The Eagles are all in on Carson, are you?

22 May 2019 Opinion

As the clock hits 0:00 at MetLife Stadium, the Eagles end their season with a victory against the Giants; however, it was a hollow victory as they finished the 2015 season 7-9.The Chip Kelly project had inevitably failed after he was dismissed prior to the week 17 game. The Eagles players and fan base found themselves in dismay as they wondered who the new head coach would be. In addition, we all wondered if we would have to endure another season with Sam Bradford under center.

Owner Jeffery Lurie saw Chip ship off homegrown talent (such as DeSean Jackson, Nick Foles, and LeSean McCoy) and our key values such as respect, integrity, and trust disintegrate throughout Chip’s tenure. The only move in his mind was the right move. On January 18, 2016, Pederson was hired as head coach of the Eagles. Many around the football world scratched their head at the move but Doug and Jeff knew that they could deliver what the Philly faithful desired. As Doug took the reigns as the head man, he and Jeff both agreed that it was time to release a caged dog that Chip had exiled…

(Matt Cord’s voice) “Now introducing, a 6 foot executive vice president from the University of Florida, Howie Roseman, Roseman!”

As Chip Kelly took over the entire front office, he made sure that longtime and trusted employee Howie Roseman would never be in a position of power. When Doug was hired, the first thing he did was let Howie get to work.

  • On March 9, the Eagles traded cornerback Byron Maxwell, linebacker Kiko Alonso, and the 13th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to the Miami Dolphins for the 8th overall draft pick.
  • On April 20, the Eagles traded their 2016 1st, 3rd, and 4th round picks, along with their 2017 1st round pick and their 2018 2nd round pick to the Cleveland Browns for the 2nd overall pick the 2016 NFL Draft.

Howie season was in full effect as he had now put the Eagles in position to get a franchise altering talent. Although the Eagles still had Bradford on the roster, fans desired a franchise quarterback. As the draft approached, the Eagles whittled their choices down to quarterbacks Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. Jared was the California kid who had a smooth throwing motion and put up big numbers all of his life. Carson was the wild card small school kid who was wicked smart in his meetings, a proven winner, had a can-do-it-all attitude, and just had a presence about him. Wentz lived in a small trailer when he was in college. He did not have cable let alone use a TV. All he wanted to do was focus on football, faith, family, and hunting. Some say that Carson has a photographic memory and that attributes to his ability to quickly diagnose a defense and make the appropriate adjustments. On draft night, the Eagles selected Carson from the North Dakota State University.

As the 2016 regular season approached, Carson was recovering from a rib injury he suffered in the preseason. However, the front office believed in the rookie as they decided on September 4th to  trade Sam Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings for their 2017 1st round pick (Derek Barnett) and their 2018 conditional 4th round pick (Josh Sweat). Wentz was now locked in as the starter and set to begin his journey in midnight green. In front of his new home crowd Carson led the Eagles to a 29-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns. Wentz went 22/37 for 278 yards and 2 touchdowns. Carson would finish that season with 3,782 yards and 16 passing touchdowns. Wentz completed an NFL rookie record 379 pass completions. Eagles nation could not get enough of the kid and were never this happy to finish the season 7-9 solely because they knew they had hope due to their new quarterback.

In 2017, Carson Wentz was coming for it all. Carson Wentz led the Eagles to a record of 11-2 before he tore his ACL toward the end of a week 14 match up against the Los Angeles Rams. In his 14 appearances, Wentz was on a historic pace and looking to be named the league MVP. Wentz finished with 3,296 yards and 33 touchdowns, averaging 2.3 touchdowns per game. He also threw the most pass completions through the first 24 games of his career for an NFL record of 540. Additionally, Wentz broke a franchise record of the most touchdowns passes thrown in a calendar month in October 2017 with 14 passing touchdowns. The Eagles also went on a 9 game winning streak and secured the number one seed after back up quarterback Nick Foles took over for the injured Wentz. Foles and the Eagles went on to continue the magical season and secure the franchises first Super Bowl in its history. Foles became the hero of Philadelphia but it would be a dishonor to ignore the fact that Carson Wentz carried the team all season. More motivated than ever, Carson hit the gym and took care of his rehab regimen to get ready for 2018.

