grow and those receivers can look up to Wentz and be appreciative of what he does and how he leads because it has produced top-shelf results.
Wentz won’t suddenly become a pack dog. He is the alpha in that locker room and will continue to lead the way he sees fit.
“(Fatherhood) definitely changes my perspective regarding life, so I’m sure naturally that will come out with me being a leader in the locker room in different ways, so we’re going to have to see how it goes," said Wentz. "Like I said, it’s truly a blessing and it’ll change my perspective on a lot of things.”
Wentz should be better because he has a better supporting cast after the Eagles added speed throughout its receiving group.
Losing Jackson like they did last year after only one game, shouldn't bog this offense down, and with some new coaching hires, it is an offense that should be able to find its creativity again.
As for the "enemy" quarterbacks, the Eagles will line up against four potential Hall of Fame candidates in Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger, Seattle’s Russell Wilson, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, and New Orleans’ Drew Brees.
The list grows from there, to last year’s most valuable player Lamar Jackson and offensive rookie of the year in 2019, Arizona’s Kyler Murray, to this year’s possible rookie of the year, number one pick and the new starter in Cincinnati, Joe Burrow.
Then there’s the intriguing talent of Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield and the old division rivals, Dallas’ Dak Prescott, New York’s Daniel Jones and Washington’s Dwayne Haskins.
Well, they all can’t be Hall of Famers.
Nevertheless, it’s a football fans’ delight.
All that’s missing is Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady. Hey, maybe in the NFC title game?
Even the visit from L.A.’s Jared Goff in Week 2 has some juice since it was Goff who was selected first overall in 2016, just ahead of Wentz. And Goff did help get the Rams to the Super Bowl two seasons.
While on the subject of quarterbacks, it is interesting to note that, the year before Goff and Wentz went one-two, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota went 1-2 in the 2015 draft and they are both now backups, with Winston in New Orleans and Mariota in Las Vegas.
Goff and Wentz don’t appear headed in that backup direction anytime soon, though Goff needs to improve on his TD to INT ratio last year when he had 22 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
Interestingly, the two 2016 QBs have somewhat similar numbers, though Wentz has more touchdowns and fewer interceptions.
Goff has started 54 games with 14,219 yards, 87 TDs and 42 interceptions with a 62.4 completion percentage. He has been sacked 106 times.
Wentz has started 56 games and has 14,191 yards, 97 TDs and 35 interceptions with a 63.8 completion percentage. He has been sacked 129 times.
While Goff struggled in 2019, Wentz did not.
With so much focus on which standout quarterbacks the Eagles will play, it’s easy to forget that the Eagles have a marquee QB, too, and one who even bigger things will be expected of this fall.