The trajectory of Carson Wentz’s career up to this point has been, different to say the least.
Is he or is he not a franchise quarterback? The answer to that question is an obvious one, right?

In terms of talent, there aren’t many quarterbacks in the league that have the abilities of Wentz. A cannon for an arm, one of the best in the game in terms of extending plays, and the confidence to take and make any and every throw. However, there is more to being a franchise quarterback than just talent. Many make the argument that wins are as much of a quarterback stat as completion percentage or QBR. So when you see that Wentz has a career record of 33-28-1 as a starter, it starts to raise some eyebrows as to what exactly is going on?

One of the qualities frequently mentioned when discussing a franchise quarterback is the ability to make players around you better. Throughout history, there are few players at the position that can attest to this. However, the ones that fit the bill have certainly raised the bar for those behind them. Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, these are just a few guys featured on a shortlist. There is something significant about this list though. You see despite the time these quarterbacks spent making everyone else look good, behind the scenes, there was someone pulling the strings. Manning had Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison, to go along with Tony Dungy when he was in Indianapolis. In 2007 the Patriots bought in Randy Moss to go along with arguably the greatest quarterback/coach combination of all time. The Packers drafted Davante Adams in 2014, despite already rostering Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.

The point is, whether it be a head coach or general manager, there was someone that helped play a significant role in said quarterbacks’ success. Can truly you say that Carson Wentz makes anyone better? Well on one side, when Wentz has a full arsenal playing, oddly enough the Eagles seemed to struggle. Between the 2018 and 2019 seasons, outside of a two-touchdown explosion by DeSean Jackson against Washington in week one of last season; the Eagles offense found it hard to come across first-half points, or to even move the ball at all consistently. Yet it’s no secret that Wentz seemed to play some of his best balls when the players even he hasn’t heard of are his top targets. Example: Greg Ward, Travis Fulgham, you, me, and the cable guy.

To say that the Eagles brass has done a disservice to Wentz throughout the course of his career would be an understatement. 33 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 3,296 passing yards, and an 11-2 record, 14 weeks into the season. For a duo that seemed to have Wentz all figured out prior to an ACL tear that arguably changed the entire course of his development. It’s hard to understand how we got to the point where the head coach misuses him and a general manager seems to resist supplying him with any more than the bare minimum tools to succeed.

Which begs the question is Carson Wentz’s inconsistent trajectory more of an indictment on Doug Pederson or Howie Roseman?

Well, the PHLSportsNation team is here to discuss.

Photo: Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Doug Pederson

Will Connell

Every week Carson Wentz lines up against 11 defensive personnel, doing everything he can to move the sticks despite their best efforts. The Linc is a ghost town, its vacant seating a reminder of the pandemic. Yet still, a 12th man haunts the Eagles, working against Wentz and his proteges week in and week out.

Doug Pederson is that 12th man.

Midway through his fifth year at the helm, Pederson has brought Philadelphia two division championships, a wildcard berth, and the city’s first-ever Super Bowl Championship. He mentored Wentz to a 10-2 record and MVP-caliber season before the gunslinger went down with an injury. He outcoached arguably the greatest coach of all time and the greatest quarterback of all-time on the sport’s biggest stage.

Yet in spite of that, his quarterback has struggled. Since the near-MVP season, Wentz has maxed out at 9 wins, struggled to stay upright, and only won a single playoff game off an improbable double-dink.

Some will say Wentz has not had the right weapons, the deep threats, or the winning combinations. Completely untrue.

In 2017 Howie Roseman delivered Torrey Smith to the Eagles. The Baltimore speedster was an integral part of the Super Bowl run, stretching the field and creating a dynamic offense despite not being its epicenter.

In 2018 Howie delivered Mike Wallace, who missed most of the season with an injury. Did he find the deep threat necessary to avoid a one-dimensional offense? Yes. Can Howie control for injuries? No.

