This wasn't supposed to happen for the Philadelphia Eagles. Even in a year as crazy as 2020, there was no scenario where Carson Wentz was going to be the worst quarterback in the NFL -- ever. Wentz is far too talented to struggle this bad, his instincts far too strong to make poor decisions, his skills far too robust to diminish so quickly.
That's what Eagles fans have tried to tell themselves as Wentz has settled into mediocrity amongst the 32 best quarterbacks in the world. Patrick Mahomes has taken over the top spot in the NFL hierarchy amongst the signal callers, where Russell Wilson, Lamar Jackson and Aaron Rodgers are not far behind. Three years ago, Wentz was considered amongst the elite, set to become one of the faces of the league over the next decade. Today, it may be a stretch to even consider Wentz a top-15 quarterback.
Keep in mind the Eagles franchise owes this quarterback $132 million over the next four seasons, already guaranteeing $107.9 million to him to lead this team for the next several years. Philadelphia has a way out of the deal as early as 2022, but by then it may be too late.
Wentz has already fallen to the bottom of the NFL quarterback chart statistically. The Eagles quarterback ranks last in yards per attempt and passer rating, next to last in interception rate and yards per completion, and bottom five in TD rate and completion percentage among 33 qualified passers. The Eagles have posted just a 14-15-1 record over Wentz's last 30 starts -- the definition of mediocrity.
While not as bad, Wentz's statistics since he tore his ACL in December of 2017 show he has not been the same quarterback as he was during a potential MVP campaign. Among 33 quarterbacks that have recorded 500 pass attempts in that span, Wentz ranks middle of the pack in completion percentage, passing yards and passing touchdowns but below average in quarterback rating (20th) and yards per attempt (26th).
The Eagles put their faith in a quarterback whose confidence has been demoralized by injuries, had the unfortunate circumstance of his backup quarterback having a postseason for the ages and winning Super Bowl MVP (the franchise's first Super Bowl title), and a front office that decided to select a quarterback in the second round of a draft just one month after he played a full 16-game season and led the Eagles to a division title.
Would the Eagles actually consider benching their franchise quarterback for the second-round pick? They may not have a choice if Wentz continues to struggle on the football field and this football team continues to lose games. The Eagles struggled to put up points against two average scoring defenses in the Cincinnati Bengals and the Washington Football Team. Philadelphia's offense is ranked near the bottom in several major offensive categories, including 27th in points per game, in 24th in total yards and 24th in pass offense.
This is an embarrassing performance by an offense with a supposed franchise quarterback in Wentz and a Super Bowl winning head coach in Doug Pederson. Even with the numerous injuries to the offensive line and skill positions plus the coaching changes on the offensive side of the ball, Philadelphia's offense shouldn't be this bad. The one constant the Eagles had going for them was the continuity of Wentz and Pederson, two talented individuals that were supposed to guide them to the NFC East title in a year where the division stinks again. Somehow the Eagles are a half-game out of the division lead and they are winless on the year, mainly due to the ineptness of Wentz and the decision making of Pederson.
The Eagles head coach gets the benefit of the doubt; he won a Super Bowl and four of five postseason games since being hired five years ago. Wentz has a ring and was a major contributor to that championship team, but he was on the sidelines with a torn ACL watching his backup quarterback lead the offense to a 41-point barrage against an elite defense in the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. The next year, the backup quarterback led the Eagles to the playoffs as Wentz sat with injuries that lingered throughout the season. Wentz carried the Eagles to the postseason last year but played just nine snaps before being knocked out of his first playoff start with a concussion.
Philadelphia's playoff successes have been dictated by a backup quarterback, and now its starting quarterback looks over his shoulder at the shiny new toy that was recently promoted to No. 2 on the depth chart. Whether the backup quarterback is ready in 2020 to take over this offense is not a debate, but perhaps it's best for the Eagles if they consider a change at quarterback if Wentz continues to struggle.
The Eagles cannot have a quarterback that has a quarterback rating lower than Sam Darnold and Dwayne Haskins, a completion percentage lower than Baker Mayfield and Daniel Jones, more interceptions than Philip Rivers and Ryan Fitzpatrick, and a lower yards per attempt number than Jeff Driskel and Mitchell Trubisky.
If this level of play continues over the next few weeks -- the Bobby Hoying, Rodney Peete, Norm Snead stature of quarterback play that haunted the Eagles franchise for years -- Pederson will have to bench Wentz and give the rookie quarterback a shot.
The Eagles are facing a reality they frankly shouldn't be facing in Year 5 of the Carson Wentz era, but all the quarterback has to do is play better and this all goes away. Instead, Wentz so far has been like Winnie The Pooh trying to get honey -- he keeps finding ways to get stung.