Eagles fan’s around the world refreshed their notifications all summer long awaiting to hear that Wentz was cleared for the home opener against the Atlanta Falcon’s. Personally, I found myself having a panic attack every time the iconic SportsCenter notification sound rung through the air. Unfortunately, Carson was not ready for week 1; however, Eagles fan’s were at ease because Super Bowl 52 MVP Nick Foles was still locked in as the back up. With Foles under center, the Eagles went 1-1 going into week 3. The week 2 loss again left fan’s frustrated and perplexed knowing that a Ryan Fitzpatrick Buccaneers team had no business beating us. Then it happened. “Breaking: Quarterback Carson Wentz has been cleared and will start week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts.

Nick Foles is and will always be a Philadelphia legend, but he and the logical Eagles fans knew that it was time for Carson to take back his team. Luckily, I was at that game on September 23rd and believe me, the crowd was rocking when number 11 came through that smoke and announced. The field was sloppy due to rain but Wentz looked like his old self as he evaded would-be tacklers and kept making plays. The Eagles got back in the win column as they defeated the Colts 20-16. Wentz finished the day going 25-37 for 255 yards a touchdown. Unfortunately, even though Carson continued to put up impressive numbers, the Eagles fell to a record of 6-7 going into a week 15 showdown against the high flying Los Angeles Rams. Even more bad news arrived as it was revealed that the back injury that Wentz had been battling for several weeks was actually a small fracture.

Wentz was shut down for the year and Foles was back in charge. Magically enough,  Foles sparked the Eagles to 3 straight victories and secured a playoff berth in back-to-back years. After an incredible win verses the Chicago Bears full of electric plays and plenty of doinks, the Eagles headed to New Orleans in a revenge game against the red hot Saints. At the moment, the Eagles were also arguably the hottest team in the NFL as well. The game opened up with fireworks as Eagles cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc intercepted Drew Brees on the first play of the game. Next, Jordan Matthews caught an absolute dime from Nicky 6 to take the early lead. Foles added on another touchdown on a 1 yard goal line plunge to extend the lead to 14-0. However, a fake punt by the Saints was the spark that ignited a comeback. Unfortunately, the Saints would win 20-14 ending the Eagles 2018 season and inevitably putting an end to the Foles era in Philly.

As the 2019 off season began, many questions surrounded the team. Was Nick Foles coming back? How will Howie address our needs? When will Carson be back? I can go on and on. Anyone who really follows the team is at ease in the off season because they know the dynamic duo of Roseman and Douglas will get it done. What other front office designed a roster that would lose their starting quarterback and sustain 10-plus injuries and still win a Super Bowl and nearly return to a division championship in consecutive years? The Eagles front office has done an incredible job in 2017 and 2018 but they may have saved their best off season to date for 2019.

Howie and Joe wasted no time getting to work on shutting down the idea that Carson was not “the guy.” We have built a monster on the offensive side of the ball and Carson is going to be at the head of it. The Eagles added 24 year old running back Jordan Howard who is third in rushing yards (3,370) since 2016 only to fellow Pro-Bowlers Todd Gurley (3,441) and Ezekiel Elliott (4,048). We also drafted Penn State running back Miles Sanders who will be the lightning to Howard’s thunder. Sander’s upside cannot be overstated. The kid is a natural runner and will one day be the face of the backfield. An Eagles legend in wide receiver DeSean Jackson returned to Philly and is set to have an incredible year not only as a deep threat but a high skilled veteran who can do it all.  Additionally, the Birds grabbed Stanford receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in the draft. JJ is a redzone monster with rare body control and is known for his football IQ as well as his tireless work ethic. In the slot we have Nelson Agholor returning to the lineup in a prove it year. We also have arguably the best tight end in football in Zach Ertz as well as budding star Dallas Goedert. As far as protecting Carson goes, the Eagles will be returning 3-All-Pro lineman in Jason Kelce, Jason Peters, and Lane Johnson, 2-time Pro-Bowler Brandon Brooks, promising guard Isaac Seumalo, veteran guard Stefen Wisniewski, and first rounder Andre Dillard. Needless to stay, the Eagles offense is all systems go, all they need is someone to push all of the buttons. Thankfully, we not only have someone for that role, we have someone who I believe will be the best in the league.

