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Comparing Carson Wentz and Mark Sanchez in Roob's 10 Observations

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Comparing Carson Wentz and Mark Sanchez in Roob's 10 Observations

Rueben Frank

t's not good when you start comparing Carson Wentz with Mark Sanchez and Drew Bledsoe, but that's where we are.

Some disturbing Wentz stats in today's Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations along with the usual array of Jalen Hurts, Josh Sweat, James Thrash and Donovan McNabb nuggets.

1. One thing that jumps out at me about Jalen Hurts is that he throws a soft, catchable ball. So far at least, he's put the football in places where receivers and backs can catch it effortlessly instead of having to fight for the football. This means catching it in stride, which turns into yards after the catch. I think that helps explain why Miles Sanders looked so comfortable in the passing game Sunday. He didn't have to work for the ball, it just kind of floated into his hands, and after catching just eight passes in his five previous games, he caught four against the Saints without a drop. There are times any QB has to fire the ball with some mustard on it, but to see a young quarterback throw with that kind of anticipation touch is a good sign.

2. Eagles cornerbacks have 12 interceptions in 48 games since the Super Bowl.

3. Over the last two years, Derek Barnett has a sack every 98 snaps and Josh Sweat has a sack every 77 snaps. Sweat has played 408 fewer snaps and has two fewer sacks. Barnett was the 14th pick in the 2017 draft. Sweat was the 130th player taken in the 2018 draft. Considering Barnett is due about $10.1 million on his fifth-year tender in 2021 and the Eagles are clearly not going to pay him that, there's a real chance they'll move on from Barnett and go with Brandon Graham and Sweat as their top two edge rushers. If Barnett agrees to a modest multi-year cap-friendly deal, I'd keep him. But considering that Sweat's 2021 base salary is $920,000 and he's been the more productive of the two, he's the one I'd move forward with.

4. It struck me on Friday that Carson Wentz is literally almost the exact same age now as Mark Sanchez was when he made his first start for the Eagles in 2014 in place of injured Nick Foles. Sanchez was one day shy of his 28th birthday when he became the Eagles' starter in 2014, and Wentz is 10 days short of his 28th birthday. That gave me a whole terrifying new perspective on where Wentz is in his career because we think of Sanchez as being at the end of the line when he was here. Wentz and Sanchez were both top-5 picks, both had a lot of success early in their career and both found themselves as backups in their fifth season. Sanchez never played at the level Wentz did in 2017, but he did win four playoff games before he turned 25. It's a scary comparison because even though Sanchez played OK in place of Foles in 2014 — 4-4 record, 64 percent completion percentage, 88.4 passer rating — he never won another game as an NFL quarterback. He was 28 years, 47 days old when he recorded his final career win. Wentz is 27 years, 355 days old. There really is a chance that what we saw from Wentz this year is just who he is now. And who he'll always be.

5. One stat that truly puts Wentz's 2020 performance in perspective: If Wentz doesn't throw another pass this year, he'll finish the season with a 72.3 passer rating and become the first former Pro Bowl quarterback in his 20s with a passer rating below 73 since Drew Bledsoe in 1995 (minimum of 400 attempts). That was 25 years ago.

6. And keep in mind that by the time he turned 28, Donovan McNabb had won five playoff games and taken the Eagles to three NFC Championship Games. Wentz turns 28 in 10 days and has three career postseason passing yards.

7. I never got the hate for James Thrash. An undrafted free agent who had never been a starter and averaged 55 catches for 675 yards and 5 TDs over a three-year span? During the entire decade of the 2000s, only four NFL undrafted WRs had more yards than Thrash. It wasn't his fault the Eagles had to rely too heavily on him because they drafted Freddie Mitchell instead of Steve Smith, Reggie Wayne or Chad Johnson. He was a good locker room guy, a consistent if not explosive performer, a classic overachiever. That's usually the kind of guy Eagles fans root for. 

8. At first glance, 18 carries for Jalen Hurts in his first start is an alarming number. That's tied for the 8th-most ever by a quarterback. But three of them were kneel-downs, so the real number is 15. That's still too many, and I don't like the designed inside runs. That's asking for trouble. But the thing about Hurts is that he showed a real knack for running to the sticks and getting out of bounds. Hurts was content to get whatever yards were there while doing it safely. That's something a lot of running QBs don't learn until they're much older. Some don't learn it at all. Michael Vick always initiated contact fighting for extra yards — which is admirable but not always the wisest thing to do. As Hurts grows in the offense, he won't look to run as much. But it's good to know that when he does take off now, he's doing what he can to keep himself out of harm's way.

9. Only five Eagles QBs have won their first two career starts: Sonny Jurgensen in 1957, Mike Boryla in 1974, Ty Detmer in 1996, A.J. Feeley in 2002. Here are their records as Eagles QBs after those two starts: Jurgensen 15-20-2, Boryla 6-10, Detmer 7-9, Feeley 2-3 and Wentz 33-32-1.

10. It's been over six years since an Eagle has had consecutive 100-yard games, something Miles Sanders and Hurts both have a chance to do Sunday in Arizona. The last to do it was LeSean McCoy against the Titans (139) and Cowboys (150) in 2014. This is the longest the Eagles have gone without a back-to-back 100-yard rusher since a nine-year drought from Wilbert Montgomery in 1981 to Heath Sherman in 1990.


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Even though I have been on the Wentz bandwagon since the day he was drafted, the one thing that always bothered me (even during the time when he was at his best) is what is pointed out in Roob's first observation - he rarely if ever threw a "soft, catchable" ball when a touch pass was needed.  And he also always had a hard time hitting a receiver in stride (allowing him to catch it effortlessly so as to maximize YAC).  Had always hoped that would get better in time but ... it just never did.  Unfortunately. 

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