Evaluating Carson Wentz: the Importance of Consistency, Context, and Patience

Posted: July 5th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 104 Comments »

What caused Carson Wentz’s mid-season regression? And what does it mean for his future? A deep dive into the numbers and film reveals both cause for concern and hope for the future.

Patrick Causey, Follow him on Twitter @PatrickMCausey

By Week 4 of the 2016 season, Carson Wentz looked like the NFL’s next big thing. Blessed with a strong arm, deft athleticism, and uncanny football intelligence, Wentz took the league by storm, leading the Eagles to a 3-0 record while throwing 5 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and posting an impressive 104.5 quarterback rating. After an emphatic 34-3 beat-down of cross-state rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers, Wentz drew comparisons to “Manning pre-snap, Rodgers post-snap” and had the Eagles faithful dreaming of a Super Bowl run.

But dreams of a parade down Broad Street slowly faded as the season progressed; the defense softened, Doug Pederson showed his rookie stripes, and injuries and suspensions depleted an already paper thin roster. All of this coincided with — and contributed to — Wentz’s regression. From weeks 6 through 15, a period during which the Eagles went 2-8, Wentz threw double the amount of interceptions (12) as touchdowns (6) and had a pedestrian 70.5 quarterback rating. Suddenly, claims that Wentz was a “slightly worse version than Blake Bortles” seemed prophetic.

Wentz’s yo-yo like rookie season has provided ammunition for his supporters and detractors alike. The former blame Wentz’s regression on outside circumstances: bad wide receiver play, shoddy offensive line, asking Wentz to do too much; while the latter claim that Wentz’s flawed season was a byproduct of Wentz simply being a flawed quarterback. As is often the case, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.


Mechanics

One reason behind Wentz’s inconsistent season was his inconsistent mechanics, an issue that plagued Wentz during his collegiate career and caused some teams, including the Browns, to question his upside.

The Eagles were hell-bent on correcting these problems last offseason, and the work paid moderate dividends. Wentz’s mechanics seemed to improve, especially early in the season, providing a glimpse of what the future might hold for Wentz if and when his mechanics are fixed:

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But mechanics cannot be changed overnight. They are more muscle memory than conscious thought, ingrained in a quarterback after years of repetition. So when the bullets start flying, reversion to old habits is expected.   

Indeed, as the season progressed, the warts we saw in Wentz’s college tape reemerged. Most notably, Wentz often left his feet stationary, as if stuck in cement, which prevented him from rotating his legs, hips or throwing shoulder towards his intended target:

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Rotating through a throw helps a quarterback generate power and accuracy. Stop short of that rotation and both suffer. Wentz had a bad habit of stopping short of that rotation, releasing the football with his hips and shoulders parallel to his intended target, instead of rotating towards it. This is why you saw so many passes sail on Wentz last year:

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As the season progressed and the losses piled up, Wentz seemed to lose his confidence and his mechanics got worse. Wentz’s footwork became sloppy and the constant barrage of pressure — real or imagined — led to a lot of unforced errors. Against the New York Giants, Wentz’s first interception was a text-book rookie mistake, as he abandoned a clean pocket, ran into pressure, and threw off his back foot:

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During the doldrums of Wentz’s mid-season slide, his throwing motion also became less compact, which affected his accuracy and gave defenders an extra half second to jump passing lanes or knock passes down at the line of scrimmage. As a rival evaluator explained to Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com: “[The] ball is dropped down, turned out, then looped back around,” one evaluator said. “With his long arms and that motion, [it’s] very hard to be accurate. Especially on the move. … [The] inability to get the ball out quick and on time is key.”

Just compare Wentz’s throwing motion in Week 1 to the embarrassing Week 13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, when Wentz threw a season high 3 interceptions (2 of which directly resulted from this issue) and posted his worst quarterback rating of the year (58.2). It doesn’t take a quarterback guru to notice the difference:

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Accuracy

Wentz’s mechanical flaws contributed to another area of concern: his accuracy.

Wentz was especially poor on throws of 20+ yards, completing only 14/53 pass attempts, or 26.4%, while throwing 7 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, and producing a 47.2 passer rating, which ranked third worst in the NFL.

One cause behind his struggles throwing deep was his faulty mechanics. The margin for error on deep throws is smaller; add in poor mechanics and the degree of difficulty gets considerably harder. Against the Detroit Lions in Week 5, Nelson Agholor broke open on a deep in route. Wentz did a good job navigating the pocket, but failed to rotate his hips or throwing shoulder as he threw:

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The end result was predictably bad as the pass sailed on Wentz leaving Agholor with no chance in hell at catching the ball.

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This was a consistent problem throughout Wentz’s rookie season, as he missed deep pass:

Overthrow 3

…after deep pass

DGB

……after deep pass

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But Wentz’s accuracy problems were often more subtle than this; routine crossing routes and screens became an adventure as Wentz struggled to find the precision that is required of a franchise caliber quarterback. On the year, Wentz completed only 70.4% of his passes within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, which ranked 19th out of 30 quarterbacks that attempted at least 300 total pass attempts on the year.

Even on completed passes, Wentz’s poor ball placement often prevented receivers from capitalizing on favorable situations. In the Eagles Week 1 win over the Cleveland Browns, Zach Ertz ran a shallow crossing route from right to left and had 10 yards of space from the nearest defender. But Wentz’s pass was low and behind Ertz, forcing him to turn back against his momentum to make the catch. Ertz gained five yards, but a more accurate pass would have led to an easy 10+ yard gain.

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For those concerned more with the result over the process (#TTP), consider this throw to Trey Burton during the Week 7 game against the Minnesota Vikings. Burton broke open out of the flat on 3rd & 2 with a clear path to the first down marker. With no pressure bearing down, this is a throw that Wentz should make in his sleep.

