WTS: Carson Wentz Held Back By Supporting Cast

Plus: What should the Eagles do with Nelson Agholor?

Carson Wentz. (USA TODAY Sports)

Carson Wentz. (USA TODAY Sports)

After the Eagles lost to the Seattle Seahawks, 26-15, let’s check what the national media are saying about the team.

Carson Wentz might be held back because of his supporting cast on offense, opines ESPN’s Tim McManus.

Wentz’s play has regressed while working alongside this supporting cast. Wentz went 2-of-13 with two interceptions on passes thrown more than 10 yards downfield Sunday, with his first completion coming at the 7:15 mark of the fourth quarter, per ESPN Stats & Information. He has not thrown a touchdown on such passes since Week 3. Wentz owns the worst Total QBR in the NFL since Week 5, throwing four touchdowns to six interceptions over the last five games after tossing seven touchdowns to one pick over the first five.

Lack of discipline and precision has been an issue for this offense, especially on the road (the Eagles are now 1-5 away from Lincoln Financial Field). Some of that can be traced to collective inexperience. On the [Nelson] Agholor illegal formation, for example, [Doug] Pederson said when it comes to responsibility, “it’s a little bit of [Agholor], a little bit of the quarterback, a little bit of me.” Problem is, you’re talking about a second-year player, a rookie quarterback and a first-year head coach. Pederson also instructed Jordan Matthews after the play that, as the senior member of the group, he needs to take it upon himself to make sure Agholor is lined up right. But Matthews is just 24 himself with two-plus years logged in the league.

It’s the green leading the green, and it’s been an issue. Ideally, you would want a more seasoned — and talented — group surrounding a young quarterback.

After 10 games, Wentz earns a “B” grade from Cameron DaSilva of FoxSports.com.

Week 5 is when things began to go downhill. Since then, he’s thrown six touchdown passes and seven interceptions in seven games, posting a passer rating above 100 just once in that span after doing it twice in his first three games. Teams seem to be figuring him out with pressure getting to him and impacting his decisions. That was the case on Sunday, and it’s been the case in recent weeks.

On the season, his 11 touchdown passes and seven picks still look decent, but his 84.2 passer rating (25th in the NFL) leaves plenty to be desired, as does his 6.57 yards per attempt (28th). Given the Eagles’ struggles at wide receiver and their inability to catch even the easiest passes (looking at you, Nelson Agholor), Wentz has become reliant on checkdown passes. Running backs have caught more than 22 percent of his completions, including 34 to Darren Sproles (third on the team).

If the Eagles’ receivers were more consistent and didn’t have some of the worst hands in football, Wentz’s numbers would be far better. And because of that, Wentz gets a B, which is a solid grade all things considered.

Unlike his NFC East rookie counterpart, Dak Prescott, Wentz is still playing like a rookie, says Sports Illustrated’s Greg A. Bedard.

Facing the Seahawks’ defense on the road, Eagles QB Carson Wentz threw two interceptions and posted 61.2 rating in their 26–15 loss to Seattle. Momma said there’d be days like this against the Seahawks’ defense. No time for Wentz or the Eagles to fret: they have a brutal six-game stretch to finish the season (vs. Packers, at Bengals, vs. Redskins, at Ravens, vs. Giants, vs. Cowboys) but four of those games are at home.

Bleacher Report’s Mike Tanier thinks the Eagles should trade Nelson Agholor to the 49ers.

Philadelphia Eagles (5-5): They need to buy receiver Nelson Agholor a one-way plane ticket to San Francisco, pin the boarding pass to his lapel so he doesn’t drop it and force  to sign a receipt when he arrives. Agholor has hands like shins and reliably makes at least one soul-crushing error per week. Removing Agholor from the active roster won’t solve all of the Eagles’ problems, but erasing the existential torment of watching him drop crucial passes will improve morale.

The Eagles fall to No. 14 in NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison‘s latest Power Rankings.

Sizeable drop for Philly after a loss that was more of a blowout than final score (26-15) indicates. Admittedly, your Power Ranker had given the Eagles some tough love of late, as they didn’t move higher than the 10 spot after beating the Falcons in Week 10. The issue? Well, fans might not realize it, but the Eagles now have dropped five of their last seven games, and are a distant fourth in the NFC East (0-3 in the division). After owning a passer rating north of 100 through his first four starts, Carson Wentz has enjoyed only one game over 90 since, piling up a not-robust 4:6 touchdown-to-interception ratio in that span. Luckily for the much-praised rookie, the Packers’ defense limps into the Linc next Monday night.

Even though the Eagles are currently out of the playoff picture, ESPN.com’s Bill Barnwell says they can still get in.

Playoff odds: 27.8 percent

One of the best teams in football, the Eagles would be the class of a division like the AFC South this season. Instead, they’re trapped in the suddenly scary NFC East, where Philly may have fallen too far behind. The 9-1 Cowboys are likely out of reach, but the Eagles are now two games behind the Giants and 1.5 games behind Washington, both of whom hold the tiebreaker over Philadelphia. At just 3-5 in the NFC, the Eagles have to hope for a head-to-head wild-card quandary against the Vikings and Falcons. Philly beat both of those teams, but they’re also huge favorites to each win their respective divisions, leaving them immune to a challenge by Doug Pederson’s team.

It’s a shame, because the Eagles have been football’s most underrated team this year, even given the hype from their 3-0 start. They were No. 1 in DVOA heading into this week and won’t fall far even after losing to the second-ranked Seahawks. Sunday was their first loss of the season by more than a touchdown, while each of their five victories have been by more than one score, including comfortable wins over the Steelers, Vikings and Falcons.

There are no easy victories the rest of the way for Philadelphia. They get desperate teams in the Packers and Bengals over the next two weeks, and then mix in a game against the Ravens amid a series of three showdowns with their NFC East brethren. Four of those six games are at home, which helps. Their game against Green Bay next Monday looms as absolutely critical; if they lose at home to the Packers, the Eagles probably will need to run the table to have any hope of winning a wild-card berth given their dismal tiebreaker situation.

With injuries to Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles, rookie running back Wendell Smallwood is a fantasy waiver wire option, according to Alex Gelhar of NFL.com.

Wendell Smallwood, RB, Philadelphia Eagles – 0.7 percent owned

One week after Ryan Mathews looked to be taking control of the Philadelphia backfield the team is once again beset with questions at running back. Mathews injured his knee against the Seahawks, while Darren Sproles left with a rib injury. Smallwood, a rookie, shouldered the load in their stead with 17 touches and 79 total yards. He’ll likely take on that role again in Week 12 when the Eagles host the Packers, whose run defense has shown plenty of cracks in recent weeks. He’s a must-add and will have immediate RB2 value if Mathews/Sproles miss time. FAAB suggestion: 25 percent.

In Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com‘s latest NFL Mock Draft, he has the Eagles taking Florida cornerback Quincy Wilson.

24. Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota)

Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida: The Eagles are very thin at cornerback on the depth chart, especially with Nolan Carroll on a one-year deal. Wilson is rough around the edges, but his size and speed are intriguing for the position.