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Locked and Loaded: The New Look 2020 Philadelphia Eagles

12 May 2020 Opinion


Since 2016, the Philadelphia Eagles have been building something special. As soon as Roger Goodell stood on that stage and announced the selection of Carson Wentz, Eagles fans found something they had not had for awhile. Hope. Since day 1, there has been a newfound energy and optimism in Philadelphia. With a less than spectacular cast around him, Wentz completed a new franchise record 379 passes and the franchise record for pass attempts at 607. We cannot forget that it was also Doug Pederson’s first year as an NFL head coach where he inherited a team searching for a new identity after its former coach gutted the heart of the team with its players and what it stood for. It was an up and down year but Pederson and Wentz both showed fans and the league that they were building something.

After a full season together and some key additions, Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz were poised to take over the league and that’s exactly what they did. In 2017, they averaged 28.6 points per game and ranked 3rd/32 (according to Pro Football Reference). We saw Wentz play at an MVP level and elevate the play of all those around him. In the two years after, we have seen a plethora of injuries to his supporting cast or just a lack of talent/fit; however, Carson has never complained and has put up tremendous numbers. Regardless of his success, there has been a crowd growing that is not all in on Wentz. Personally, I have no idea what those people are watching or why they do not give Carson the same treatment that they give QBs that do not even play or their team.

We get it, Carson is not perfect, but who is? Mahomes threw two second half interceptions on awful reads in the Super Bowl. Russell Wilson could barely beat a bent and broken Eagles defense. DeShaun Watson gets the offensive line excuse even though his line was ranked 8th and the Eagles were ranked 19th for team pass block win rate by ESPN. All of these guys are so talented but so is Carson; the difference is that they all have play makers who can step up when they can’t solely win the game. Someone has to throw the ball and catch the ball. Someone has to make the block before someone hits the hole. It’s a beautiful art and we have one heck of an artist in 11. We always want to compare and contrasts these athletes rather than just appreciating them individually and what makes them special.

Carson Wentz is a guy who has devoted his life into becoming a perfectionist. He wants the perfect family and for all of its members to be well off. He is a guy who is the first in the building and the last to leave. His teammates and coaches praise him for his work ethic, film study, and ability to communicate and help those around him. After tearing his ACL in an attempt to make a play and allow his team to take the lead in a huge game verse the Rams, he was out in his charity food truck handing out free meals in the rain. The “fans” who take shots on him don’t deserve this guy.

As much as I love Josh McCown, hopefully watching him run around with a torn hamstring made you appreciative of Carson Wentz and all he does for us.  I believe Howie realizes that he needed to get Carson young playmakers and that is why he’s finally devoted an off season to getting him young talent. I understand that he has brought in band aid type players but Carson has never truly been given a rookie to grow with. The way I see it, we just saw Carson Wentz put the team on his back and check off every box the doubters put in front of him with the WRs 4-7, the RB 4, and backups at almost every important position. Now we can only imagine what Carson is about to accomplish with this locked and loaded group that Howie has surrounded him with. In my opinion, pick 21 Jalen Reagor was the key that finally unlocks the best version of Carson Wentz and that’s scary for the rest of the league.

Denzel Mims, Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb, etc, all talented in their own rights, but they are not Jalen Reagor and cannot do what Jalen Reagor is about to do for Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles. Since late Decemeber, I have been imagining an Eagles offense with Jalen Reagor. I am a believer in destiny. More than ever after witnessing the Eagles magical Super Bowl run. When I see Reagor play and hear him talk, I could not shake the feeling that this kid was meant to wear green and save us. His play and mentality just fit Philly. It all lined up. His dad played here in 2007 and worked here in 2011. The Eagles happened to hire a new WR Coach in Aaron Moorehead who has been trying to recruit Jalen since high school and is good friends with Jalen’s father Montae who he won a Super Bowl with in Indianapolis.

 

However, the real fit was between Carson and Jalen. Carson has been lacking a young talented play maker but one who has a mentality such as himself. Both guys are constantly hated on but it just motivates them and they just devote more time to their craft and double down on proving these people wrong and themselves right. Jalen was on a tear his sophomore year then was completely misused in 2019 and had a freshman QB who would regularly not pull the trigger on throws or just flat out miss him. These two needed each other and now they’re about to light up the whole league.