Burton 1

Instead of hitting Burton’s outside shoulder, allowing Burton to turn up field, Wentz threw behind Burton, forcing him to contort like a gymnastic. Burton could not make the catch, and the Eagles were forced to punt:

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During the 4th quarter of the Week 6 loss to the Washington Redskins, Ertz ran a quick slant with a good 5 yards of separation from his defender. Wentz simply needed to hit Ertz’s upfield shoulder with touch, and Ertz waltzes in for a touchdown.  While Ertz arguably could have caught the pass, Wentz didn’t make it easy, as his throw came in hot and high leading to an incompletion. The Eagles were forced to settle for a field goal at a critical juncture of the game:

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To be fair, every quarterback, even Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, miss throws; so it would be ridiculous to hold Wentz to the unattainable standard of perfection. But I’m not cherry-picking a few bad throws to make this seem like a bigger problem than it is; Wentz’s poor ball placement and faulty mechanics plagued him all season and must be corrected if Wentz wants to maximize his potential.


A Change In Team Identity

But we cannot evaluate Wentz in a vacuum. We must consider the context of the season to determine if any outside factors, such his supporting cast, affected his play. This isn’t to excuse his flaws; it’s to recognize that football is a team sport and even the best quarterbacks — but especially rookie quarterbacks — can be dragged down by a subpar supporting cast.

A critical, but often overlooked problem that hurt Wentz was the change in the Eagles team identity brought about by injuries and suspensions. During the first part of the season, the Eagles were carried by a defensive line that wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks and a conservative offense that dominated time of possession.  Playing behind a strong offensive line and using a parred down version of Doug Pederson’s west-coast offense, Wentz flourished. He wasn’t asked to carry the team, but was able to push them over the top by making at least two to three big plays a game. It’s the same formula that teams led by rookie quarterbacks have used to success in the recent past: the Seahawks with Russell Wilson, the Steelers with Big Ben, the Ravens with Joe Flacco, and the Cowboys with Dak Prescott, to name a few.

But after the Week 7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, the Eagles defense fell off a cliff. There were a number of causes: quarterbacks got rid of the ball faster, which neutralized the defensive lines ability to get pressure on the quarterback. The defense also lost nickel cornerback Ron Brooks to injury. Losing Brooks in and of itself was not significant; Brooks was at best a league average corner. His absence, however, exposed the soft underbelly of the Eagles defense: its porous lack of depth.

With Brooks out, the safety tandem of Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod — which did an excellent job of masking the Eagles weakness at cornerback — was broken up as Jenkins was forced to spend more time covering the slot.  This had a trickle-down effect, forcing the Eagles to play more single high safety and give significant minutes to Jaylen Watkins, a safety who arguably doesn’t belong in the NFL, and 7th-round rookie cornerback Jalen Mills, who graded out as Pro Football Focus’s worst cornerback in the NFL last year.

With a secondary leaking like the Titanic,  the defensive line was unable to get to the quarterback and opponents moved the ball against the defense with ease:

Weeks Sacks TFL QB Hits Points Allowed Opponents scored 14 points or less
1-7 3.16 6.83 7.5 14.66 4
8-17 1.8 5.2 5.7 24.3 1

In order to stay in games, the Eagles abandoned their conservative, ball control offense and turned to Wentz to shoulder the offensive load. Wentz threw the ball 607 times last season, which set a franchise record for pass attempts by a quarterback in a single season, and ranked 5th in the NFL last year behind only Drew Brees, Joe Flacco, Blake Bortles and Aaron Rodgers. But this wasn’t a season-long problem — it directly correlated with the defense’s struggles:

Weeks Avg. Pass Attempts NFL Rank Games with 40+ PA
Weeks 1-7 30.83 28th 0
Weeks 8-17 42.2 1st 7

To put this usage rate into perspective, consider the following chart, which tracks the pass attempts of every quarterback drafted in the first or second round in the last 10 years that started at least 10 games during his rookie season (I also threw in Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott for good measure). Wentz threw the second most pass attempts of any rookie quarterback in the last decade, behind only Andrew Luck, and bested the average number of attempts (450) by a wide margin:

QB PA
Andrew Luck 627
Carson Wentz 607
Derek Carr 599
Sam Bradford 590
Jameis Winston 535
Cam Newton 517
Ryan Tannehill 484
Blake Bortles 475
Dak Prescott 459
Matt Ryan 434
Joe Flacco 428
Blaine Gabbert 413
Teddy Bridgewater 402
Robert Griffin III 393
Russell Wilson 393
Matt Stafford 377
Marcus Mariota 370
Mark Sanchez 364
EJ Manuel 306
Christian Ponder 291
Average 450

Around the same time that Wentz was leading the league in pass attempts per game, the offensive line tasked with protecting him started to deteriorate. It started in Week 6, when right tackle Lane Johnson was suspended for 10 games. His absence forced rookie fifth round pick Halapoulivaati Vaitai into a starting role, who proceeded to give up three sacks in a disastrous performance against the Washington Redskins. Once Big V got his legs under him, the offensive line was shuffled again……and again….. and again. In total, the Eagles were without at least one starter in 11 games last season, and Wentz played behind eight different offensive line variations, which equates to a new offensive line every other game.

Week LT LG C RG RT
1 (Cle) Peters Barbre Kelce Brooks Johnson
2 (Chi) Peters Barbre Kelce Brooks Johnson
3 (Pit) Peters Barbre Kelce Brooks Johnson
5 (Det) Peters Barbre Kelce Brooks Johnson
6 (Was) Peters Barbre Kelce Brooks Vaitai
7 (Min) Peters Barbre Kelce Brooks Vaitai
8 (Dal) Peters Barbre Kelce Brooks Vaitai
9 (NYG) Peters Wisniewski Kelce Brooks Vaitai
10 (Atl) Peters Wisniewski Kelce Brooks Vaitai
11 (Sea) Peters Barbre Kelce Brooks Vaitai
12 (GB) Peters Wisniewski Kelce Seumalo Barbre
13 (Cin) Peters Wisniewski Kelce Brooks Barbre
14 (Was) Peters Wisniewski Kelce Seumalo Barbre
15 (Bal) Peters Wisniewski Kelce Brooks Seumalo
16 (NYG) Peters Barbre Kelce Brooks Johnson
17 (Dal) Peters Seumalo Kelce Brooks Johnson

During weeks 1-5 and 16-17, there was only one change to the Eagles offensive line, when Doug Pederson started rookie Isaac Seumalo over veteran Allen Barbre in Week 17. But during Weeks 6-15 — around the same time that Wentz’s pass attempts shot up and he regressed — there was anywhere from one to three starters missing every single week.

