Today we continue our Philadelphia Eagles roster outlook series by examining the quarterback position. Previously: Defensive end | Defensive tackle | Linebacker | Cornerback | Safety.
STATS: 809 snaps, 251/437 (57.4% completion), 2620 yards (6.0 yards per attempt), 16 TD, 15 INT, 72.8 passer rating ... 52 rushing attempts for 276 yards and 5 TDs ... 10 fumbles
REVIEW: Wentz entered training camp with people feeling pretty optimistic about his 2020 outlook. He had just carried the team on his back to a division title at the end of 2019. He bulked up in the offseason. But then Wentz had a bad training camp. Inaccuracy was a big issue on a daily basis. There was a reluctance to read too much into those struggles, especially when he came out looking sharp as ever in the first half of Week 1. But then Wentz threw two bad picks against Washington and those mistakes were a harbinger for the rest of his 2020 season. Wentz was too careless. His offensive line situation wasn’t ideal, no, but he often invited pressure by holding on to the ball (36th fastest time to throw). Wentz was also the NFL’s least accurate quarterback from clean pockets, according to Pro Football Focus. Wentz deserved to benched sooner than he ultimately was in Week 13. Everyone can recognize that the Eagles failed Wentz in some respects last year. The coaching staff wasn’t up to snuff. The offensive line issues were apparent. The front office once again failed to adequately surround him with play-making weapons. But just like Wentz would get a ton of credit for playing well, he also deserves a ton of blame for playing as poorly as he did. He shouldn’t be let off easy for being the worst starting quarterback in the NFL last season.
OUTLOOK: There’s been a lot of talk about “fixing” Wentz but it’s hard to feel confident in that happening when he hasn’t proved to be coachable. Wentz has never made strides in two major areas that have plagued his entire career: inaccuracy issues and fumbles. He demonstrated a lack of self-awareness by reportedly complaining to Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman after he was benched. And now Wentz seemingly wants out of Philly, which is driving the team’s effort to trade him. In a perfect world, the Eagles could keep Wentz and try to get him back to form under a new coaching staff. But the reality of his contract and temperament are preventing such a scenario from happening. The Eagles are best served to turn the page. I have my doubts about him going on to thrive elsewhere. Even if he does, there’s no guarantee his turnaround would’ve happened in Philly. Both for best sides to move on.
MY TAKE: Go.
Carson Wentz: Stay or go?
This poll is closed
STATS: 334 snaps, 77/148 (52.0% completion), 1061 yards (7.2 average), 6 TD, 4 INT, 77.6 passer rating ... 63 rushing attempts for 354 yards and 3 TDs ... 9 fumbles
REVIEW: Despite flashing more than Sudfeld ever did in practice, Hurts began the season as a healthy scratch. That dynamic quickly changed, though, with Hurts becoming the No. 2 to Wentz with Sudfeld being kept inactive. The coaching staff got Hurts involved on some gadget plays and some of those worked with the rookie taking advantage of his mobility. Other plays were too predictable, though, and he wasn’t allowed to throw much. Calls for Hurts to replace Wentz grew louder and louder with the former majorly struggling as the team’s starter. Sure enough, Hurts finally replaced Wentz with the Eagles trailing the Green Bay Packers in Week 13. Hurts almost sparked a comeback effort but he was let down by Philly’s defense. Hurts remained the Eagles’ starting quarterback for the rest of season. His mobility was a nice boon for a struggling offense but his passing performance wasn’t super inspiring. The rookie demonstrated better touch than Wentz but lacked repetitive accuracy. The dropoff in arm strength was also noticeable. Ball security proved to be troublesome just as it was for Wentz. Hurts finished the 2020 season 40th out of 42 quarterbacks graded by Pro Football Focus.
OUTLOOK: We haven’t seen enough from Hurts to fully know what his NFL career is going to look like. Rookie quarterback performance isn’t always the best indicator of future success or lack thereof. He did some nice things as a 22-year-old fill-in starter with an abbreviated offseason and playing in a system that wasn’t specifically designed to his strengths. I really liked his gutsy performance from the Cardinals game. He had the Eagles in a position to win that one if Dallas Goedert (who was contested, in fairness) didn’t drop a potential game-winning touchdown. By all accounts, Hurts is very coachable and doesn’t seem to be lacking in the leadership department. He might not have the talent to be a long-term starting quarterback for the Eagles but I’m interested to take a look at him in 2021. The Eagles can give him a year and see if he’s truly the solution or not.
MY TAKE: Stay.
Jalen Hurts: Stay or go?
This poll is closed
STATS: 18 snaps, 5/12, 32 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 14.6 passer rating ... 2 rushing attempts for 2 yards ... 1 fumble
REVIEW: Sudfeld was the backup quarterback in Week 1 before spending most of the 2020 season as a healthy scratch. Unfortunately, he became the poster boy for tanking when the Eagles put him in against Washington in Week 17. Sudfeld struggled in limited playing time with two turnovers in just 18 snaps played. But at least he ensured Philly getting the No. 6 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft!
OUTLOOK: Sudfeld is a free agent this offseason. I don’t see the Eagles bringing the 27-year-old back, despite Jeffrey Lurie talking about how he was “unstoppable” during the Eagles’ Week 17 game against the Dallas Cowboys in 2017. Sudfeld has been around for multiple years and it’s clear there isn’t a ton of upside or competency to be enthralled by. Frank Reich always seemed to like Sudfeld ... maybe he ends up on the Colts.
MY TAKE: Go.
Nate Sudfeld: Stay or go?
This poll is closed
FREE AGENCY OR TRADES
Some have wondered if the Eagles can get in the mix for Deshaun Watson. Not happening. Can’t afford it. Also, why would Watson waive his no-trade clause to play here of all places?
Jacoby Brissett has an obvious connection to Nick Sirianni but he might be more expensive than the Eagles can afford. Depending on how the QB carousel shakes out, Brissett might get an opportunity to compete for playing time somewhere.
If/when the Eagles trade Wentz and want to sign a veteran backup behind Hurts, Tyrod Taylor could be a name to watch since he overlapped with Shane Steichen on the Chargers for two seasons.
NFL DRAFT APPROACH
If there’s a quarterback the Eagles truly love at No. 6, they’ll have to seriously think about pulling the trigger. Heck, they might even have to trade up from there. There’s a good chance Hurts isn’t good enough to help the Eagles seriously contend for a championship moving forward. Hard to pass on acquiring a quarterback who possesses elite potential.