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A look back on Carson Wentz through 5 seasons

What to make of the Eagles QB.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

While you may remember me leading the charge for the Eagles to bench Carson Wentz months before it happened, I’ve never disliked Carson as a person or as a quarterback. I’ve always thought he had tremendous potential, but for some reason, he rarely is able to live up to it. As it stands, through five seasons, here is how Wentz’s stats are looking.

Completions/Attempts (Cmp%) - 1562/2492 (62.7%)

While at first glance, this may seem fairly low, it actually stacks up pretty well among some of the great quarterbacks of both today and yesterday. Here is a table, courtesy of Stathead.com, showing the top 20 quarterbacks all-time in completion percentage through their first 5 seasons (Min. 60 Games played and Min. 1000 Attempts, n = 85)

Data courtesy of Stathead.com

Wentz is nestled in the number 12 spot between familiar names such as Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady. Also on this list, however, are some less than impressive names, such as Dak Prescott, Tony Romo, and Troy Aikman. No matter how you slice it, it’s better to be on this list, than to not be on this list. For what it’s worth, this list has 14 Hall of Fame quarterbacks on it, with Tom Brady and Blake Bortles both still active. All 14 Hall of Famers had a lower completion percentage through their first five seasons than Carson Wentz

Touchdowns/Attempts (TD%) - 113/2492 (4.5%)

When it comes to touchdowns, Wentz again ranks somewhat favorably against this list of starting five-year quarterbacks, although this time, he’s dropped down to 28th out of 85.

Something I want to point out is that 11 of the 14 HOF QBs ranked above Wentz, as did HOF hopefuls Brady, Roethlisberger, and Wilson. Wentz ranks much closer to the Staffords, Goffs, and Carrs of the world as far as touchdown scoring goes, which isn’t bad but is much closer to average than Elite.

Interceptions/Attempts (INT%) - 50/2492 (2.0%)

As far as ball protection goes, Carson has been among the best of the best, including everyone's former favorite Eagle but now everyone’s least favorite former Eagle, quarterback Donovan McNabb.

I’d speculate that for the same reason a lot of old-timers were in the TD% list, a lot of youngins are in this list. The passing game is much more precise and short now than it used to be in the chuck it and pray days.

Now let’s look at Carson without the historic 2017 season.

So, here’s the thing. If the Carson Wentz described above was in fact the true Wentz, there wouldn’t be a discussion about trading him. The harsh reality is Wentz is on the same list as Hall of Famers due to one great season bring up the average. If you remove 2017, Carson Wentz has the following stats:

  • 1297 Completions on 2052 Attempts - 63.2% Cmp%

His completion percentage actually goes up slightly, but this isn’t the concern. Carson is very good at getting balls to receivers underneath.

  • 80 TD - 3.9 TD%

Without the 33 touchdowns Wentz managed to get in 2017, he is left with a paltry 3.9 TD%, which is the same TD% that Tim Couch, Blake Bortles, and Mark Sanchez had through their first 5 seasons.

  • 43 INT - 2.1%

Oddly, Wentz would still be in fourth place with or without his 2017 season. Again, he is good at getting balls to receivers underneath, and that was never in question. But is that the signature of a legitimate, franchise quarterback?

Conclusions

The reason Carson’s completion percentage and interception percentage are unchanged without the 2017 season is that Carson didn’t do anything differently in 2017. Wentz is a solid system quarterback who can be a part of a great offense, but what is needed to separate that offense from the pack is a dynamic system that allows the talents of the people surrounding him to blossom. The 2017 season was a culmination of so many things offensively from Doug Pederson’s system taking the league by storm, to unheralded players outperforming their salary, to the offensive line playing like the best unit I’ve ever seen in Philly. While we can never take 2017 away from Carson Wentz, it’s very hard in any world to expect another season of that magnitude out of Wentz, unless he’s placed in a perfect system, on a perfect team. While perfection should always be strived for as an organization, it really should never be expected, and thus relying on Carson Wentz long term is a tough proposition for me. Jalen Hurts may not be the answer, but neither is Carson Wentz. It's time to recoup some value and move on.