Was Carson Wentz the true problem in Philly?

The Indianapolis Colts came off a season looking for a new quarterback, Carson Wentz came off a season looking for a new team. Many are wondering could reuniting in Indianapolis bring home a superbowl?

The Colts have one of the most stacked rosters in the NFL and Carson Wentz should be sure to succeed, despite coming off one of his worst seasons to date.  Reuniting with Carson’s old coach in Philly they are likely to dominate. The Philadelphia Eagles was simply not the right environment for Carson and here’s why.

Entering the 2021 offseason, the Indianapolis Colts were in the market for a new franchise quarterback following the retirement of Philip Rivers earlier in the year.

In early February, NFL insider Adam Shefter reported that Carson Wentz was pushing to get out of Philly.

From there on out, the Colts were the clear-cut favorites to acquiring Carson Wentz. The Colts already have young offensive talent such as Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman, as well as the second-highest offensive line grade in the NFL according to PFF. They also have the draft capital and cap space to make a move for a big-name player. In addition, Carson would have great chemistry with Colts head coach Frank Reich, who was his previous offensive coach at Philadelphia. 

It would be illogical for them not to pursue Carson, despite his last season.

Wentz was coming off his worst season to date, leading the league in interceptions thrown and his Philadelphia Eagles finishing last in the NFC East. 

On February 18th, the Eagles traded Carson Wentz to the Colts in exchange for a 2021 third round pick and a second round pick for the 2022 NFL draft.

The conditional 2022 second-rounder has a potential to turn into a first round pick if Wentz plays 75 percent of the snaps or 70 percent of the snaps and the team makes the playoffs.

This undoubtedly was one of the most interesting moves but unsurprising moves this offseason. To many, Carson is a Boom or Bust player. From my personal analysis, I believe acquiring Wentz is the Colts cornerstone piece to solidify the Colts as Super Bowl contenders in the AFC.

Back in 2016, Wentz was the second overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. The Philadelphia Eagles picked him up from North Dakota State.

Drafting a quarterback occasionally means sitting the quarterback anywhere from two games to several years and letting the quarterback develop and learn behind a veteran qb.  On the other hand, set the quarterback up with a solid roster around him. For example two of the best quarterbacks of all time Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers both succeeded in every way of their career but developed at different paces. Aaron Rodgers spent his first three years on the bench behind Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Farvre. Peyton Manning put on the gear the same year he got drafted and threw more interceptions than touchdowns. Both quarterbacks to date have won multiple MVPs and won at least one Super Bowl.

Philadelphia had already constructed one of the best offensive lines in the league consisting of All-Pro linemen such as Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, and Jason Peters.  

Wentz started his first game in his rookie season.

Development with Wentz moved quickly, in his sophomore year he led the Eagles to the number one seed in the NFC and having an MVP campaign despite only playing 13 out of 16 games.  Unfortunately, Wentz had a season ending ACL injury that took him out of the playoffs when Nick Foles had an iconic playoff run and won the Eagles their first Super Bowl. 

This brought questions and tension between Philadelphia fans the next season: who should be the starting quarterback? One just had an MVP campaign and the other just won them 3 playoff games including the Super Bowl. 

Despite Foles short term success Wentz was selected to be the Eagles franchise Quarterback. Since the Eagles championship success the Eagles have not won a playoff game making the playoffs twice since playing in the Super Bowl. In addition, Wentz has been known to be severely injury prone and has played a whopping nine snaps in his playoff career. 

People wondered if Wentz had a future with the Eagles. But the Eagles’ struggles were not just about Wentz’s injuries. Their struggles were coming from the front office, and in particular from General Manager Howie Roseman failing to equip the Eagles offence with the right weapons. 

Since entering the league Wentz has not had a receiver that caught over 1000 yards during his career. The Eagles refused to support their quarterback which led to Wentz’s downfall. In back to back years, the Eagles drafted disappointing players such as JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Jalen Reagor, when they had the chance to draft players who would go on to play the Pro Bowl–Dk Metcalf and Justin Jefferson.

Moreover, the Eagles drafted quarterback Jalen Hurts in just the second round. To many, this was seen as disrespectful as they just gave Wentz a $128 million extension in 2019. This situation made it seem as if the Eagles were already moving on from Wentz.

Once the 2020 season came around, the Eagles offense had already lost top offensive lineman such as Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson and Jason Peters–all All-Pro players–due to injuries. And with their already unequipped offence, Wentz and the Eagles were not expected to go far. 

This was context for Wentz’s worst season to date, leading the league in interceptions and a rock bottom QB rating of 72.8.

Clearly Wentz having an injured offensive line had an impact. Wentz led the league in sacks at 50 and had a pressure rate of 29.3%, both league highs, while missing four games.

Despite evident struggles and injuries the blame was placed on Wentz. Quarterback Jalen Hurts took over Wentz’s job.

Considering Carson’s circumstances of lack of offensive help, injuries and a lackluster defence the blame being pushed on him doesn’t feel right.

Eagles Everything, an Eagles media outlet with over 20 thousand followers, says expecting your quarterback to take the blame rather than the team is disrespectful. “It was unusual to see a team have such a lack of support for a quarterback who deserved an MVP. He was clearly our future.”

Even Eagles fans were disappointed with their own front office. Clearly changes needed to be made.

“When we tried drafting receivers like JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Jalen Reagor, clearly we were drafting the wrong guys who didn’t even fit our scheme. It seemed like they didn’t even research the right guys to draft,” said Eagles Everything.

The failure to arm the Eagles franchise quarterback has led them to firing their Super Bowl winning head coach and having to trade away their quarterback which causes them to go in rebuild mode.

Currently, the Indianapolis Colts are looking like a playoff team and most people forget what Wentz has been capable of doing under previous offensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles and now head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

Carson threw for 33 touchdowns in just 13 games under offensive mind Frank Reich. The Colts have the highest graded offensive line in the entire NFL the past 2 seasons, solidified it by adding Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champ Eric Fisher. In addition, Wentz is going to have his first solid receiving corp consisting of former all pro T.Y. Hilton and young receiving stars like Micheal Pittman and Zach Pascal.  Moreover, a defence he can rely on to make plays and score more points. The Eagles have had a negative turnover differential the past three seasons. 

Carson succeeded at his most when the Eagles had a statistically top-five defence in 2017.

Long-time sports television personalities also believe Carson is the perfect fit for the Colts. “I believe the personnel they have around Frank Reich are all set up for Carson to succeed. The Colts have infrastructure unlike the Eagles did. Carson has a fresh start with a new playoff ready team,“ ESPN’s Stephen A Smith said.

All the pieces are here for Wentz to succeed. 

Wentz once said,  “I view every day as an opportunity.” Well, this whole season is an opportunity. This is his biggest prove-it season yet. 

He chooses his own destiny.

Image credit: Alexander Jonesir

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