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Philadelphia Eagles

Wentz’s performance should reassure Eagles fans

Louie DiBiase

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Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Penalties on penalties, an under performing offensive line, a secondary giving up big play after big play, a defensive coordinator who is bullish on making adjustments, injuries that seem to be consistent yet different every week. The Eagles 2-2 start has been a roller coaster to say the least with all these factors putting fans on edge about the outlook on the 2018 Birds.

Even the wins have come down to red zone heroics by the defense which will lead to nerves that knock years off a fans life. It has been a rocky start to the season for the Eagles but one factor should outweigh all those fears, in hopes that this season can still include championship aspirations.

That factor is the play of Carson Wentz.

Since returning to the lineup against the Colts two weeks ago, Wentz has made the same jaw dropping, highlight reel plays that nearly won him an MVP award last season before the torn ACL ended his season.

It doesn’t look like the injury is holding back Wentz from extending plays with his legs, or standing tall in a muddy pocket and driving the ball down the field, which were key abilities that made the Eagles fall in love with the North Dakota product back in 2016. Wentz has completed 75% of his passes under pressure.

Sometimes when a player returns from such a serious injury, it takes some time to knock off the rust, regain confidence in their leg, and a conservative style of play forms.

That hasn’t been the case with Wentz. He is throwing with tremendous confidence and he was more accurate against the Titans than we may have seen in his career.

Wentz is completing almost 67% of his throws for 603 yards and 2 touchdowns. His 348 passing yards against Tennessee tied his season high last year that came against Seattle in week twelve. It only took him two games to put up those numbers this year.

If it wasn’t for penalties and drops around the offense, the numbers would be even more impressive.

Receivers accounted for six drops against the Titans, four of which came from Nelson Agholor who had opportunities to make big plays through the air off some spectacular throws from Wentz.

Agholor also had a chance to take one to the house on the first pass of the game from Wentz who hit him in stride off a play-action pass but he couldn’t bring it down.

Wentz hasn’t only had to overcome missed opportunities but he has been hit the third most of any quarterback throwing this year despite only playing two games.

If the Eagles were going to struggle early this season, how it is happening would be the preferred way. The entire offensive line that outside of Wisniewski (benched for Issac Seaumalo) still features an elite unit from 2017. They haven’t pass protected well at all, struggling to pick up blitzes and stunts. But that line is too talented to play the way they have for the rest of the season. The pass protection already got better from the first half to the second last Sunday.

One game of the drops shouldn’t lead to a regression for Agholor. There still have been a lot of opportunities for the fourth year receiver to make big plays down the field. Moving back to the slot on a more permanent basis should bode well for Agholor.

The secondary has given up a lot of plays down the field but even that unit is too talented to play this poorly all season.

Even with all these issues biting the Eagles this year, all of it is more preferred than an alternative situation where Wentz returned from injury and did not look like the player that set the single season passing touchdowns record just a year ago.

Wentz playing as well as he has will keep the team in every game. If the rest of the team figures it out, this team is right back to being a favorite to win it all this season.

If the offensive line was dominating, and the secondary was locking down the opposing passing games, this team still would only go as far as Wentz can take them.

Be thankful the Eagles don’t have a Raiders situation on their hand. Derek Carr has not been the same since his elite 2016 season. In just four games Carr has thrown seven interceptions this year.

Wentz, in back to back weeks drove down the field late in the game to either take the lead or tie the game. The offense couldn’t get a touchdown in overtime against the Titans but Wentz went off the field with the lead.

The way this team is struggling at 2-2 is a much easier situation to get out of than the scary alternative of a struggling franchise quarterback.

 

Louie, an Eagles, and NFL enthusiast all his life has finally found his home to share his thousands of takes on the Philadelphia Eagles with Locked on Eagles. Louie also works in Buffalo sports radio as a producer for WGR Sports Radio 550 the official home of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres, in addition to working as the Sports Director for 91.3 FM WBNY Buffalo. He may be far from the nest, but Louie bleeds green just like the rest of Eagles Nation. Fly Eagles Fly.

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