In 2019 Howie reunited the Eagles with an old friend, bringing in DeSean Jackson. Jackson put up monster yards before also going down with an injury. This season Jackson has yet to return, but the speedy Jalen Reagor was drafted to add that extra gas pedal to the team.

Howie has found stellar run-game options at a bargain with Darren Sproles, LeGarrette Blount, Jordan Howard, and Jay Ajayi. He has added depth at the position with unsuspecting contributors in Josh Adams, Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood, and Boston Scott. Despite being criticized for his drafting ability, he found Jalen Mills in the seventh round, brought in Miles Sanders, and recognized talent in an Australian rugby player enough so to have a starting-caliber third-string left tackle. He has surrounded Wentz with elite bodyguards across the line.

And for those who say, “well he missed out on Jalen Ramsey and DeAndre Hopkins,” or any similar claim, there are 31 teams constantly competing for trade targets and free agents. In that same time, he landed Alshon Jeffery before winning a Super Bowl, signed Brandon Brooks, brought back the backup quarterback who would become a Super Bowl MVP, and just recently brought in the first dependable cornerback we have had since TO was doing sit-ups in his driveway.

Sure there have been mistakes, but Howie Roseman has done his best.

Some will say injuries are the foundational problem. If Roseman has put the weapons in place only to be unpredictably hurt, surely we cannot fault Pederson, right? Wrong.

Since Doug Pederson took over, the team has been the most injury-ridden unit in the entire NFL. That comes as a stark contrast to the Chip Kelly era when the team was the least injury-ridden unit. Frankly, that is cause enough to begin pointing fingers at Pederson. But assuming injuries are both random and not predictive, the Eagles can be characterized as having immensely bad luck.

Last season with a hospice visitation list as his receiving corps, Wentz tossed for over 4,000 yards. The leading receiver this year is a 2018 6th round pick who was waived by the Lions and Packers, respectively and has only played three games this year. Surely, we can give Doug some credit for making things work despite a horrid injury scene. Right?

Wrong again.

Let’s examine what makes Doug a good coach – what sets him apart. Doug Pederson is known for playing the numbers, for recognizing the statistical advantage of going for it on fourth and one if you’re within X yards of the endzone. His willingness to part with conventional football knowledge and take measured risks gave us the Philly Special. He is a quarterback’s coach with an offensive lean. He has surrounded himself with a panel of similarly oriented offensive gurus to produce a hivemind of sorts, a real-life Hydra meant to baffle opposing defenses.

Take the only Eagles win of the season thus far: at 0-2-1 his team scored the first points against a similarly injury-struck San Francisco 49ers. A team averaging 19 points per game (including overtime) then elected to go for two.

This not a daring, statistically justifiable decision. It was a reckless waste of an opportunity to put a guaranteed point on the board by a team who had struggled offensively every single week. NFL-averages can say what they will, when your team is failing at the little things, you do not overcomplicate your decision making.

In 2020 the Eagles are tied at 5th for most fourth-down attempts. They are also the 5th worst at converting them.

In 2020 the Eagles are tied for the 2nd most two-point conversion attempts in the league. They are also 11th worst at converting them.

You can blame execution on players, but if they cannot execute, do not continue asking them to. If someone is too short to reach a plate on the top shelf, they don’t continue grasping at straws — they bring in a friend.

Worse yet, examine Jalen Hurts. Sure, the fault is on Roseman for drafting him, but it is Pederson who continues to whip out a wine bottle opener and calling it a swiss army knife. Until Hurts is NFL-ready and the offense is able to consistently do the small things correctly, the former has no place on the field.

Doug Pederson is not a bad coach, but he is failing his quarterback. Wentz’s footwork is in shambles, the plays being dictated are predictable, and the rest of the playbook is shallow. Just last week Pederson admitted to running out of ideas for red zone plays to run. He. Ran. Out. Of. Ideas.

It was Week 6.

The last two and a half years have been a rude awakening that Philadelphia’s coaching staff may be significantly worse than we imagined. The departure of Frank Reich has crippled our offense, and Pederson has no answers. Wentz will continue to improvise and will very likely carry this shell of a team to a division title (perhaps with a losing record), but Doug needs to be held accountable.

