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.    Read the rest of this entry »