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Examining Carson Wentz’s past and future

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The QB Scho Show #18!

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NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Carson Wentz is coming off what many saw as a “down year” in 2018. Considering his MVP candidate-worthy 2017 campaign and his offseason recovery from major knee surgery, it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. What’s being lost in all of that is that Wentz still played at a high level for stretches of the season and projects favorably into next year.

On The QB Scho Show #18, me and Mark Schofield dug into Wentz’s 2017 and 2018 seasons to analyze where things differed. Here’s a loosely transcribed introduction to some of the talking points that I raised:

“Coming into the season I agreed with a sentiment that was floating around that Wentz would see a statistical regression of sorts, which wasn’t exactly popular at the time but there was plenty of reason to suggest he might not see the same bombastic production.

First off, his 2017 touchdown percentage of 7.5% led the league by nearly a full percent. Only Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson topped it last year and you have to go back to 2014 before you get another that tops it, which funnily enough was Tony Romo. What I’m saying here is it was a top four number in the past five years.

You also had the Eagles blistering red zone production, scoring touchdowns on 66% of their visits, that you had to think was going to take at least a slight hit. It did; down to 58%. And the Eagles bonkers money down conversion rates, which converted 42% of the time on third down and 66% on fourth down. Those took slight hits as well.

In both those categories, money down and red zone, those were the major places where you saw Wentz take a dip in QB Rating and I think a lot of that stems from his big time throw percentage going down by over half in 2018.

For context, this is referring to Pro Football Focus’ “big time throw” metric. This is defined as “a pass with excellent ball location and timing, generally thrown further down the field and/or into a tighter window.” Wentz ranked 2nd in the league on these throws in 2017 and saw a dip to 17th in 2018. For a comparison, Nick Foles ranked 28th.

“All of the 2017 success was done with Wentz as a big time thrower who extended plays and did amazing things both in structure and out of structure. A key component to him creating out of structure came from his mobility.

Now you’d be foolish to expect him to have the same escapability less than a year removed from major knee surgery, and while they weren’t as frequent or as physically impressive as they were in 2017, he still had his moments where he flashed it in 2018.”

We also addressed how Wentz’s year has been colored by win-loss records despite games where he played at a high level. One of which was in Week 4 against the Tennessee Titans.

“That game had everything, bullets in between zones on 3rd & 21, back shoulder throws, laundry shoot throws facing pressure, shortening his delivery on a quarters beater against pressure for a touchdown, big arm throws on deep outs and blaze outs, timing and rhythm with Zach Ertz in the soft spots, movement in the pocket, it had everything.

It also had a bunch of drops, penalties, blown blocks and protections that killed some drives, which is unfortunate, because all you see is a sub-100 QB Rating and a loss and you can get caught up making judgments about his performance when it doesn’t speak at all to the type of day he had.”

I put a thread up on Twitter with the plays mentioned if you want a visual aid of just how excellent Wentz was against the Titans.

In the second half of the show we debuted a new segment called “Prime Listener Questions”, where we took your Wentz-related questions and did our best to answer them. Some of the questions asked if Wentz was now underrated, to which both of us thought the answer was yes.

You can hear that explanation and much more on The QB Scho Show #18! Listen on the media player below or click here if the player doesn’t load. New to podcasts? Check out our guide on how to listen to BGN! FLY EAGLES FLY!