Donovan McNabb recently appeared on The Zach Gelb Show on CBS Sports Radio. The former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback touched on a number of NFL topics but most interestingly he discussed thoughts on his former team and their quarterback situation with Carson Wentz.
McNabb believes the pressure is on Wentz to at least take the Eagles to the NFC Championship Game before 2021:
Q: We know Nick Foles won the Super Bowl for them two years ago, Carson Wentz was unbelievable in that season before the unfortunate injury, got banged up again last year, Foles comes in to save the day and really turn around that Eagles season. Now it’s all back to Carson Wentz being the man in Philly with Nick Foles down in Jacksonville. To you, what does Carson Wentz have to prove this year as the quarterback of the Eagles?
MCNABB: I think in the next two, three … two years or so, he has to find a way to get in the second round, or out of the second round of the playoffs. For what Nick Foles was able to do, take them to the Super Bowl and possibly take them back to the NFC Championship [Game] proved, hey, some people can get into that offense and be very successful. He hasn’t been healthy. He hasn’t really proven, to me, besides the year before he got hurt in his first year, really the MVP candidate, he needs to get back to that mode. And I think, personally, if he can’t get out of the second round in the next two, maybe three, years — really, two years to be honest with you. If he can’t get out of the second round, they should look to possibly draft another quarterback, because they just don’t know about his durability. Staying healthy is very key in this league. And it really pertains to the success of the quarterback. The team only goes as far as the quarterback takes them. They put so much of their eggs into their basket with Carson Wentz and he’s got to prove that in the next two years.
Q: You thought it was the right decision to keep Wentz, though, and let Foles walk. Right?
MCNABB: Well, it’s always a tough call because as a quarterback, I don’t know any quarterbacks that have played the game that are just comfortable with being a backup. If you have any heart and you love the game, you want to be a starter somewhere. For Nick Foles, he wanted to show that he can be a starter somewhere. And it’s well-deserved. He went to Jacksonville, he has, really, his second or third opportunity to showcase himself. But for Carson Wentz, I mean, he’s already talking bout trying to build rapport with the guys because there’s a lot of rumblings about his leadership and his arrogancy (sic) and he was all about [him]self. So he’s trying to clean that up as well over there, hopefully that won’t become a distraction. You know, he just needs to stay healthy and continue to progress and perfect his craft. If he can do that, then good things can hopefully happen for him. And I would love to see him do that. But if it doesn’t happen, I think, in the next two years or so, there’s going to be some rumblings in Philly about possibly drafting or trading for another quarterback.
Q: If he does stay healthy, what do you expect out of this team this upcoming year?
MCNABB: I expect them to win the division. I think it’ll be a tight race with them and possibly the Cowboys. And then if they can win that division and go 10-6 or 11-5, now we want to see how he can play in the playoffs. Because, if you remember, he has no playoff wins at this point in his career. And it’s very vital that’s how you get measured as a quarterback: your playoff wins and your winning percentage in the regular season. If he can put those together, then we’ll be talking about Carson Wentz for the next 10 years or so.
McNabb has never come off as a huge Wentz fan. Back in 2016, he said the Eagles were “dumb” to trade up for him. During an old interview with BGN Radio, McNabb noted how Eagles fans at the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia were much more excited to see Wentz than him.
“Like I told Ike [Reese], I was riding in the golf cart right behind Carson. And the [fans] were like ‘Carson! Carson Wentz!’ and they looked at me and it was like ‘Oh, hey, Donovan.’
McNabb isn’t wrong to suggest there’s a lot of pressure on Wentz in 2019 and moving forward. Wentz needs to stay healthy and lead his team to success.
But, barring something unexpected, it doesn’t seem very likely the Eagles will be moving on from Wentz in just a couple seasons from now. He doesn’t appear to be on a short leash. Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman have been very forthright about their intentions to sign Wentz to a long-term deal. Whether that contract comes this year or next year remains to be seen, but it feels like it’s a matter of “when” and not “if.” Such a contract could potentially tie Wentz to the Eagles until, say, 2023 or so.
Wentz figures to have ample opportunity to prove himself once again. Here’s hoping he does just that.