While we need to be cautious with small sample sizes, the difference in Wentz’s production during these two periods of the season is stark:

Weeks Cmp% Yds/G Y/A TD Int Rate Sack% QBR
1-5, 16-17 64.9% 234 6.95 10 2 96.6 4.4% 72.3
6-15 61.2% 237.8 5.9 6 12 70.7 5.9% 48.5

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(Charts courtesy of David Menard; follow him on Twitter @heyyou_ca)


Poor Supporting Cast

The problems didn’t stop there. The Eagles receiving unit was utterly bereft of talent and forced Wentz to walk a tight rope all season. If Wentz’s passes were not perfectly placed, his receivers rarely bailed him out. Heck, even when Wentz delivered an accurate pass, there was a good chance it would be dropped.

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By almost every conceivable metric, the Eagles receivers made life harder on Wentz. According to ESPN Stats, Eagles receivers dropped 5.8% of their targets, which led the NFL, dropped 4.3 percent of his deep passes, the seventh-most in the league, and failed to consistently gain separation, as Wentz threw the 7th most passes into tight windows last year, which is defined as a pass targeting a receiver with less than one yard of separation from his defender, per NextGenStats. The Eagles receivers also ranked 31st in receiving yards, 31st in yards per catch, and 28th in touchdowns. Wentz’s top three receivers –Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham — had a collective catch rate of 55.7%, which was 25th worst in the league.  The receiver position became so dire that an entire fan base was actually excited about Bryce Treggs and Paul Turner getting playing time.

These numbers, courtesy of Pro Football Focus, illustrate how the lack of talent at wide receiver — especially on the outside — hurt Wentz’s performance. Wentz posted a 97.3 quarterback rating targeting Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz, which would have been good for 7th best in the NFL. But his rate plummeted by 30 points — to 67.1 — when he targeted Nelson Agholor or Dorial Green-Beckham:

While there is no perfect way to objectively measure how bad Wentz’s supporting cast was, we gain some insight using Pro-Football-Reference.com’s approximate value metric, which is the functional equivalent of a QB rating for every player. The following chart, which includes the same group of rookie quarterbacks mentioned above, compares the quality of each quarterback’s starting receivers, tight end and running back (measured by their combined approximate value), with the number of pass attempts each quarterback threw. While some quarterbacks — like Matt Ryan, RGIII, Dak Prescott and Russell Wilson — were in extremely favorable situations (great teammates, low pass attempts), others — like Wentz, Sam Bradford and Derek Carr, were asked to shoulder the offensive load with little to no talent at their disposal.

QB Skill Players Combined AV QB Pass Attempts
Ryan 49 Luck 627
Prescott 46 Wentz 607
Wilson 42 Carr 599
Newton 41 Bradford 590
RGIII 38 Winston 535
Winston 36 Newton 517
Luck 34 Tannehill 484
Flacco 34 Bortles 475
Ponder 33 Prescott 459
Sanchez 31 Ryan 434
Tannehill 28 Flacco 428
Manuel 28 Gabbert 413
Gabbert 26 Bridgewater 402
Wentz 26 RGIII 393
Bridgewater 25 Wilson 393
Bradford 24 Stafford Mariota 377
Mariota 22 Mariota Sanchez 370
Stafford 22 Sanchez Manuel 364
Carr 17 Manuel Ponder 306
Bortles 14 Ponder 291
 Average 30.2  Average 450

Indeed, Wentz threw the second most passes while relying on a collective group of skill players — Zach Ertz, Jordan Matthews, Darren Sproles, Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham — that ranked 14th out of 20.  Compare that to Dak Prescott, who had the second best supporting cast over the last decade (a combined AV of 46) while throwing just 459 passes on the year, and it’s easy to see why one excelled while the other was inconsistent.


The Future

So what does all of this mean for Wentz moving forward? The Eagles have done their part, spending considerable capital to improve the Eagles receiving unit, offensive line, and defense.

That means the onus is on Wentz to improve. And it starts with his mechanics. Skeptics suggest that most mechanical issues are not fixable, but their claim is belied by history. Coming out of college, Aaron Rodgers held the ball too high, next to his ear, which led to an awkward release. A revamped throwing motion has all but corrected the problem. Cam Newton, like Wentzhad a tendency to rely too much on his arm strength instead of transferring his weight and rotating his hips towards his intended targets. That issue was notably absent from his MVP season in 2015. Matthew Stafford was plagued by inconsistent mechanics for most of his career; but his improved timing and footwork in the pocket helped spearhead his MVP candidacy last year. And Russell Wilson is still working on fixing an elongated throwing motion that is markedly similar to what we see from Wentz.

The common theme in each of the above examples are that mechanics can be fixed, but it takes time. Wentz started in earnest this offseason, spending 10 days training with biomechanics gurus Adam Dedeaux and Tom House, who have trained Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Andy Dalton, to name a few. So we should expect modest improvement again this year. But it is unrealistic to expect Wentz to have overcome years of bad habits in just a few months of work.

