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Carson Wentz and the Eagles have an everything problem


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Carson Wentz and the Eagles have an everything problem


The rapid decline of Carson Wentz has Philadelphia panicking. But the issue isn’t that his poor play has no explanation; it’s that it has far too many

What is the problem with the Eagles’ offense?


That question doesn’t look like a hard one. I can tell you the problem with the Saints offense (they don’t have the WR depth to endure a Michael Thomas injury) and the Vikings offense (they aren’t passing the ball enough) and the Falcons offense (they were cursed by a vengeful witch five years ago), and while I’m not capturing the entire picture with each conclusion, I’ve gotten to the core of the issue.

With no team is the core of the issue more blatant than Philadelphia, where fifth-year quarterback Carson Wentz has been nothing short of a travesty through three weeks of the Eagles’ winless season. He’s lapping the league in turnover-worthy plays, the worst passer from the pocket, and has as many on-target passes this year as a quarterback who just got benched for Nick Foles. Not that that name means anything around here.

So Carson Wentz is the problem with the Eagles’ offense, and he’s one the Eagles cannot avoid addressing. Much like the Saints need to find a way to revitalize the passing game in Thomas’ absence, and the Vikings need to work more early-down passes into their scripts, the Eagles need to find a way to make Carson Wentz better at football.

So what’s the problem with Carson Wentz?

This is the question that looks like a hard one.

It’s hard because there’s no one thing to point to with Wentz. He was great in 2017, got injured to end the season, played most of the 2018 season injured, came back leaner and healthier for 2019, and still failed to recapture his 2017 form. Around him, the offense experienced a similar deterioration. The offensive line featured on Sports Illustrated following the 2017 Super Bowl was the same line the Eagles started in 2019, before injuries berated Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks, as Jasons Kelce and Peters got longer in the tooth. Alshon Jeffery gutted out a torn rotator cuff through the 2017 playoff run and never returned the same, while veteran speedsters Mike Wallace, DeSean Jackson, and Marquise Goodwin all failed to fill Torrey Smith’s shoes. Backfield committees cycled through ineffective options as Nick Foles loomed in the locker room, unidentified sources whispering complaints about Wentz’s leadership and target distribution. The Eagles offense captained by since-fired OC Mike Groh lacked explosiveness, playmaking, consistency — but it was never Wentz that was holding it back. 2020, as is its way, presents a new and nastier problem altogether.

Wentz has gone from shouldering the issues to becoming the issue, the last bastion of Eagles offensive health now fallen over the course of a two-year siege. His play is as stunning as it is catastrophic, and the full failures of the Eagles’ coaching staff, medical staff, and front office are brought into clarity by his struggles. Wentz never repeated his 2017 performance, both statistically and anecdotally — but since that year, the coaching staff lost its direction and harmony, the cupboards in the arsenal ran bare, and the front office provided no solutions. Wentz’s 2020 implosion is measured against his 2017 ascension only because his 2018 and 2019 seasons are waved away as mucked-up mulligans, injury-riddled peculiarities — phantasms that give us none of the context we seek. To what in his career can you point and definitively say: "This is what Carson Wentz is”?

The new coaching staff has no answer to that question; they don’t know their quarterback, and they lack a cohesive identity. Three weeks into the season feature scattershot game plans: a deep-ball dedication in Week 1 mutated into quick game fanaticism in Week 2, with the water wings of pre-snap, determined reads thrust onto Wentz by Week 3. Their quarterback suddenly has no strengths to his game, no accurate balls in his quiver, and with the garbled mess and departures of past seasons considered, there is nobody left who has successfully worked with Wentz in the past. Wentz is both inert and jumpy post-snap, never in time with the concept, never confident in where and when his receivers will break — or if they will separate at all.