As OTA’s (Organized Team Activities) commence, there was fear that number 11 would not be on the field. Not only was QB1 on the field, he was shining from the first whistle to the last. Without a knee brace and now with a thinner physique, Carson threw precise and tight passes to his skill players as well as displayed great footwork in his individual drills. Carson was the clear leader on the field as he broke the team huddles and was vocal throughout practice. I enjoy listening to sports interviews, especially the ones where something hilarious or controversial is said; however, Carson Wentz is my favorite player to listen to in any sport. From start to finish and from the first interview he had in midnight green, Carson has always remained the same. He has this calming presence and confidence that is quiet in his words but loud in his body language. When asked about what he has learned after suffering injuries at the post OTA interview session, he delivered a perfect response.

“Anytime you go through a struggle or adversity in life you learn something, I’m just trying to keep pressing forward and grow.”

That is why I back Carson at all times. Carson is a guy who just wants himself and those around him to succeed in life. He is a winner. When he does lose a game or in life in general, he doubles down and works tirelessly until he finds a solution. That is rare. People will tell you that they are working and doing the right things but Carson will show you. If you are worried about injuries, you are never going to truly enjoy the ride he is taking us on. Injuries happen in sports. Some guys get injured at their homes or in freak accidents. Carson was injured diving in for a touchdown in a must win game in 2017 and from wear and tear in 2018 as he tried to carry this team. It is hard to name a quarterback let alone a player who has not missed time in professional sports. Some call 2018 a down year for Wentz, yet he still threw for 3,074 yards, 279.5 yards per game, 21 touchdowns, with a quarterback rating of 102.2. In 5 less games than All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Wentz only threw for 4 less touchdowns and had a better completion percentage than Rodgers (69.5% Wentz vs 62.3 Rodgers). Maybe Carson was just so good in 2017, that anything less than that just does not satisfy some fans. If you think 2017 was a good year, put on your midnight green and seat belt because you are in for a wild ride in 2019.

The Eagles offense in 2019 could break every record imaginable. I now speak not as an Eagles fan but as a fan of the game of football. If you can look me in the eye and tell me that this Eagles offense on paper is not top 3 in the league I would be blown away. Let’s break it down. The Eagles are four RBs deep in Howard, Sanders, Clement, and Adams/Smallwood. Jordan Howard is a proven back who will stabilize the run game, Sanders projects to be a home run threat, Clement is two years removed from a three touchdown game in his rookie year, Adams was the Eagles leading rusher in 2018, and Smallwood showed promise all year. Now, defenses adjust accordingly and shut down the run game, good deal right? Wrong. Now let’s address the tight ends. Defenses are now looking at two-time Pro-Bowler Zach Ertz and soon to be star Dallas Goedert at the tight end positions. In 2018, Ertz broke Jason “Old Man” Witten’s NFL record for most receptions by a tight end with 113. So defenses now have to worry about those two in the middle of the field. Let’s say defenses handle the running backs and tight ends, there can’t be anything else left to deal with right? Here enters Pro-Bowl receivers Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson, young slot receiver Nelson Agholor, and rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside. DeSean Jackson is the key to all of this. Jackson is a guy who has been in this league for a decade and defensive coordinators still cannot stop him. He demands one of your best corners as well as your safety to shade over top. Right there it opens up more room for the run game and the tight ends and Agholor to get loose in the middle. Defenses have now figured out that you cannot focus on one aspect of our offense because their are no weaknesses. If you devote an extra player to stop the run, we will throw on you all day. If you bring in an extra defensive back to jam up a receiver, Jordan Howard will knock your guy back to fifth period ceramics class. You get the point?

But someone has to hand the ball off. Someone has to throw the ball accurately and on time to the receivers. We not only have someone capable of doing both tasks, we have someone who excels at this. No quarterback, let alone Carson Wentz has ever been surrounded by this much talent in a single year. Every off season move shows that the Eagles organization are absolutely bought in on Carson Wentz being the franchise guy for 2019 and years to come. So for everyone who has been chirping and doubting Wentz, believe me, he heard you. He kept a receipt list longer than the ones you receive at a CVS and he’s going to use those coupons to cash in 40+ touchdowns in 2019. The only back you need to worry about is the fact that Ginger Jesus is Back and he is on a revenge tour in 2019. So rather than worry, just sit back and enjoy the fact that we are not only spared of watching Sammy Sleeves, we are going to be watching one of the greatest seasons in NFL history unfold at 1020 Pattison Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148. If you get lost on the way there, just listen for me as well as 69,000+ fans screaming E A G L E S after another Carson to D Jax bomb. Get your tickets now because once the Wentz Wagon starts rolling, it’ll be too late. As always, Fly Eagles Fly!

Photo Credit: NBC Sports Philadelphia

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