Eagles Wake-Up Call: Carson Wentz Is Still On Pace For An Encouraging Rookie Season
Less than three months ago, the Eagles were on top of the world.
The Birds had just beaten the Pittsburgh Steelers to advance to 3-0. After entering the season with low expectations, the Eagles’ early success got everyone thinking the team could have a better year than expected.
As it turns out, however, the Eagles are likely on pace to finish the season right where most realistic expectations had them finishing: around 6-10, give or take a game.
One big reason why the Eagles have gone from 3-0 to 5-7 is due to the struggles of rookie quarterback Carson Wentz. Wentz clearly doesn’t deserve all of the blame, but there’s no denying his numbers have steadily gotten worse over the course of the season.
Wentz’s stats through his games 1-4
4 games, 91 completions, 135 attempts, 67.4% completion, 1,007 passing yards, 7 touchdowns, 1 interception, 7.5 yards per attempt, 103.5 rating, 11 rushing attempts, 35 rush yards, 0 rush touchdowns, 3 fumbles
Wentz’s stats through games 4-8
4 games, 86 completions, 140 attempts, 61.4% completion, 883 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 6.3 yards per attempt, 72.4 rating, 12 rushing attempts, 1 rush yard, 0 rush touchdowns, 5 fumbles
Wentz’s stats through games 9-12
4 games, 108 completions, 177 attempts, 61.0% completion, 1,011 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 5.7 yards per attempt, 68.3 rating, 12 rushing attempts, 61 rush yards, 1 rush touchdown, 2 fumbles
It’s painfully clear the Eagles aren’t setting up their rookie quarterback for success in recent weeks. Philadelphia has asked Wentz to throw the ball way more often than he should be. More pass attempts for Wentz means more times when he has to throw to very uninspiring receiving options behind a patchwork offensive line.
Wentz isn’t without blame for his struggles. There are concerns about the rookie’s mechanics and decision-making. These are issues the team hopes to work on during the upcoming offseason.
In the meantime, Wentz is still on pace to post some respectable rookie quarterback stats. Check out his projected numbers.
Wentz’s 2016 current stats
12 games, 285 completions 452 attempts, 63.1% completion, 2,901 passing yards, 12 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 6.4 yards per attempt, 80.1 rating, 35 rush attempts, 97 rush yards, 1 rush touchdown, 10 fumbles
Wentz’s 2016 projected stats
16 games, 380 completions, 603 attempts, 63.1% completion, 3,868 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 6.4 yards per attempt, 80.1 rating, 47 rushing attempts, 129 rush yards, 1 rush touchdown, 13 fumbles
Only one quarterback in NFL history has attempted more passes than Wentz is on pace to throw. That would be Andrew Luck at 627. He only had a 54% completion.
Wentz is currently projected to be one of only four rookie quarterbacks with at least 3,868 passing yards as a rookie. The other three players include Luck (4,374), Cam Newton (4,051), and Jameis Winston (4,042).
Only seven quarterbacks have started all 16 games and finished with better passer ratings than what Wentz is projected to finish with. The names include Russell Wilson (100), Matt Ryan (87.7), Newton (84.5), Winston (84.2), Jim Kelly (83.3), Andy Dalton (80.4), and Joe Flacco (80.3).
Wentz is also on pace to break some all-time Eagles passing numbers as a rookie. He’s set to bypass current franchise leader Donovan McNabb in both completions and attempts. The 23-year-old Wentz is projected to finish third in passing yards and fifth in completion percentage.
These numbers, along with the game tape, still have the Eagles’ coaching staff encouraged about their rookie passer.
“I think the quarterback position is such a unique position in that you’re so dependent on the play of everybody else,” said offensive coordinator Frank Reich. “I think we go up and down together – quarterback is the [center] of it. I think, by and large, Carson is still doing a lot of really good things, still a lot of positive [things], even in a bad stretch. Two people can look at the same thing and see different results, and we have to own the negative results. But I still feel good about a lot of the things that he’s doing, even in the adversity [of] the bad stretch we’re in.”
The Eagles still have four games left. The Birds likely won’t make the playoffs but there’s still time for Wentz to turn things around and end the season on the best note he can. To see Wentz improve and play spoiler to other NFC East teams trying to make the playoffs could be a nice consolation for Eagles fans.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Three numbers that matter as the Eagles prepare to host the Washington Redskins.
We talked to Rich Tandler of CSN Washington to get a preview of the Redskins.
Take a look at our picks for this week’s NFL games.
All-22: Exploring why the Eagles’ defense has floundered over the last few games, including in last week’s loss to Cincinnati.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
As he prepares to return in two weeks against the New York Giants, Lane Johnson says he’s let the Eagles down twice and has taken a good amount of time thinking about his decisions, writes Les Bowen of the Daily News.
“Yes,” Johnson said in a text to the Daily News, when asked whether he feels he bears blame for the team’s struggles. This was his second violation of the NFL’s performance-enhancing substance rules, the first having mandated a four-game suspension in 2014.
“I’ve let this whole organization down not once, but twice, and I’ve had a long time to ponder on it and look myself in the mirror.”
Johnson, a right tackle who was drafted fourth overall in 2013 out of Oklahoma, was the Eagles’ most effective offensive lineman before the suspension, which began Oct.16 against Sunday’s opponent, the Washington Redskins.
Johnson, who has spent the suspension in Oklahoma, said he plans to return to Philadelphia on Wednesday or Thursday of next week. He can’t come back to NovaCare until Dec. 19, the day after the Eagles visit the Ravens. They will have a short week, with a Dec.22 Thursday night home game against the Giants. Coach Doug Pederson said this week he hasn’t decided how to handle that.
With Jordan Matthews expected to play Sunday against the Redskins, Paul Turner is still in the Eagles’ plans, according to Dave Zangaro of CSNPhilly.com.
It appears as though Turner has done enough to warrant keeping his playing time. As Matthews returned to practice on Wednesday — as a limited participant — Pederson said there will still be opportunities for Turner.
“There are, there are,” Pederson said. “And these are things we talked about the last couple of days as a staff — getting Paul in there, even with Jordan coming back. I think it can be a benefit to the offense to have both of those guys ready to go.”
The Eagles still haven’t had more than four receivers active for any game this season. During the last two weeks when Turner has played, either [Nelson] Agholor or Matthews were out.
“It means a lot that the coaching staff has confidence in me,” Turner said. “My biggest thing is just to come in here and just work each and every day in practice and just prepare in practice so I’m prepared when I go out there in the game.”
Doug Pederson speaks to the media for the final time this week at 10:50.
Chris Jastrzembski contributed to this post.