Philadelphia Eagles training camp 2017 is almost here. The first practice starts on July 24. The Eagles' entire training camp schedule, including information on practices open to the public, can be found by clicking here. As we count down the days together, Bleeding Green Nation will be previewing every position on the Eagles roster. We continue today by taking a look at the quarterback position.
Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Matt McGloin, Dane Evans
The old adage is that most NFL players make their biggest leap from Year 1 to Year 2. With that in mind, it’ll be extremely interesting to see how Wentz performs in his sophomore season.
Wentz’s rookies struggles are well-documented. After getting off to a hot start in 2016, he didn’t finish the season with great numbers. Many pointed to a mechanical breakdown as the reason for Wentz’s downfall.
The lack of a reliable running game also really took a toll on Wentz. The Eagles were forced to rely on the passing game much more often than they ideally should have been. After attempting only 392 passes in four years of college, Wentz threw the ball the second most amount of times of any rookie quarterback in NFL history with 379 attempts. And he was doing this while working with the league’s worst wide receiving corps. Not exactly a recipe for success.
Thankfully, the Eagles went out and got some actual weapons for Wentz to work with this offseason. Alshon Jeffery is a legitimate No. 1. Torrey Smith was at least once a good player. LeGarrette Blount is an upgrade over Ryan Mathews for the mere fact that he’s not injured every week. Philadelphia’s offensive line is looking good knowing Lane Johnson won’t be missing 10 games this season. Wentz now has a supporting cast that should allow him to succeed in the NFL. It’s up to him to deliver on his side of the bargain.
There should be optimism about Wentz heading into Year 2. Despite some struggles with accuracy in spring practices, he finished minicamp strong. He’s more experienced after playing 16 games last year. He’s had an offseason to work on his mechanical issues. The arrow should be pointing up.
Wentz’s success isn’t guaranteed. He still has a vocal number of skeptics, and there’s some valid reason behind their doubt. Wentz really needs to tighten up his accuracy, for example.
Some of the Wentz criticism is just really off-base, though. Again, there’s a lot to like about Carson. There are no questions about his leadership or work ethic. He’s been praised for being very intelligent both on and off the field. He’s a guy worth betting on.
Before wrapping up my thoughts on Wentz, I wanted to revisit what I said about players making the leap from Year 1 to Year 2. It’s completely fair to expect improvement from Wentz this year. However, he shouldn’t be viewed as a finished product by any means. A reasonable expectation is that he plays well enough to have the Eagles in the playoff conversation this season.
OK, enough about Wentz. Let’s talk about the other guys.
Philadelphia’s biggest offseason mistake was how they handled their backup quarterback situation. They’re paying Chase Daniel $7M this season to sit behind Drew Brees on the Saints while paying more money on top of that to their new backup: Nick Foles.
Foles is clearly not what Eagles fans once thought he could be. He’s a low-end starter at best and more realistically just a decent backup quarterback to have. Foles has some experience and he played well in limited action with the Chiefs last year. I’ve never been a big Foles believer, but I do trust him enough to get to the Eagles two wins if Wentz misses four games (just for example). Hopefully we never have to see Foles play, though.
McGloin is relatively experienced for a third string quarterback. The former Penn State starter got some decent playing time with the Raiders. To my eye, McGloin looked decent in spring practices this year. I don’t know if the Eagles will keep three quarterbacks, but I do think there’s at least a chance if he plays really well this summer.
Evans joined the Eagles towards the end of spring practices. He first tried out with Philadelphia during rookie minicamp after the 2017 NFL Draft. He’s the best Tulsa quarterback the Eagles have had since G.J. Kinne, but he clearly doesn’t compare to that legendary figure. Evans figures to fill the camp arm role that McLeod Bethel-Thompson held last offseason.
How will it play out?
Wentz is the starter, Foles is the backup, and McGloin is fighting for a roster spot. That much is obvious.
The more interesting focus is how Wentz’s second season will play out. Again, I’m expecting improvement this year. More touchdowns. More yards. Fewer interceptions. Better efficiency.
Wentz’s improved supporting cast should help him out a lot. I’d be lying if I said the accuracy issues don’t concern me at all, but I’m not pushing the panic button before training camp even starts.
Who could be a surprise cut?
No surprise cuts here. The only question is whether or not the Eagles will keep three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. Philadelphia was prepared to do that last season prior to trading Sam Bradford. But then they only kept two for the entire season with Aaron Murray on the practice squad.
Maybe McGloin plays well enough that the Eagles want to keep him. Or maybe they cut him and just keep Evans on the practice squad instead.