On April 20th, 2016, the Philadelphia Eagles made a move that was seen as one of the boldest moves of the NFL offseason. It was the most daring move. The team, which held the eighth overall pick in the NFL draft, agreed to trade with the Cleveland Browns, who possessed the second overall pick. The trade as a whole saw the Eagles acquire the second overall pick and a 2017 fourth rounder in exchange for the eighth overall pick, a third rounder, a fourth rounder, a 2017 first rounder and 2018 second rounder. In other words, the Eagles were giving up a boatload to move up from eight to two.
By moving up to two, the team assured themselves one of the drafts two top quarterbacks, Jared Goff of California, or Carson Wentz of North Dakota State. Goff would go number one overall to the Los Angeles Rams, meaning it was Wentz who would end up wearing Eagles’ green. And I will admit, at the time, as an Eagles fan, I was not a fan of the move.
The team already had Sam Bradford at quarterback, and recently signed Chase Daniel to a contract. While neither man was seen as a real star, either man could have run this team while allowing for the club to address another, more pressing need. Then Wentz would go down with a rib injury during the preseason, only taking 24 snaps in total. That was then followed by a trade of Bradford to Minnesota, which gave the team a first round pick in 2017 (which they lost in Wentz deal). Most Eagles fans, myself included, thought this meant Daniel would be given the reigns, as he played for Doug Pederson in Kansas City. But nope, the club opted to go with the rookie, and they are looking like absolute geniuses because of it.
The team is now 3-0, following victories over the Cleveland Browns, the Chicago Bears, and Pittsburgh Steelers. In all three games, Wentz has looked solid, and NFL ready. In three weeks, Wentz has thrown for 769 yards, five touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Wentz has played well, and as a result so has the team.
Coming off the Chip Kelly era, it was hard being an Eagles fan. With Kelly, his ego, and his need to dismantle the roster, it became hard to cheer on the team every week. It did not help when the team went out there each week and struggled to live up to their potential. As a LeSean McCoy fan, that trade was my final straw with Kelly. He was making it clear it was about him getting his guys above all else, and the team was going to suffer because of it.
But then the Eagles cleaned house, and they brought in Wentz to be the new face of the franchise. And after watching him for three weeks, I can say I now have a new favorite Eagle and one whose jersey I want to go out and get. The team just has a more loose and fun feel to them. They are not running around like maniacs as they were under Chip, who after a win in week one, has been demolished for two straight weeks with San Fran).
I find myself on the edge of my seat as the team drives down the field once again, genuinely caring if the team gets a first down, touchdown or anything positive. That feeling had been missing the last few years. Carson Wentz has brought it back, and it feels good to have my favorite team back.
The team as a whole has played well to open the season. Wentz is the man in charge, but that confidence has made its way to just about everyone on the team. This weeks dismantling of the Steelers proves the club, and more importantly, Wentz, are no joke. They are going to be the real deal this season, and having Wentz at the controls is going to make it a fun ride.
I may have been a Wentz doubter before the season, but now I am firmly in his corner. And this is not a bandwagon scenario, as watching Wentz and this team is just too much fun. Even if he suffers through a rookie slump, watching him run the team instead of Chip makes things a thousand times better. Wentz and the Eagles are 3-0, while Chip is 1-2, and Jared Goff has yet to see NFL action.
Keep it rolling Mr. Wentz. Eagles fans are having a blast seeing you do what you do, and we look forward to many more entertaining games this season.