Outside of the mechanic and accuracy issues, there was a lot to like about Wentz’s rookie year. It starts with his work ethic and football intelligence. During the pre-draft process, Wentz blew teams away with how quickly he processed information and understood offensive philosophies. According to Cris Collinsworth, Wentz was so impressive during his interview with the Dallas Cowboys that they tried trading up in the draft to acquire him (video after the jump):

The Cowboys interviewed him. They went through and put him on the board, and it’s torture chamber stuff. They’ll do everything they can to distract you, write 7 different plays and coverages and as many details, and then erase it and you’ve seen it because Jon Gruden does it on tv all the time. So they…knew Wentz was supposed to be a smart guy, and they took it to an outrageous proportion. They thought that somehow he had their playbook. He spit this thing back to them in a way they had never seen a rookie. Now they said Dak Prescott was the second most impressive. But Carson Wentz was the guy that so blew this test out of the water that they were trying to look at different ways to move up in the draft, do different things, could they get there, could he fall to them.”

Tales of Wentz’s work ethic have already become things of folklore. From Wentz’s fiancé catching him watch film under the dinner table during a date night, to Malcolm Jenkins finding Wentz working late on Friday nights hours after the team left the facility, to Wentz modeling his game preparation off Drew Brees, which starts with film sessions at 5:15 am every day.

It showed on the field. Most rookie quarterbacks are overwhelmed by the change in speed and complexities of the NFL. Not Wentz. He showed that he was capable of handling the advanced aspects of quarterbacking from day one.

In the Eagles Week 1 win over the Cleveland Browns, the Eagles ran a slightly modified version of the “sail concept” with Matthews running a go route, Ertz running an inside out corner route, and Sproles breaking to the flat off the play action pass. Wentz worked through his progressions with the poise of a seasoned veteran, checking Matthews on the deep vertical route before working back towards the line of scrimmage and firing a strike to Ertz for a 15 yard gain:

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Wentz also proved adept at looking defenders off with his eyes, a skill that is atypical of a rookie quarterbacks. Watch as he manipulates Sean Lee into vacating the center of the field to spring Jordan Matthews open for an easy gain:

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During the Week 11 game against the Seattle Seahawks, Wentz did this repeatedly; Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll noticed (transcription courtesy of Josh Paunil): “He’s gonna be really good…Did you see the number of times he looked us off? He looked us off really well. He was looking off on the curl routes, he was moving linebackers — that’s fantastic stuff for a guy to do. He did it on the touchdown play; he did it on two or three other plays…That’s really advanced stuff. This is a guy who hasn’t played very much…He’s gonna be a great player. There’s no question. He’s got everything you need. He’s got great poise, he’s tough, he’s fast, he’s strong and he’s got some sense already, and he was changing plays and he handled the noise. He did a great job. He really did.”

Wentz combines his football intelligence with the ability to make big time throws. Every week, there were at least 2-3 throws that left you awstruck and understanding why so many in Philadelphia are convinced that Wentz is their franchise quarterback of the future.

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Wentz also has wheels. During the lead up to the 2016 NFL Draft, Mike Mayock compared Wentz’s athleticism favorably to Cam Newton and Andrew Luck. The statement seemed absurd in the moment; the type of hyperbole that we often hear about draft prospects leading up to the draft. But as the season progressed, Wentz validated the praise, flashing improvisational jazz like movement within the pocket that few quarterbacks possess.

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This context underscores why we shouldn’t be so quick to write off Carson Wentz. He has holes in his game that he must improve, and if he fails to make strides this offseason he will likely be inconsistent again next year. But the simple fact remains that Wentz was asked to do so much with so little support for a significant part of the season. That is a tall order for any quarterback, let alone a rookie quarterback who missed most of training camp because of injury and who, just 9 days before the start of the regular season, was operating under the assumption that he was going to be the third string quarterback. If he can overcome his flaws, Wentz has the tools to be a franchise quarterback. It just won’t happen overnight. Like almost every other young quarterback to come through the NFL, Wentz needs a few years before he finally reaches his full potential.


104 Comments on “Evaluating Carson Wentz: the Importance of Consistency, Context, and Patience”

  1. 1 D3FB said at 3:50 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    Well done Patrick

    The comment sections accepts your dissertation.

    Your doctorate is in the mail.

  2. 2 Patrick said at 8:26 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    Haha, my man — very much appreciated.

  3. 3 P_P_K said at 11:19 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    Congrats, Doc.

  4. 4 Will Ft. Daft Punk said at 4:27 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    Excellent breakdown. Top notch stuff.

    I think Wentz will be fine. He doesn’t have issues that aren’t correctable and he and all his coaches are aware of the areas he needs work. If he ended up on a team with a defensive minded coach with no knowledge of developing a QB I would be more concerned. I think the staff keep Wentz on track.

    It might take another season but I think Wentz will at least be good enough. I haven’t seen enough to say he’s Blake Bortles 2.0, a potential top 5 QB or a HOF yet.

  5. 5 Patrick said at 8:27 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    Thanks much Will. I agree — think he has the potential to be special, just needs some more time to iron out his issues

  6. 6 Ankerstjernen said at 9:54 AM on July 6th, 2017:

    As the story goes, when Rodgers came into the league, he had serious technical issues, and they had to retrain his throwing motion and footwork. Of course he had something like 4 years to work on this while Favre kept delaying his retirement. People forget that there were reasons Tom Brady wasn’t selected until round six, and some of it had to do with his footwork. Cam Newton was lambasted in his rookie year for really poor throwing technique and decision making and something similar has been the case for Matthew Stafford. All of these really good QB’s remind me in some ways of Wentz – not just in the way they seem to be challenged, but in the ways in which their potential has always been apparent even so. If Rodgers, Stafford and Newton can learn to correct their throwing technique in a matters of a couple of seasons or three and then become elite players at the position, why shouldn’t Wentz be able to do the same? Like it has been stated, he certainly has the brains AND the work ethich, and he is surrounded by a great staff. Of course its not a given, but the people who are already writing him off because “technical flaws can never be corrected” are just ignorant of the history of some of the best players in the league right now.

