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From The Eagles: Let Carson be Carson the gunslinger

Let that boy throw.

From The Eagles

This feature is a weekly piece on titled From The Eagles, featuring Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro. The intention is to provide a perspective directly from the Philadelphia Eagles in this forum for the great fans who visit BGN.

Every pass is scrutinized every which way by armchair experts in the “All-22” film review. Decisions on the throws he makes are discussed on talk radio and in social minute the instant the pass is made. Carson Wentz is under a non-stop microscope, and that’s the way of the world in the NFL.

Everyone has an opinion of Wentz through six games, and every one of those opinions is to be respected. However, the suggestions that are going around now that say Wentz should stop his “gunslinger” ways and that he needs to play a more conservative brand of football are just, from this perspective, off base.

Wentz needs to be aggressive and he needs to make mistakes. He needs every bit of experience he can garner in this rookie season, the first level of his NFL foundation. The feeling in the Eagles organization is that Wentz has come along wonderfully, that he’s handled everything thrown his way, which has been a ton. Wentz isn’t out there “managing” the offense. He isn’t being spoon fed the scheme, nor is Wentz having any responsibilities withheld because of his lack of professional experience.

Instead, head coach Doug Pederson and the coaching staff have thrown the kitchen sink into Wentz’s lap to see just how much is too much. So far, they’ve seen Wentz mature with each moment he experiences on and off the field. He has been great in so many ways.

Now, has Wentz made bad throws? Yes. Has he made poor decisions? Absolutely. But these are correctable things, and coaches thrive on turning on the film and going through the mechanics with a player like Wentz, who desires only to be a great quarterback and win the Super Bowl for the Eagles. Wentz’s competitive nature, combined with a high-level intellect and great physical gifts, make him the perfect young player to mold into greatness. And Wentz has greatness written all over him. He shows it in every game, and while the last few outings have included a fair share of misses – three interceptions, a botched handoff, some dropped snaps from center, and a handful of misses with his accuracy – they’ve also contained far more moments where you say, “Wow, this kid is special.”

That’s what the coaches say after they review Wentz each week. They marvel at his demeanor, which is always poised and confident. They rave about his intelligence and his recognition, which is aided by a work ethic reminiscent of a 10-year veteran. They know that his competitiveness is always an asset after Wentz makes a throw he would like to have back or misses a defensive back lurking in coverage. The kid makes mistakes, as all quarterbacks do, but he rarely comes back and makes the same mistake a second time.

Wentz is going to have his ups and downs. Every quarterback goes through it, but the Eagles know they have a franchise player at the game’s most important position, and instead of tugging at the reins, they want to give him more, more, more. Wentz is playing in an offense that is far from a finished product behind an offensive line that suffered a significant loss when right tackle Lane Johnson was suspended. A priority for this football team in the coming offseasons is to put more pieces around Wentz, and you will see that happen.

In the meantime, enjoy Wentz and his development. Understand that he’s going to go through his rough patches, as will the offense. Sunday night’s game in Dallas is a huge one, of course, and the Dak Prescott vs. Carson Wentz storyline is enticing. But Dallas has been building that offense for years and Prescott is in a situation where he’s playing behind a veteran, experienced and very talented offensive line with excellent weapons around him, including first-round pick running back Zeke Elliott. Prescott has done a terrific job, and the Eagles-Vs.-Cowboys rivalry could be at its peak for the next 10 seasons.

The Eagles are just beginning with a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback. They’re 4-2 and very much in the thick of things in the NFC East. It’s been an exciting start to what is a foundation-building season.

Wentz is the present and he’s the future. He’s on his way to being a great quarterback. Along the road, though, he’s going to make mistakes and he’s going to be challenged to learn from them. Babying Wentz, or lowering his expectations, or curbing his aggressiveness isn’t going to help Wentz as he develops.

To harken a phrase from Randall Cunningham way back when, upon returning from a devastating knee injury, just let Carson be Carson. And enjoy the ride, including the bumps on the way to stardom.

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