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Chris Long: “Carson is not the problem in Philadelphia. He’s just not.”

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Former Eagles defensive end gives insight on his former team and teammates.

NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

There’s sure been a lot of Carson Wentz talk lately following the anonymously sourced criticism from last week and the quarterback’s struggles during the Philadelphia Eagles’ loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

Former Eagles defensive end Chris Long shared some insights on Wentz and the Eagles in a recent podcast appearance with Ryen Russillo. In short, Long supported his former teammate, but also talked about how Wentz could be doing better.

“The problem with the narrative that the Eagles o-line was worse last night [against the Cowboys] because of all that pressure was that Carson wasn’t getting the ball out. He went in averaging a 2.7 snap to release. Last night he was 3.3, that’s an eternity. And that’s the problem with Carson last night and in games where you’re spotting teams 14 points, like the Minnesota game, like the Green Bay game, which they came out on top. But when Carson — and his upside is huge, he’s got that big arm, he can make all the throws, he made some great throws last night. He had some moments. He had some bad moments, too. But when Carson is pressing — and any quarterback does when they’re routinely down 14 nothing or giving up 20 points defensively in the first half, he gets even more off schedule. And it puts the o-line in a bind. And I just think he’s a little bit better if he’s — he doesn’t have to be a game manager. He has a play-maker arm. But sprinkle a little bit of game manager in there and you’d be a lot better off.”

Wentz’s average time to attempt this season ranks 22nd out of 38 quarterbacks who’ve taken at least 20% of their team’s dropbacks, according to Pro Football Focus. So, it’s not like he’s towards the bottom of the league in this category. But there’s certainly room for improvement.

Long also suggested that Wentz can be guilty of pressing too much but didn’t lay all of the Eagles’ struggles at his feet.

“Well, I’ve always said — and I said this at the beginning of the year. I said that their biggest strength might be their biggest weaknesses because it’s hard to keep everybody happy when you have that many options. And obviously the [DeSean] Jackson injury hurt them, so they’re underneath more. And, quite frankly, I would press too if I were Carson. I mean, there’s a statue of Nick Foles outside the building [Lincoln Financial Field]. I don’t care if everybody knows you’re a franchise quarterback, it’s hard. You felt like that year where you’re having an MVP campaign, that that [Super Bowl] ring is yours. He had an opportunity, I think — if we’re in the playoffs, I think it ended up just the same. And that’s not to take away anything from Nick, Nick did exactly what he needed to do and more. He was historically good in that Super Bowl. But it took time for Nick to warm up and get going. And I think Nick would tell you that Carson is a great quarterback.

And here’s what’s been happening. There’s this narrative that’s been bubbling up since last year when Carson was hurt. And it depends on the quarterback. Like, if there’s injuries, we cape for some guys. We don’t cape for others. Carson was hurt last year and wasn’t great. So, this year, clean slate, he’s worked out, he’s shed some pounds, he’s changed the way he trains, he’s healthier, and he comes out and looks really good. In all the losses to date, except for last night, I didn’t think he generally looked bad at all. They have two more wins if players catch balls in the Atlanta game and the Detroit game. Those are facts. And I don’t think that there would be this bubbling headline ready to overflow if it weren’t for those drops and some of the injuries. And then last night he didn’t play well. I mean, quarterbacks have bad games. There’s no way you can tell me he is not a franchise quarterback. I just don’t believe it. His ceiling is too high, we can’t cherry-pick. And what he could do is not press as much. But what goes into that is you can’t spot teams 14 points routinely. You just can’t. Some quarterbacks are good in those situations. Carson, he can come back and win a game, but trying to do too much? That’s not necessarily the formula with him week in and week out. You can do that a couple times a year. But giving up that many points in the first half for them, spotting teams points on the road, it’s not a formula that’s sustainable. And I just think we jump on the Carson thing way too much because, again, we have to compare everything. We have to compare Dak and Carson, we have to compare Nick and Carson. All three players are different. And, by the way, can you remember another quarterback that had an MVP caliber season and then people wrote him off two years later saying he’s not the guy?”

When it came to weighing in on ESPN’s anonymous reporting, Long expressed disappointment in the leaker. He also said he heard it wasn’t Alshon Jeffery who was behind Josina Anderson’s reporting from the 2018 season.

“I was bummed about that. And no, I don’t think they’re right about that. Last year, it was complaints about leadership, overtargeting Zach Ertz. Like, listen. He targeted Zach Ertz a ton last year, Zach was also very good. Could he have spread the ball around a little bit more? Sure. But I think he probably took that to heart, took the criticism, didn’t lash out at anybody, didn’t start screaming or kicking and coming in and ‘motherfucking’ people. Listen, if I was him, and there’s people in the building talking about the franchise quarterback to reporters? If you’ve got a problem, come say it to me. And a lot of people tried to make last year’s leak, there was a big article [from PhillyVoice] questioning his leadership and his decision-making, etcetera. They tried to make it an Alshon thing. They tried to make it — a source told me that it wasn’t Alshon. Last year. Now, this year, there’s the Josina thing, which is disappointing again. And people are trying to make it Alshon. […] I’m disappointed with any player that has an issue with a teammate and doesn’t go to that teammate and goes to a reporter. There have been situations where reporters have come to me because I’m media friendly and tried to get me to sink people or sink coaches and I just don’t do it. Because it’s bullshit, that’s not the way you do things. And, especially if you want your team to be successful, you have a man-to-man conversation with the person you think is the problem, if you think they’re the problem. And, by the way, Carson is not the problem in Philadelphia. He’s just not.”

Long’s no longer employed by the Eagles so it’s not like he’s restricted when it comes to giving his honest opinion. He clearly believes Wentz could be doing some things better. But he also believes Wentz isn’t the biggest reason why the Eagles have struggled their way to a 3-4 start.