The lacking talent at wide receiver is a referendum on the front office and Howie Roseman, who bet on aging veterans to maximize his winning window. That which he sowed on the field he reaps on the bench, as DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery yet again cannot stay healthy. Draft picks and development both have failed them, as the late investments they made in Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson bore no fruit, first-round rookie Jalen Reagor is hurt, and the early selection of J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is a laughable travesty for a player on whom the Eagles have not yet even decided their story: is he unhealthy? Did he get coached for too many positions? Is he part of their plan at all?

Wentz hates the players to whom he’s throwing the football, as they reward his targets with poor routes, drops, incompletions, and interceptions. He plays like a quarterback in fear of his teammates and how their failures will reflect on him, in a locker room he has never won over, to a fanbase that has forever wondered if a better option is on the bench — an idea only encouraged by the same front office that considered his current weapons sufficient when they drafted Jalen Hurts. When he throws to them, he throws beyond them and behind them and below them.

And the throwing itself? Wentz’s sudden and steep decline in accuracy is partially, but insufficiently explained by a regression in his mechanics. His throwing base is wider than ever, all of his velocity generated by his arm, his lead foot closed to his target. Every throw looks laborious, forced, fearful of consequence. Wentz has never had the cleanest throwing motion, but he was accurate then — he is inaccurate now, which puts his entire process into question.

What, then, is the problem with Carson Wentz? Everything is. He isn’t healthy, his mechanics are worse, he doesn’t push the ball down the field, he isn’t responding well to pressure, he has no playmaking ability, and he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. He is not on the same page as his offensive designers, he hasn’t taken coaching to improve his game, he has no rapport with his wide receivers, and he doesn’t think his offensive line will protect him. There is nothing redeemable about his 2020 play, save for the exasperated utterance that he has to be better than this.

What solves these problems? Everything does. Better receivers, better game plans, better coaching, better protection, better quarterback. There is no chicken nor egg when Carson Wentz’s disastrous 2020 is considered: everything is bad around him, and finally, he is bad enough to reflect it. The offense cannot improve by stepping back into 2019, when the same stale designs and poor receivers were buttressed by Wentz’s quality play — that quality play is no longer there. The offense cannot improve by stepping back into 2017, when the designs were fresh and supporting cast was healthy — those coaches are gone and those players are hurt. There is no lighthouse beyond this fog of uncertainty, this thick and layered haze.

Wentz will likely get better this season — it would be hard to play worse, and eventually a losing record and the accompanying low expectations will lift some of the pressure he has carried since he tore three ligaments in his knee and his backup won a Super Bowl. This is the worst he’s played in five years; even without the dreadful circumstances considered, it is likely he bounces back.

LHow he bounces back is the important question. Will he find trust with a new receiver, or will the coaching staff start trusting him? Will he merely recover his accuracy, and keep the ship afloat as he did last season? Will his big play penchant return in their collective desperation, finally recovering the explosiveness this team has tirelessly hunted? The Eagles have far more problems than just bad quarterback play, but this is the most pressing one, and a solution could become the snowball rolling down the mountain — not necessarily to save a forsaken season, but to restore faith in a quarterback/playmaker/coach complex that is currently barren. The attrition of poor decisions and failed gambles, endured for the last few years, broke Carson Wentz. Everyone in the Eagles organization played a hand in that beleaguering; everyone now has the responsibility to help fix him.


Really interesting read actually. 

The problem with Wentz right now is pretty much everything. He doesn't trust anyone around him, those around him don't seem to trust him. The coaches don't seem to trust him but then they keep changing the game plan drastically each week. 

The whole situation is a mess. 

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Howie did nothing to improves the team around him, so now it's a worse team. The coaches are ignoring his decline, and he is not addressing his own poor decision making and eroding accuracy.

This year is gonna be bad. Next season is gonna be worse. the following year the turnaround and rebuild should begin taking shape but ONLY if they have a stellar draft in April. I'm not counting on that while Howie is still involved.


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We could easily be 3-13 this season. it will take two of those before Howie gets fired, IMO. Doug could hit the street after 2020 at this rate.

Strap in folks, it's gonna be a bumpy two years...

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