There are a lot of reasons Carson Wentz is an elite quarterback in the NFL. His ability to manipulate a defense with his arm and his mind was a big part of why the Eagles fell in love with his prospects in 2016.
What separates Wentz from other top NFL quarterbacks is his ability to extend plays with his legs. A defense can seemingly have Wentz trapped and suddenly he makes four defenders miss and makes a play on the run with his arm or legs.
Running can expose a quarterback to more contact which resulted in Wentz tearing his ACL last year but this season Wentz has been labeled as “damaged goods” that still plays a reckless style of football.
Not only was that not the case the majority of the time last year as a runner, but Wentz has been even pickier in deciding when to go for extra yards and when to give himself up this season.
Wentz wasn’t afraid to use his legs in his first game back against the Colts. He does a good job of heading for the sidelines and when he realizes he won’t make it before two Colts defenders get to him, he slides down.
Here again, Wentz makes an amazing play to avoid the sack against Minnesota and gets down after a nice pickup.
Wentz is a lot more responsible as a runner than he is given credit for.
Most of the contact on Wentz has come from defensive players hitting him despite sliding feet first. Repeatedly this year Wentz has been hit after giving himself up without a penalty being called. If this was Tom Brady on any of these plays, a flag would have been thrown immediately.
There haven’t been a lot of situations where Wentz has a defender in his face, and he elects to take on the hit and fight for extra yards. When Wentz has been hit, it has been a result of being chased down by a defender. This has happened on a number of plays this year as Wentz slowly gets his speed back from the injury.
That is big nose tackle Linval Joseph that beats Wentz to the edge…..
Wentz does take some hits. Any quarterback that runs won’t always be able to avoid it. What you should hope for is that the scrambling QB picks the right times to take on contact. For instance, the run that Wentz tore his ACL last year against the Rams was a good situation to fight for the touchdown.
The Eagles were trailing in the fourth quarter against a top NFC team. If the Eagles don’t win that game in LA, they may not get a first round bye and home field advantage, which was crucial in the Super Bowl run.
This year Wentz has chosen the right times to be aggressive.
Some might say holding onto the ball and running around is reckless but some signal callers that don’t have the ability to make plays with their legs may take a big hit on a play like this. Instead, Wentz gets outside the pocket, recognizes he has a foot on the pursuing Colts defenders to the sticks and dives to move the chains.
That is the right time to make that kind of play.
Another play where Wentz needs to dive for a first down to continue the drive. A 3rd and 6 against the Giants, Wentz gets down but goes head first to get the ball over the sticks.
Wentz plays far more wreckless than the likes of Jared Goff or Josh Rosen. However the narrative that Wentz is a reckless player that doesn’t know when to take a hit and when not too (almost RG3 like) is simply false.
He has been very good at protecting himself this season when extending plays, or espacing the pocket where the offensive line has allowed Wentz to get hit more than anywhere on the field.
Impact of paying a QB
On today’s Locked on Eagles podcast:
Does paying a QB big money hold a team back from contention?
What does history tell us?
Is the concern about paying any player this amount of money or is it about Wentz himself?
Ranking the roster
On today’s Locked on Eagles:
Are the Eagles and Carson Wentz about to get a deal done?
Is Joe Douglas the next Jets GM?
Ranking the Eagles positions from strongest to weakest
On today’s Locked on Eagles podcast:
Where do the starting quarterbacks in the NFL belong based on tiers?
Where is Carson Wentz among the other 31 starters?
How many “elite” QBs are there?