Granted, it was only one year, his rookie one at that but fans and critics still found ways to take shots at Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz. The Eagles and Wentz started 2016 hot, with a 3-0 start but it came crashing down soon after. The team can take solace in the fact they are young and it was more of a learning curve with a new staff and a fresh face behind center but the promise was there.
Wentz is the future of the team. However, some of the talent around him was not on the same level as #11. There needed to be changes made and the Eagles couldn’t wait until the draft to do so. Free Agency is normally when teams like the New England Patriots or the Denver Broncos make small but effective moves to continue their dominance or the Cleveland Browns start selling off large contracts. This year the Eagles decided to be buyers.
The 2016 Eagles offense was downright terrible. The ground game made waves early on but after the suspension to OL Lane Johnson, Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood had trouble finding lanes. A lack of a consistent running attack proved to be a big problem as the Eagles could not get anything going with Wentz and the receivers.
It wasn’t as if they didn’t try. Wentz attempted 607 passes his rookie season for 5th most in the league. However, his passing yards total of 3782 were good for 18th. How can you challenge the elite in passes attempted but yet fall in line with the likes of Tom Brady, Cam Newton and Alex Smith who all took 100 fewer chances? It wasn’t completely Wentz fault, the blame has to be put on the OC. Too many times Wentz was forced to play it safe with 5-yard passes. And while the finger was pointed at a number of drops the receivers had, the truth is, Wentz was given a bad hand from the start.
Jordan Matthews may not be a true No.1 receiver but he sure played like one. Nelson Agholor is a waste and Dorial Green-Beckham came on late. With a core like this, it was a no-brainer that the team would be forced to make changes and give Wentz a few weapons. First up was the signing of Torrey Smith. Smith’s best days may be behind him but he’s a veteran. His numbers have taken a dip and that may be due to the dysfunction of the San Francisco 49ers organization than actually catching the ball. But, if the signing of Smith wasn’t enough, the Eagles did one better with the pickup of former Chicago Bears player, Alshon Jeffery.
Jeffery and Smith will form a core with Matthews that will make the Eagles a threat on offense only if, Frank Reich and Doug Pederson trust in Wentz.
607 attempts. That’s the number to keep in mind now that Smith and Jeffery are on board. If the Eagles allow Wentz to open the game up with that powerful arm he has, there will be no 18th in passing yards, 25 touchdowns and only 5 games of 250 passing yards. Wentz is ready, hell, he was ready last year, he just didn’t have the trust of the coaches or the weapons to make the right moves.
Thanks to some great FA pickups, we’re about to see who Wentz really is.