Jalen was my clear cut pick at 21 because he checked off every box. Reagor is a player who is not just a player in the offense, he is the offense. He can do it all and once the ball is in his hands, he is a big play waiting to happen. He possesses DJax’s late route separation, Deebo Samuel’s versatility and wiggle, Steve Smith Jr’s aggression and mentality when the ball is in the air and in his hands. The kid is special and is only going to get better with Carson at QB and a great football mind in Doug Pederson creating plays to maximize his potential. Sprinkle in John Hightower, a long WR who plays fast and gives you your Robbie Anderson type threat, Quez Watkins who is a Demarcus Robinson type but faster, and you let these kids battle it out with out current roster.

No roster spot will be given, each one will be earned more than ever this year. It is almost impossible to pin point a 53 man roster right now. That is a beautiful problem to have. When you have a stable of hungry and talented guys, it creates brutal but healthy competition. These guys will be tested mentally and physically. If you don’t have what it takes, we don’t want you and you won’t make it here. I believe that this offense will do historic things because in addition of the skill guys going against each other, they will be facing our own defense at practice which very well could be a top 5 unit.

That is the beauty of it all. Each practice will be a war and it will make games easy. Take it from the greats such as Jordan and Kobe. They wanted their practices to be battles so that when you were in a game, your body and mind were adjusted to the pain and the situation. That’s what allowed us to be successful in 2017 and we’re about to see that unfold this year.

So people, I want you to close your eyes. Imagine this. Feel this. It’s week 1, Carson is in shotgun behind Kelce checking the protection and making adjustments. Washington’s defense is in a two safety high look due to Jalen and DeSean thus leaving a wide open middle for Goedert and Ertz. Now the box is hat on a hat and Miles has the green light. Carson knows that he can get the ball wherever he wants whenever he wants. Now all he has to do is go through his cadence and the dance begins.

There is no way to stop this offense. They are talented, they are fast, and they are deep. Miles Sanders may end the year with the most all-purpose yards in the league with this offense. People love the flashiness and skills that Lamar Jackson displayed but he and that offense were exposed last year against Tennessee. When the offense runs through a single player, it can be stopped. Even Mahomes understands that he can and has to utilize the guys around him. Carson is the first QB in NFL history to throw for 4000 yards with no WRs with 500 yards, so just imagine what he will do with the new additions.

It is amazing to me that people complain about Carson Wentz when he is breaking NFL records, franchise records, and has done nothing but win since he has been here. Do people think it’s a coincidence that we win out first Super Bowl a year after the guy arrives and has the greatest season in franchise history? Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but it is just amazing how many so many people doubt and dislike this guy. It isn’t being a homer or biased, there is a reason why Wentz is the guy people use as a measuring stick. There is a reason why the top defenders in the league say that he is one of the best players in the league. We should listen to Luke Keuchley and his takes on Carson rather than @footballfan129484 on Twitter who has a picture of Dak Prescott as his avi.

This Eagles team is locked and loaded for the 2020 season. The defense has a lot to prove but I love the additions that we have made. Slay is going to make that DB room compete every play and will give our WRs great looks all summer long. Hargrave is going to be an absolute force next to Fletch and then you add in a healthy Malik Jackson… sheesh. K’Von Wallace was born to wear midnight green. That kid is going to be amazing when he finally gets his shot. It’s impossible to not be excited to see all of these guys finally hit the field. But at the end of the day, it’ll always be about Carson Wentz.

The local and national media will always make the discussion about him. No one and nothing is safe from them. I know that some may consider me as “the media” and I understand that, but I will never become a media person who doesn’t remember that these guys are humans. Not a media person who makes up rumors about DeSean Jackson for clicks, who stirs up a quarterback controversy when there isn’t one, or any other spineless acts we’ve all observed. I’d rather be wrong for the right reasons then right for the wrong reasons.

I am an Eagles fan. If something isn’t cool I’ll voice my opinion and annoyance but I will try to understand why something happened or or was said. At the end of the day, it takes a special person to truly bleed green. Fake fans will always be exposed and negative energy will always be pushed out. This is our city. This is our team. This is our time to silence the outside noise and take care of business. I believe in 11, and the other 52, do you? As Always, Fly, Eagles Fly!

 

Photo Credits: Kate Frese/For PHILLYVOICE