Like red zone plays, Doug is running out of excuses. Go prove me wrong, coach.

Photo: Matthew Emmons/USA Today

Howie Roseman

MarQuell Fripp

Boy, some things never change, do they? Things were going so well until they weren’t. In 2010 the Philadelphia Eagles promoted 35-year-old Howie Roseman to General Manager; the youngest in the league at the time.

This was the case until 2014 when Chip Kelly won a power struggle that sent Howie Roseman to the ‘broom closet’.

“I was a young guy who had a lot of responsibility, and sometimes when you do that, you want to take more on your plate, and you want to feel like, ‘I gotta make these decisions because this is the role,’ but it’s all about collaborating and getting people’s point of view and then trying to make the best decision for the team. It’s not, ‘I want to draft this guy so this is what we’re doing, and I don’t care what these seven people have to say” – Howie Roseman

Between failure and league insiders declaring him ‘not a football guy’. The ‘Salary Cap Kid’ took his calculator, his numbers, and his faith on a quest deep into the depths of the Novacare Complex to conclude exactly what went wrong. After just one season of the Kelly experiment, Roseman found himself back in what he thought to be as his rightful place as the Eagles general manager. Or as he like to call it, Vice President of Football Operations. What Roseman found next was an unforeseen tale for the ages.

Executive of the Year, a Super Bowl title; things that the head of a front office could only dream of.

“I think you get that perspective when you take a step back and you sit there and say, ‘What could I have done better?’ I understand that this game is not always fair on and off the field, but if you try to do the right things and treat people the right way good things will happen. And that year off was the best thing that ever happened to me personally and professionally. That gave me a unique perspective, and I think really helped in terms of what I want to do for the next 10 years and being around really good people.”

It seemed like Roseman had honestly learned from his mistakes and was ready to prove those same insiders that declared him ‘not a football guy’ wrong. The fearless, wheeling and dealing, smooth-talking, salary cap wizard residing in Philadelphia was on a mission to beat the system and reset the norms. Thus the legend of HowieSZN was born. His quarterback needed weapons, insert Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, and LeGarrette Blount. Flashy? No, but this group of players helped spearhead the league’s number one offense back in 2017. 7-1 and first place in the NFC? The team could still get better, let’s trade a fourth-round pick for Jay Ajayi. It was Howie Roseman’s world and we were all just living in it.

Sadly, the legend? Well, that lasted all of one season. Roseman was soon back to his old ways. Injuries became his worst enemy and began (still continues) to unmask the flaws behind the roster he built. The Eagles went into the off-season with problems and each time Roseman addressed the situations with bandaids.

Carson Wentz is the first quarterback in the history of the league to throw for over 4,000 yards without a single wide receiver going over 500.’ Or I know you’ve heard the most recent

Statistics like these are an indictment of only one man. And that ladies and gentlemen, is not Carson Wentz.

To say that Roseman is a bad general manager would probably be an overreaction. The problem with Roseman however, is that he got a taste of success and threw conventional wisdom out the window. Trying to build a team on the fly while remaining competitive is something Roseman has admitted to struggling with and the way he has handled success is just the perfect example of this. The risk of signing older injury-prone veterans, the multiple contract restructures, and the failure to find continuous competent talent throughout the draft. Each of these has played its own role in Howie Roseman failing the development of Carson Wentz.

Back in January Roseman sat in front of us and said:

“I think when you have a disappointing season, it’s not just on the players and coaches. It’s also on the front office, and that starts with me. I’m sorry to our fans. They give us tremendous support.”

Yet we sit midway through the next season with many of the same problems that have pledged the franchise for the past few seasons.

Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz can-have-will be better than what they’ve shown this season.
At the same time they can only play the hand they are dealt and the dealer, Howie Roseman hasn’t been very generous.

Featured Image: Michael Bryant/The Inquirer
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