  7. 7 Patrick said at 9:53 AM on July 7th, 2017:

    Very well said, and is similar to what I highlighted in the article. There are many examples of quarterbacks overcoming mechanical flaws. Wentz’s detractors often overlook this point and declare him a bust that cannot be saved. But I think it is also important to recognize that overcoming those flaws take time. So while we might see improvement this year from last, it will likely take a few years before the issue is fully ironed out.

  8. 8 Ankerstjernen said at 1:04 PM on July 7th, 2017:

    I guess what would be really interesting with regards to the things that you line out here (fantastic job by the way!) would be to look at players who successfully corrected their mechanical flaws over time (Rodgers, Stafford, Newton, Wilson, etc. You could even go back to Kurt Warner and others) and those who didn’t (like Bortles, Foles and almost every first round bust in the last ten years) and figure out what separates them. My guess would be a combination of intelligence, dedication, stability and coaching. And Wentz appears to have all of those, in abundance.

  9. 9 Seth S. Scott said at 4:31 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    wow. great writeup, super in depth. nice work!

  10. 10 Patrick said at 8:27 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    Thanks Seth!

  11. 11 Bert's Bells said at 4:46 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    Great work!!!!!

    Missing a “not” before “buttressed by history” in THE FUTURE section.

  12. 12 Michael Jorden said at 5:59 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    That was really exceptional – thank you. I have faith in Wentz that he’ll make the needed adjustments.

  13. 13 Patrick said at 8:27 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    Much appreciated. I do too. I think the work ethic and desire to be great are there. Hoping that we see a steady improvement over the next 2-3 years.

  14. 14 P_P_K said at 6:09 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    Hey Pat, Extraordinary work. Thanks.
    Now I really can’t wait for the season to start.

  15. 15 Patrick said at 8:28 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    Glad you enjoyed it, I am just as excited. August can’t get here soon enough…

  16. 16 P_P_K said at 10:26 AM on July 6th, 2017:

    “Yes” to August. Even better, Wentz will have some time to improve and hit his groove before the Nov and Dec games against the Cowboys. Sweep Dallas!

  17. 17 Koy: The Legend of Neckbeard said at 6:39 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    Wow.

  18. 18 Ark87 said at 7:14 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    This is…

    f-ing great Pat

    My one nit-pick, don’t want to be the homer to defend every Wentz error

    “Against the New York Giants, Wentz’s first interception was a text-book rookie mistake, as he abandoned a clean pocket, ran into pressure, and threw off his back foot:”

    He was flushed backwards and out of the pocket by 98 putting Kelce on his butt (it was pathetic enough pass pro even by his standards that he may have tripped over Barbre). Either way you can’t call a pocket inhabited by the flaming wreckage of your center clean. Very much a rookie decision to attempt to pass while retreating though. Bad decision.

  19. 19 Guy Media said at 8:31 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    “He was flushed backwards and out of the pocket by 98 putting Kelce on his butt”

    WAY too common of an occurrence.

  20. 20 Rellihcs said at 11:44 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    So it IS you. Am I right that philly dot com banned you? I think I took one for the team in supporting you as well. Bastards, but you were clearly over their line…

  21. 21 Guy Media said at 8:08 AM on July 6th, 2017:

    Negative. I had to switch up the twitter, so I needed to reestablish the same name across multiple platforms.

  22. 22 Rellihcs said at 8:49 AM on July 6th, 2017:

    Oh good

  23. 23 Patrick said at 8:33 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    Thanks my man. I see your point, and think it’s subject to debate. I will go back and look at the All-22 (tried to just now, but it hasn’t been working today for some reason), but if I remember correctly, the all-22 shows a better angle of what I am talking about. I think Wentz hesitates just long enough so he can’t take advantage of the clean pocket and then compounded it more by running backwards. I agree about the bad decision part, though. So we are on the same page there.

  24. 24 Ark87 said at 8:47 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    Yeah there’s definitely a point where he can stick his drop and get the ball out. Maybe to Ags right away but I don’t know his progressions from this angle. I wonder things like was anyone open? Did he keep his eyes up or was he staring at the train wreck that was Jason Kelce?

    I appreciate the feedback, do you have another place that you write. I know my comment was focused on the nit-pick, but this is great stuff. Not sure if you’re an Eagles nut like the rest of us, but it’s great to nerd out about any kind of football when it’s this quality. Saw in another comment you sometimes write on Eagle’s rewind, will have to check it out during the season. If you write it, I’ll read it. Good stuff.

  25. 25 Patrick said at 1:06 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    Thanks man — I don’t know how much more I can write, all depends on work. But if I do, it will likely be on here…. Appreciate the love

  26. 26 daveH said at 7:27 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    HOF piece of writing !! Wowie. Insights on the insights!
    .. the role of Super Woman’s love interest will now be played by Tommy Lawlor.
    On Broadway the role of Alexander Hamilton will now be played by Tommy Lawlor. The next carpool karaoke will feature Tomy Lawlor, John Belushi, Chris Farley and Johnny Carson ….

  27. 27 Ark87 said at 7:38 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    Just a heads up, this is a guest writer: Patrick Causey

  28. 28 daveH said at 8:07 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    Damn. .i flew right passed that. . Whooo da heck is Patrick Causey. .. does everyone know so he is ??
    .this is some badass guest authorship

  29. 29 Ark87 said at 8:11 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    I made the same mistake started writing my comment, then went to check if someone said the same thing before posting, who tf is Pat?? Oh shit!

    While reading the article I’m like, oh snap Tommy started making custom gifs, holy shit! But yeah I’ve never heard of Pat either. Hope he keeps it up. This is some thorough stuff. Hard to argue with any of it.

  30. 30 Patrick said at 8:36 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    Appreciate the nice comments fellas. I used to post long form articles on EaglesRewind the last two years or so, but had to scale back because of work. Hoping to write some more this year, but it will likely be sporadic. Either way, thanks much for the comments! Glad to know you enjoyed it.

