We continue our position by position look back at the 2016 season with the most important one of them all: quarterback.
Millions of words have been written about Carson Wentz since the Eagles move up to the 2nd overall pick in the draft to take him. There’s not really much to say about him that hasn’t already been said.
Wentz had far more than his fair share of obstacles to over come. The jump from FCS to the NFL was hard enough, that he missed three weeks of the preseason only raised the degree of difficulty. On top of that, he was saddled with the worst set of skill position players in the league, and his top WR and TE each missed time. And he had a rookie head coach who was calling plays for the first time in his career.
All he did was have a more efficient rookie year than Andrew Luck, Derek Carr, Ryan Tannehill by passer rating, a better interception percentage than Russell Wilson, Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston, Andrew Luck and Teddy Bridgewater in their rookie seasons, and unlike the #1 overall pick this season started every game.
Careers aren’t made in rookie seasons, and cherry picking a couple of stats is somewhat misleading, but Carson Wentz showed plenty of reason to believe he has the potential to be a top tier QB. He was unafraid to throw deep, he continuously made plays with his legs to avoid sacks and extend plays, and he showed full control of the playbook from Week 1.
There were however areas of concern. At times he held on to the ball for too long, and when he did get rid of it too many times, he would either sail passes that could and were picked off or take an avoidable sack. There were times where he could have gained a first down by running but chose to attempt a pass that usually was not completed.
But those are classic rookie mistakes. They aren’t automatically fixable, and Wentz needs to improve in 2017. But for 2016, Carson Wentz’s season was nothing short of success.
The most expensive backup in the league, Chase Daniel was brought in to be Doug Pederson’s Doug Pederson: the veteran backup with years of experience with the coach and the system who would serve as a tutor for a rookie QB. (We now expect Chase Daniel to become the Eagles head coach in 2033.) Daniel’s only regular season action was six snaps in relief of Wentz when Wentz was forced to come out of the game for medical evaluation. So there’s virtually nothing to evaluate him on.
Verdict: Umm, thumbs up? Carson Wentz looks like the real deal, and as his big brother in the QB room, Daniel can get a sliver of credit for that. He makes way too much money for his role, but that’s not his fault.