Carson Wentz Might Be Broken. Can Anyone Fix Him?
Updated: Dec 15, 2020
By Tayyib Abu.
Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles are enduring a miserable season. Philly is 3-6-1 in the NFC East. Somehow, Philadelphia is still top of the division. However, this is in no way a good Football team.
The Eagles have been abject all year. They were worse in the last two games. Philadelphia lost to the Giants and the Browns. The Eagles have problems; the significant issues are coming on offense. And it starts with their franchise quarterback.
IS WENTZ BROKEN?
Carson Wentz is not a good quarterback. Not this year anyway. One could argue he hasn't been right since 2017 when injury cruelly robbed him of an MVP. The Eagles would go on to win the Super Bowl with Nick Foles, not Wentz, under center. Since that banner season, Wentz has got worse every year.
This year has seen him hit rock bottom. Wentz's QBR of 48.2 ranks 27th overall. He leads the league in interceptions too. Elite quarterbacks do not lead the NFL in interceptions. Wentz is now an experienced quarterback, yet he is still making fundamental errors.
Wentz's footwork is terrible. It was never great, but it has regressed to a point where it's abysmal. Wentz has always had a long stride pattern; in his first two years, he showed great ability to step into throws without overstriding. Now he is overstriding, plus his arm is not good enough to compensate for that. He isn't Mahomes or a Josh Allen, who can do that.
Overstriding is changing his arm angle before throwing the ball; this is why his passes are offline a lot of the time. Footwork is the foundation of every quarterback; it is why Tom Brady and Drew Brees are still playing. Wentz has perfected a lousy technique. It is now a bad habit that he can't shake.
The other bad habit Wentz has is he holds onto the ball forever. Go back to the 2017 season; he still did it then. What made that successful is that he could scramble if the play went off-script. But now there is hesitation in his mind. The injury in 2017 came on a quarterback run. Not wanting to run the ball is forcing him to stay in the pocket for far too long. Defensive pressure is eventually getting to him. It could also explain why his footwork is so skittish in the pocket.
Furthermore, Wentz has one more critical flaw in his makeup. He does not process quickly. He takes far too long to go through his reads. Add this to a slow release of the ball; you've got a concoction for catastrophe. Elite quarterbacks possess a fast release. Tom Brady and Drew Brees are the poster boys for the quick release. But it's not just them, a veteran like Andy Dalton has all the requisite fundamentals any quarterback has to have. Wentz doesn't.
The excuses for Wentz must stop. The offensive line is ranked 7th in pass block success. It is not the lousy unit that some make it out to be. One can say the same of the receiver corps. When Wentz had his career year, his wideouts were Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor. It's not like they were Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.
Wentz built his play on weak foundations. It's like a weightlifter who practices the wrong techniques. Eventually, when the weight gets too much, he is in trouble. Wentz has perfected an imperfect set of skills; his performances this season are the result of that. He is a broken quarterback.
CAN HE BE FIXED?
When Wentz first came into the Eagles building, he was surrounded by quarterbacks. Frank Reich, John DeFilippo and Doug Pederson had all played at quarterback in either college or the NFL. Those coaches kept Wentz's bad habits in check. Since the departures of
Reich and DeFilippo, Wentz's play has regressed at an alarming rate.
The current coaching staff have overseen this enormous regression. But the Eagles have to work something out. Wentz is on an eye-watering 128-million-dollar deal. With $108 million guaranteed. The Eagles can't trade him or cut him.
Conversely, it should not be all on the coaches to fix him. Wentz must be honest with himself. He needs a reality check; then, he needs to go back to the foundations and start again. Wentz needs to retool his whole technique. That'd be easier to do if Philly benched him. But in the middle of the worst divisional race ever, that won't happen.
Now Wentz has to find a way of working it all out on the field. That's like taking an expensive but flimsy toy and throwing it in the fireplace. Is anyone expecting it to come out of the other side intact? I'm not. Expect Wentz to continue to be terrible for the rest of the year. By the end of the season, the 138-million-dollar man may be a broken shell of a quarterback, if he isn't already.