The future for the Philadelphia Eagles with a healthy Carson Wentz at quarterback still looks bright, even with locker room rumors.
For a second straight season, Carson Wentz shined under center, even coming off of an ACL tear that sapped some of his escapability and tested his other attributes as a quarterback. Wentz completed nearly 70.0 percent of his passes, averaged 7.7 yards per pass attempt, and put up a whopping 279.5 passing yards per game. All three marks were career-highs, so while Wentz’s touchdowns dipped from 33 to 21, his other numbers remained impressive.
But Wentz reportedly isn’t impressing everyone within the Eagles organization. PhillyVoice.com’s Joseph Santoliquito spoke with several sources within the building, and they had some pointed criticism of Wentz. Though nobody called his talent into question, his leadership, willingness to follow the offense’s structure, and possible favoritism were all topics of discussion in this lengthy report.
Of course, a report like this would hold far less interest to the public if it didn’t occur so close to Nick Foles’s impending free agency. Foles’s numbers, as a whole, were not quite as impressive as Wentz’s, but his gutsy drive against the Bears and status as a Super Bowl winner have led a few fans to back Foles. But there’s no competition, there’s no question Wentz is the leader, and the report itself even underlined the great relationship between the two quarterbacks.
While a quick skim of the article could paint a damning picture of Wentz, the reality is that there’s no reason to worry, let alone panic. Anonymous criticisms of a popular player, especially a quarterback, are bound to happen after an emotional season. And goodness, was this a wild season for the Eagles.
They had to win three straight games, including two against playoff-bye teams in the Los Angeles Rams and Houston Texans, to close the regular season in order to finish 9-7 and squeak into the playoffs. They then “squeaked” past a dominant defensive team in the Chicago Bears on a missed field goal before running into some hard luck of their own in the divisional round, falling to the New Orleans Saints.
So it is understandable that people in the Eagles organization have some baggage to lay on a reporter. It’s also telling that these criticisms have been done anonymously, whereas other players, namely star defensive lineman Fletcher Cox, have publicly supported Wentz. That seems to indicate the frustrations are not major nor universal, and potentially the product of a grueling 2018-19 campaign.
And now that these thoughts are public, the Eagles have a chance to take stock of these possible issues this offseason, focus on getting more pass-catchers involved in their gameplan next year, and get Wentz ready for another season as this team’s leader.
In a high-pressured city like Philadelphia, excellence is the expectation, especially for the Eagles following their Super Bowl 52 triumph. Yet the Eagles fans have, generally, been incredibly supportive of Wentz since his first day under center, and he’s only grown more popular after an MVP-caliber 2017 and an arguably more statistically impressive 2018.
If there’s one valid, major concern about Wentz going into the 2019 season, it’s his unfortunate luck with injuries. The claims of Wentz’s ego at the line of scrimmage and possible favoritism for certain pass-catchers are more like background noise.
With a strong defense, acclaimed coaching staff, talented skill position players, and a true franchise quarterback, the Eagles are in a great position to build a dynasty. Minor discomfort in the locker room will only strengthen them as they head into an offseason where tweaks, not major changes, are on the minds of an organization coming off of another strong campaign.