  31. 31 Rellihcs said at 11:55 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    I see you over on Lirbertyballers too dog. You’re everywhere. You’re the Jonah Bolden of philly sports writing now. Making plays all over and bristling with potential.

  32. 32 eagleyankfan said at 3:03 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    hahahaha…now that’s funny…

  33. 33 Ark87 said at 7:44 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    Shout out to my boy Jason Peters being a stud in every one of these clips. Love seeing him stone wall people and them being like yeah-nevermind, I’m just going to “contain” on this play.

  34. 34 Guy Media said at 7:44 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    He had better be in the HOF as a result!

  35. 35 Ark87 said at 7:48 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    It’s the digital age, we may have to make him famous the only way we can…memes, I leave it to A_T_G

  36. 36 teltschikfakeout88 said at 1:00 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    Dude…Thanks for point this out…I went back and rewatched #71 and saw the same thing…except the speed rusher for Atl got by him but he got just enough of him to push beyond the QB and he had that weird cutblock against his man in the NYG game…but the ease of which he turned back RDE’s was like child’s play…

  37. 37 Patrick said at 1:06 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    Will be honest, in the weeks I spent researching and writing and creating the gifs for this, I never noticed that until you pointed it out. Just went back and rewatched… incredible. Spot on!

  38. 38 Guy Media said at 7:45 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    This is so good that I’d like to print it, tie it around a brick, and throw it through Cian Fahey’s window.

  39. 39 Patrick said at 8:37 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    That legitimately made me laugh out loud. Well done.

  40. 40 Guy Media said at 8:37 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    That dude is really high up on the enemies list.

  41. 41 Patrick said at 9:54 AM on July 7th, 2017:

    Still laughing at this

  42. 42 Guy Media said at 10:10 AM on July 7th, 2017:

    Happy to be of entertainment value. That dude really gets on my nerves. I’m hoping Kempski goes after him like he did with that no-so-bright punk.

  43. 43 Arno1982 said at 8:36 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    Great, great read.

    What I do wonder is how 10 days with these biomechanics gurus make a difference? As you said, it takes time to change your habits. Wouldn’t you push as an organization or as motivaties as Wentz is to go for a month or 2 times 2 weeks to really get that day in day out repititions of technically sound throws?

    I’m not familiar with what these guys do, but you would think every team and every quarterback wants to improve his technique. Money maybe being the limiting factor??

  44. 44 Ark87 said at 8:57 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    Changing any kind of mechanics is damn hard. I played baseball and football into my teenage years, and have played videogames all my life. Every endeavor I take, my mechanics are wildly inconsistent. So I would always work on them, because I was young with the delusions of grandeur. I’d always feel like, yeah I got it now. I’d take it to any competitive setting and just be ridiculously bad or uncomfortable. And I’d slip back into bad habbits in the interest of short-term competitiveness.

    Hats off to the folks with a knack for nailing mechanics. That stuff is hard. Discipline is the key imo.

  45. 45 Dave said at 1:25 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    IMO, the mechanics of a successful golf swing is much harder to change than a quarterback’s mechanics. Yet, history has shown some of the greatest golfers have changed their swings throughout their careers and with great success.

    When you look at successful QBs who changed mechanics you have to look no further than Tom Brady in 2016.

  46. 46 Ark87 said at 2:19 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    Oh yeah, there are plenty of people who have improved their mechanics to great effect. I’m just saying it’s damn hard. Professionals with their boatloads of talent and singular focus on their craft have much better odds than you or I.

    I’m not a golfer so I can’t really speak on it. But I am skeptical. Golfing seems meditative, perfect serenity, distractions are frowned up. Even if a golf swing is more complicated or precise, the chaotic bullets flying aspect of football seems like it would challenge your discipline. But I’m no golfer.

  47. 47 Dave said at 5:24 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    A good golf is swing is much, much, much harder to develop and maintain than you can imagine…it’s the reason us amateurs drink alcohol while playing; )

  48. 48 RobNE said at 5:26 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    Ha I totally agree. I once took a lesson or read a book or whatever and my grip needs to rotate a little, but that felt funny. Now I only play a 4-5 times a year and hate to practice, so naturally the change couldn’t be made. But…but…when I just said F it I’m not going to get better, I’ll drink beer and just enjoy it I feel like I got just a tad better. Not a lot of course. Or maybe I just feel better afterwards about my score.

  49. 49 Dave said at 6:17 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    It’s called “swing juice” for a reason.

  50. 50 Sean Stott said at 5:32 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    They’re very hard to change. I remember when I started to just throw a baseball sidearm. So hard to go back.

  51. 51 ChoTime said at 12:35 AM on July 7th, 2017:

    It could be the expert’s role was to diagnose the problem and prescribe exercises to solve it, and now the onus is on Wentz and the team to execute the plan.

  52. 52 Patrick said at 9:55 AM on July 7th, 2017:

    Thanks much. I don’t think 10 days is enough to “fix” the problems entirely. But I do think it is enough for the problems to be identified and solutions to be provided. Wentz will need to stay committed to the exercises and training he received during that time and it should pay off over the next few years. I also suspect he will receive a heavy dose of training from Pederson and the rest of the coaches on the Eagles staff.

  53. 53 suthrneagle said at 10:23 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    ” Wentz modeling his game preparation off Drew Brees ”
    dont know the QBs name that was last year`s rental,but he played with Brees.
    Looks like that investment was money well spent.

  54. 54 Ark87 said at 10:58 PM on July 5th, 2017:

    god I wish he was a rental. That was a damn hundai we bought straight up, paid for it like it was a Lexus. Then drove off after a year.

    Hah, I had no idea Chase Daniel was on the Saints practice squad for as many years as he was.

