The Philadelphia Eagles have been my favorite football team since before I even fell head over heels for the game following the USC-Texas national championship also known as the greatest game ever played.
In that time I have seen some talented quarterbacks like Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick; even Jeff Garcia had his moments toward the tail-end of his career in the midnight green. However, as great as Vick and others were, none of them could touch 2017 Carson Wentz. In 2017, Wentz was the hands down, clear cut MVP of professional football and was the best player in the game. Through 13 games, Wentz had the same number of touchdown passes Lamar Jackson had last season when he led the NFL in touchdowns with 33 en route to an MVP trophy. Wentz had exactly 33 when he went down, which was also a franchise record. The No. 2 overall pick in the draft in 2016, Wentz was the original second-year wonder to pop, before Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray did it.
Wentz showed how much of a warrior he was during 2017 versus the Rams, staying in the game after tearing his ACL and MCL for three more plays, including a touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffrey — reminiscent of Kobe shooting free throws with a torn Achilles.
Nick Foles replaced Wentz for the first-place Eagles and was tasked to do one thing — don’t screw it up. The Eagles were the best team in football by a mile in 2017, largely due to the vast number of veterans signed on cheap deals at the time, including Foles; it was a perfect storm for Philly. We all know what ended up happening; Foles went on to out-duel the greatest of all time in Tom Brady and was given a statue outside of Lincoln Financial Stadium to reward him for his effort.
Since the Super Bowl LII win, it has been a train wreck in Philadelphia, despite consistently making the playoffs. Wentz has regressed more and more outside of 2019’s last four games in which Wentz was amazing and carried the team on his back while he threw to guys signed off the streets.
This season for Wentz has been rough, but I know what I saw in 2017 so I haven’t given up hope on the kid — until last weekend. After the Eagles lost to the Browns last Sunday, I swallowed my pride and finally realized it’s time to move on.
Wentz looks completely lost on the field and has thrown some of the most inexcusable interceptions I’ve ever seen this season. When pressure is coming down on him, he seems completely unaware and gets obliterated for a sack-fumble and when he has all the time in the world, he looks rushed and makes a hurried and horrible decision. At this point I question if he is broken from his injury-riddled past or is he in desperate need of a fresh start. Either way, the Eagles need to cut bait and go with the rookie ‘Sooner’ rather than later.
Alabama transfer and Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts was taken in the second round of April’s draft by the Eagles. Although Hurts is not the world’s best passer, it could be argued his legs are. Hurts is as lethal as any quarterback who has ever ran with the football and has shown flashes of how good it can be throughout his rookie season. Eagles coach Doug Pederson has found creative ways to use Hurts, almost like how he used to use Wentz back in 2017 or Alex Smith when Pederson was the offensive coordinator at Kansas City.
Quite frankly, it’s unfair to Wentz. When he isn’t injured, his best weapons and linemen usually are. General manager Howie Roseman has not surrounded him with even mediocre talent. And Pederson is putting it all on his shoulders and asking him to do too much, probably because he believes in Wentz so much he is blinded, but still the point remains.
Hurts is going to be a work in progress and to be honest may never be as good as Wentz was, but the players and fan base respond to Hurts when he’s on the field and the Eagles get 10- to 12-yard chunk plays at a time with him in the game.
Wentz will always hold a special place in my heart and will be my favorite quarterback for quite some time, but for his and everyone else’s sake, it’s time to move on.
Ryne Gallacher is a sports writer for The Outlook.