Good morning, and did you enjoy Sunday football without the Eagles? Even without playing, the Eagles have fallen out of first place in the NFC East.
So much has been written and discussed about Carson Wentz’s struggles. He was once deemed the franchise quarterback and very well could still be, but his regression this year has been alarming. Eagles fans will get an up-close look at a true franchise quarterback when Russell Wilson leads the Seattle Seahawks into Lincoln Financial Field on Monday night.
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Wilson’s dependability and excellence stand out
Very early in their careers, Russell Wilson and Carson Wentz had a lot in common. Both were immediate starters and were on teams that advanced to the Super Bowl by their second season. Wentz, of course, didn’t get to play in the playoffs, including the Super Bowl, during his second season after suffering a torn ACL in his 13th game.
Here are the totals for the first two years of both quarterbacks:
29 G (18-11), 61.5%, 7,048 yards, 49 TDs, 21 INT, 88.8 passer rating
32 G (24-8), 63.6%, 6,475 yards, 52 TDs, 19 INT, 100.6 passer rating
Here are the next three seasons:
37 G (17-19-1), 64%, 9,439 yards, 62 TDs, 28 INT, 90.3 passer rating
48 G (32-15-1), 65.3%, 11,718 yards, 75 TDs, 26 INT, 99 passer rating
If you notice, Wentz’s totals the last three years, other than his win-loss record, aren’t that bad and his passer rating is better than in his first two years.
The difference is this year, his fifth in the NFL. What’s interesting is that statistically, Wilson’s fifth year was also his worst. But as you can see, his worst is a season that most quarterbacks would take in a heartbeat.
Wentz this season
10 G (3-6-1), 58.4%, 2,876 yards, 14 touchdowns, 14 INT, 73.3 passer rating.
Wilson’s fifth year
16 G (10-5-1), 64.7%, 4,219 yards, 21 TDs, 11 INT, 92.6 passer rating.
This season, Wentz has his all-time career-low passer rating and has already thrown his most interceptions. Wilson’s passer rating in his fifth year is his worst, and the 11 interceptions tie for the highest in his career. He will likely set an interception record again this year since he already has thrown 10. Wilson could hit a personal high before leaving Lincoln Financial Field.
That said, the biggest difference in the two has been Wilson’s consistency, starting with his availability. Now in his ninth season, Wilson, who turned 32 on Sunday, has never missed a game. He has started all 138 regular-season games that Seattle has played since his rookie year.
Wentz, who will turn 28 on Dec. 30, has missed eight regular-season games and was unable to participate in the playoffs after the 2017 and 2018 seasons because of injuries. He also got knocked out with a concussion in the first quarter of last season’s 17-9 playoff loss to Seattle.
How much the injuries have taken a toll and how much they have been a part of Wentz’s regression is hard to quantify, but it wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest they have factored into his declining play. Wilson has never had to come back from injury.
In the four seasons after his fifth year, Wilson has played his best football. Over the last four seasons, including this one, here are Wilson’s cumulative stats: 58 G (37-21), 65.4%, 14,527 yards, 130 TDs, 33 INT, 105.1 passer rating.
The fact that Wilson hasn’t had to rehab from injuries and can just concentrate on playing quarterback is likely a factor in his improvement over the last four years.
One other area of major difference between the two is that Wentz has played less than one quarter of one playoff game. Wilson has appeared in 15 playoff games, almost another full NFL season. That experience has been invaluable.
Wilson has continued to progress and is playing the best football of his career. Wentz has hit a wall, and there is no telling which direction his career will go.
What you need to know about the Eagles
Jeff McLane writes that Jalen Hurts got more practice snaps than usual this week, but Wentz will be the starter against the Seahawks.
With Seattle’s DK Metcalf coming to town, it’s easy to point how the Eagles missed on drafting him, selecting J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in the second round of the 2019 draft, 57th overall. Ed Barkowitz points out that every NFL team missed on Metcalf, who was the 64th and final player taken in the second round.
McLane writes that Jeffrey Lurie’s rare absence from last week’s loss in Cleveland speaks to Eagles owner’s frustration, sources say.
In athletes and teams Philadelphia sports fans should be thankful for, Marcus Hayes places Wentz at the top of the list. Read the column for Hayes’ explanation.
The Eagles will have their 10th starting offensive line in 11 games Monday. Les Bowen outlines the current offensive line situation.
In his weekly Q&A with Paul Domowitch, former Eagles president Joe Banner discusses the Eagles’ quarterback situation, Doug Pederson’s mindset, the Eagles’ future priorities, and much more.
Domowitch offers an extensive breakdown of the Eagles-Seahawks game. Also, here are our beat writers’ predictions.
From the mailbag
Question: If you won’t start Jalen Hurts will you at least give him more snaps this week? — Deiter Tunstall from Facebook
Answer: Thanks for the question, Deiter. I would not think of replacing Wentz this week. If Wentz has any chance to come out of his funk, this is the defense to do it against. Seattle entered the weekend last in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (343.7).
The Seahawks have improved their pass rush with the addition of Carlos Dunlap, who has 3.5 sacks in three games, so it’s not as if Wentz will have all day to throw. But teams have scorched the Seattle secondary, and the Eagles should have open receivers.
If Wentz can’t snap out of it against the NFL’s statistically worst pass defense, then it would be time to consider giving Hurts more playing time.