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Carson Wentz- 3rd Down and Don’t Worry About It

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 08: Eagles QB Carson Wentz (11) calls out adjustments in the first half during the game between the Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles on October 08, 2017 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)
(Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

Development is not linear. This is the phrase that runs through my head when I watch young college and NFL players. Development is not linear.

For some players, it takes longer for them to reach their potential. For others, success is immediate. It’s how you deal with the success and the struggles that leaves the lasting impression.

Let’s tell it like it is; Eagles QB Carson Wentz had his fair share of struggles in his rookie season. Growing pains are inevitable with any young QB. He flashed brilliance early on only to fizzle and flounder for the better part of the rest of the season. The concerns were there and all of them were magnified due to the amount the Eagles gave up to grab him.

One area in which he struggled mightily was 3rd down. For a more nuanced look, I gathered data for all teams on 3rd down with 7 or more yards to go. The 2016 NFL average conversion rate in that situation was 26.5%. The league leading Detroit Lions converted 34% of their attempts. Carson, on the other hand, fell short.

In 2016 Wentz converted only 23.1% of his 3rd down and 7+ attempts while throwing 3 interceptions and a sole touchdown. That’s good for 23 total first downs and a QB Rating of 65.9. Not good.

Flash forward to 2017.

The Eagles lead the NFL on 3rd down in 2017 with a whopping 53.42% conversion rate. Zoom in, and let’s see how Wentz has performed with the more difficult, aforementioned 3rd and plus 7-yard conversion:

19/32, 59.4%, 336 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 10.5 yards per attempt, 13 1st downs, and a 103.1 QB Rating. Add to that 3 first downs earned on the ground on Wentz scrambles. Take away the situation, isolate the stats, and you would consider that a doggone good game from any NFL QB.

While the Eagles lead the league in 3rd down conversion, when it comes to the more difficult 3rd down and 7+, they only trail three teams. The Redskins, the Saints, and the Panthers, whom the Eagles play on Thursday Night Football.

3rd and long is no longer a give-up scenario for the Eagles and by all accounts Wentz has full control of the offense. That alone elevates the play of those around him and makes the Eagles dangerous.

Michael is an NFL Draft enthusiast, aspiring scout, and grandson of longtime East Stroudsburg (Pa.) HS football coach John P. Kist. He hosts Locked On Eagles and writes for Inside the Pylon & Breaking Football.

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