Dating back to the bombshell January 2019 PhillyVoice story, anonymous sources have never been shy to weigh in on Carson Wentz. More recently, Wentz drew criticism via an Inquirer report that detailed how the Philadelphia Eagles have coddled their (soon-to-be-former) franchise quarterback.
And now there’s a new PhillyVoice report from Joe Santoliquito titled “Inside the downfall that led to Carson Wentz’s likely exit from Eagles” that further sheds some light on why the team could be looking to trade him in the very near future. I highly recommend checking out the expansive article but here are some highlights that stood out.
“Is there anyone in here who’s going to believe in [Wentz]? I can’t speak for everyone, but I have a good feeling that there are a lot of guys who don’t right now,” said one source within the organization, who wished to remain anonymous, because “if he can get an NFL head coach fired, they’ll have no problem cutting anyone’s ass.”
All one respected veteran would say is that “there’s a problem here.”
Players “were pissed” that Wentz reportedly planned to ask for a trade and wants out if he is not going to be the starting quarterback, sources said. They interpreted it as if Wentz was quitting on them. Some thought it was Wentz quitting on himself, running away from an open competition for the starter’s role with rookie Jalen Hurts.
Wentz never refuted the reports. In fact, he hasn’t said a peep in over eight weeks — and counting.
“Everyone was looking at each other thinking, does he want outta here? How are you supposed to follow a leader like that?” said one source of the reports suggesting Wentz wanted out, which started as far back as December 20. “When he does address it, do you really think anyone will believe him?”
While team captains like Fletcher Cox and Jason Kelce publicly spoke out in support of Wentz shortly after he was benched, he’s at least lost some of the locker room. And this despite some efforts to grow as a leader last year.
Wentz himself hasn’t outright denied he’d be willing to participate in a quarterback competition, no. But there’s hardly any indication he would welcome such a setup. And so it feels like there’s an untenable dynamic here. How do the Eagles merely hand the team back over to Wentz when his teammates have seemingly lost faith in him?
On that note, it sounds like there’s been growing internal support for 2020 second-round pick Jalen Hurts.
As last season was winding down, “a large number of people in the building” — with the obvious exceptions of Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman, sources say — felt Hurts was the better option at QB going forward. That made the hiring of new quarterbacks’ coach Brian Johnson, who has a long history with Hurts, quite intriguing. Initially, it didn’t seem like it would mean much, as Lurie and Roseman seemed hellbent on refurbishing Wentz, as reports suggested that the two made that sticking point during interviews with prospective coaches with the hope that a new coach would fix the relationship between quarterback and team.
The feeling, at least last season, was that Hurts possessed superior leadership, a willingness to be coached (one source said he was in the coach’s offices so much they thought they had to get him a cot) and players’ support. The twist of it was that coaches and players both feel Wentz has the better physical skills and the stronger arm.
Still, some see enough in Hurts that his intangibles could more than make up for that gap.
A few SEC coaches are amazed how much Hurts’ passing has improved, though they still have doubts if he will ever have “an NFL arm like Wentz.” Hurts was described as an extremely likable, high-character leader who can’t get enough coaching and is a tireless worker.
If only the Eagles could have the best of both worlds and combine Wentz’s talent with Hurts’ coachability. With the former expected to be traded as soon as this week, the Birds seemingly have some comfort level moving forward with the latter. Of course, we’ll see how they approach the quarterback position when it comes to the 2021 NFL Draft.
Whatever the Eagles decide to do, it’d probably be nice if they can find someone who doesn’t inspire people to talk to the media to complain about him.