  55. 55 Patrick said at 1:07 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    Chase Daniel. Yup. Check this article out: touches on how Daniel schooled Wentz in that method of preparing for games: http://www.csnphilly.com/philadelphia-eagles/carson-wentz-learning-drew-brees-method-preparation

  56. 56 freewilly21055 said at 10:36 AM on July 6th, 2017:

    This highlights why I was initially hesitant about the Eagles moving up so high to get Wentz. Coming from a small program and having not played a lot, he lacked the level of development he would have gotten as the starter for two years or more in a big time program, so he came with bugs in his game that most #1 or #2 picks would have already ironed out to some degree. I thought at the time he was at best a high second-round caliber pick who got hyped all the way up to #2 in a so-so draft year for QBs.

    It didn’t help that the first few games created the false impression we were going to be able to skip the project stage and go directly to the playoffs, and then reality set in.

    But after seeing him play a full season I’m confident that getting him was the right move. He clearly has the intangibles and physical tools, and his football smarts and work ethic say he’ll get the hang of it in minimal time. Eagles fans will have to be a little patient with him, which is fine. It’s still too early to think Super Bowl, so I’m going to relax, enjoy a much improved squad and watch Wentz develop into a top 10 QB by season’s end.

  57. 57 Patrick said at 1:08 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    Well said, I completely agree. I was actually against the Eagles trading up to draft him, which I touched on in my scouting report on Wentz. But I think it panned out, especially since Roseman was able to recapture some of the draft picks he gave up.

  58. 58 knighn said at 1:11 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    Patrick – Great to see you here on Iggles Blitz! Will you be posting anymore material on Eagles Rewind? Apologies if you already answered this elsewhere in the comments section. I just got here!

  59. 59 Patrick said at 9:57 AM on July 7th, 2017:

    Most likely not. Brent did a great job over at ER, but I think he has stopped publishing. I can’t write as often as I like, but will write from time to time. Just not sure where I will do so.

  60. 60 freewilly21055 said at 1:54 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    True. I’m feeling more confident in Howie these days too. When it’s all said and done we might very well end up feeling like we stole Wentz for what we gave up to get him. I almost feel that way already. Knowing that he was Dallas’ top pick makes it that much sweeter too. If I had to decide today whether Prescott or Wentz is more likely to be the better QB over their career, I’d have to say Wentz. I think Dak will be good too but we don’t know yet how good. The schedule Dallas played last year was easy street, and everything else around Dak added up to about the softest landing for a rookie starting QB that I’ve ever heard of. This year it’s his turn to run into a dose of NFL reality.

  61. 61 ChoTime said at 10:43 AM on July 6th, 2017:

    So basically, it’s time to move on, right?

    Just kidding, guys, put away the rope!

    Patrick, your analysis seems a more in-depth version of the Eagles fan conventional wisdom. The one departure was that Wentz actually did well relatively well throwing to our whipping boy Jordan. I wonder if that says more about how bad the rest of the WRs are, or if we’re maybe a bit too down on the guy.

    The breakdown of how Wentz did with the healthy and shuffled O-line was particularly interesting. For as potentially encouraging as that could be, I’d be quick to remember correlation does not equal causation. That being said, it would be nice if his problems were all solved by Lane staying on the field.

  62. 62 Patrick said at 1:12 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    I think our hate of J Matt is a little misplaced. He was miscast as a number 1 option, when I think he is much better suited to be a #2 or 3 option. Think he will flourish this year with more attention being paid to Jeffery and Smith.

    As for oline: I agree, but note that his sack rate went up dramatically after we lost multiple offensive lineman. I think that impacted his play, both in terms of preventing him from taking advantage of shots down field (because he was sacked) or because it messed with his confidence. If the oline stays healthy, I think he is going to play better

  63. 63 sonofdman said at 1:39 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    I agree 100% about J Matt. Also, great job with this write up!

  64. 64 kajomo said at 11:35 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    I think most realize that Matthews is a slot only guy who will not deserve the money he will command.

    I personally cannot stand his try hard act. How can you work that hard and still have unreliable hands? To me that shows he will never be able to improve. He is what he is. A flawed player with inflated stats due to a lack of options in the passing game who will earn more money than he is worth.

  65. 65 Chiptomylou said at 11:09 AM on July 6th, 2017:

    Well done Patrick. Gives me a little anxiety with his technique but it sounds like something that will come to be with a ton of reps plus it sounds like his football IQ is off the charts. Very good read, thank you!

  66. 66 Patrick said at 1:10 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    Thanks!!

  67. 67 BobSmith77 said at 12:08 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    This was a really nice writeup which confirmed a lot of things I have seen/heard along with a few other new insights.

  68. 68 Patrick said at 1:10 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    Thanks much Bob!

  69. 69 BobSmith77 said at 1:58 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    The only thing I wondered about (and you didn’t mention) was Wentz’s sore elbow injury disclosed after the season was over.

    Wondered how that affected him especially in the last month of the season.

  70. 70 BobSmith77 said at 1:55 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    My sense is that Wentz’s mechanics are always going to be inconsistent & that he is going to need a big target with decent/good hands & a large catch radius.

    Really interested to see what effect Jeffrey has this year and to a lesser degree a healthy Matthews.

    This team doesn’t have a Westbrook or a bell cow at RB but I really like on paper (as long as Peters stays healthy) what they do have.

    I bet the offense surprises a lot of people already on with how dynamic is even in camp vs last year.

  71. 71 Dave said at 8:02 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    “My sense is that Wentz’s mechanics are always going to be inconsistent & that he is going to need a big target with decent/good hands & a large catch radius.”

    I’m curious as to why you say that. Do you think QB mechanics cannot be changed at all, or is this just specific to Carson? If specific to Carson, why?

  72. 72 ColorSgt said at 12:31 AM on July 7th, 2017:

    Yeah, I’d argue that Wentz has the intelligence and work ethic needed to fix his mechanics. That doesn’t guarantee anything, but I’d bet on him over a lot of other qbs.

  73. 73 Michael Schiller said at 3:29 AM on July 7th, 2017:

    He’s psychic + eversooptimistic

  74. 74 Someguy77 said at 10:49 AM on July 7th, 2017:

    Didn’t say he couldn’t improve especially on his foot work.

    Just watching him a lot last year, his background, and his body frame. Not a naturally fluid athlete and that isn’t going to improve with age.

    Strikes me as some who is going to have to do a lot if reps and even then he’ll revert at times including when feeling pressure in the pocket.

    The thing he can really improve too is knowing he doesn’t have the ability to thread that ball into a tight space and not making a throw. Like to see more if that this year and reducing INTs/ill-advised throws.

  75. 75 Dave said at 1:08 PM on July 7th, 2017:

    So you basically disagree with Patrick’s analysis.

  76. 76 BobSmith77 said at 1:27 PM on July 7th, 2017:

    Not disagree as much as seeing some of this issues and a bit of inconsistency.

    Doesn’t mean he can’t improve and there certainly is a lot of room for improvement.

  77. 77 Dave said at 1:53 PM on July 7th, 2017:

    Damn, I was confused why Someguy77 was replying to me, now I realize you have 2 accounts.

  78. 78 P_P_K said at 9:56 AM on July 7th, 2017:

    It seems I might be more excited about Blount than most people. He ran for almost 1200 yards and 18 tds last year.
    I know he’s 30 and his past hasn’t earned him any boyscout badges, but I’m hopeful has has fuel left in the tank and is looking for a grand finale before he retires.

  79. 79 freewilly21055 said at 4:30 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    That catch and run by Sproles against Pittsburgh made me jump off my sofa when it happened and it still makes me laugh every time I see it. I’m really gonna miss that guy when he’s gone.

  80. 80 Patrick said at 9:59 AM on July 7th, 2017:

    It was an amazing play from Sproles, but Wentz was impressive on that play as well. He did a great job buying time with his legs, stopping short of the line of scrimmage, and dropping a perfect touch pass to Sproles on the move. I don’t think Wentz gets enough credit for what he did there…

  81. 81 Sb2bowl said at 10:15 AM on July 7th, 2017:

    When he ran parallel to the line of scrimmage, to me that was when I realized he had the mind and mental makeup to be a franchise type player. For a rookie to do that, in his third start- against a defense that wanted to put him in his place; under pressure and improvising.

    Well, yup- I’m a believer.

  82. 82 freewilly21055 said at 11:11 AM on July 7th, 2017:

    No doubt, but the thing I find most entertaining is the way Sproles keeps switching directions and the Pittsburgh defenders are breaking their necks and ankles trying to anticipate where he’s going. Funny stuff.

  83. 83 P_P_K said at 4:54 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    This addition to Cowboys culture hasn’t been mentioned:
    http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/news/dak-prescott-dallas-cowboys-fake-autographs-panini/22ldh2l019rt1irq0d4cge44d

  84. 84 daveH said at 8:11 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    Awesome post. .. the scandal renders them even more valuable! ! Brilliant marketing

  85. 85 P_P_K said at 10:52 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    That’s Jerry Jones, for ya’.

  86. 86 Sean Stott said at 5:25 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    Seems weird that there is so much fuss over the Elliott investigation, whether they find hard evidence or not. But…. didn’t I just watch him lift up some strange girl’s shirt in public? Isn’t that something that should … you know… not be condoned?

  87. 87 RobNE said at 5:27 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    standards going down all over.

  88. 88 Guy Media said at 7:09 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    He’s obviously a serial abuser of women and needs to be suspended, even if for only a game, immediately. This will allow the league to really ramp up punishment as he gets into more trouble!

  89. 89 Dave said at 8:07 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    It’s rare that I read an article about the Eagles that offers so much insight and analysis that I feel the need to read it twice. Kudos to you Patrick.

  90. 90 Patrick said at 9:59 AM on July 7th, 2017:

    Dave, very much appreciate the kind words. Glad you enjoyed the article.

  91. 91 Corry said at 8:52 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    This was an excellent read. Very well done!

  92. 92 Patrick said at 9:59 AM on July 7th, 2017:

    Thanks!

  93. 93 Actions Speak Louder said at 11:19 PM on July 6th, 2017:

    bar raised. great article.

  94. 94 Patrick said at 9:59 AM on July 7th, 2017:

    Much appreciated!

  95. 95 P_P_K said at 11:31 AM on July 7th, 2017:

    Pat, do you/did you play football or coach?

  96. 96 ColorSgt said at 12:25 AM on July 7th, 2017:

    Great post. I hate to get too optimistic, but Wentz has the potential to be special. Even if he doesn’t get much better than he looked at the beginning of the season, he should be enough of a decent qb to build around. I’m really excited to see what he can do with better receivers this year.

  97. 97 Guy Media said at 7:04 AM on July 7th, 2017:

    Yeah, it is very hard to not feel optimistic about Wentz.

  98. 98 Rellihcs said at 10:16 AM on July 7th, 2017:

    Bob’s got that covered for us.

  99. 99 增达网 said at 4:20 AM on July 7th, 2017:

    年年有今日,岁岁有今朝!

  100. 100 TVGuy22 said at 11:24 AM on July 7th, 2017:

    That Sproles catch and run against the Steelers was great. Needs the Benny Hill theme music under it…

  101. 101 greenblood0118 said at 11:56 AM on July 7th, 2017:

    Great read, thanks Patrick!

  102. 102 Guadzilla said at 6:56 AM on July 8th, 2017:

    Superb analysis!

  103. 103 Brandon said at 12:31 PM on July 9th, 2017:

    Tremendous article. The best post-season breakdown I’ve seen of Wentz all year. Great job.

  104. 104 Actions Speak Louder said at 12:09 PM on July 18th, 2017:

    lets see some more articles boss