With the NFL preseason in full swing, Philadelphians are counting down the days until the regular season begins in Washington on Sunday, September 10. Looking to lead the Eagles for his second straight year, is quarterback Carson Wentz.
Wentz was drafted second overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. The original plan was for him to sit and learn his first season, but those plans changed when the Eagles traded away quarterback Sam Bradford.
Ups and Downs
Carson and the Eagles’ 2016 started off promising. He made his first regular season start in Week 1 against the Browns. Wentz threw for 278 passing yards and 2 touchdowns, leading to a 29–10 win, receiving the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week honor – which he also earned in Weeks 3 and 5.
The next week, Wentz threw for 190 yards and a touchdown in a 29–14 victory over the Bears, becoming the first rookie quarterback since 1970 to win his first two games of the season without throwing an interception.
In Week 3 against the Steelers, Wentz finished with 301 passing yards and 2 touchdowns leading the Eagles to a 34-3 victory, earning the title of NFC Offensive Player of the Week, as well as NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month.
After their Week 4 bye, the Eagles lost 9 of their last 13 games, missing the playoffs for the third consecutive season. They finished the season with 7 wins and 9 losses.
Wentz finished with 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions on the season. He threw 379 completions, simultaneously setting a rookie record and a franchise record. Although, he also set the single-season franchise record with 607 pass attempts, which is the second most attempts by a rookie in league history.
Their running backs were solid if unexceptional, with Ryan Mathews leading the way. It was the lack of talent and experience at wide receiver that held them back. Wentz depended on tight end Zach Ertz and running back Darren Sproles for many of his passes.
The Eagles used free agency to improve their biggest weakness. They signed wideouts Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery. Both have played well in the past but at times have been held back by injuries and poor supporting casts. Carson Wentz now has the weapons around him to take his play to the next level. These two talents, along with Matthews, Ertz, and Sproles gives him the tools to run virtually any passing play.
Carson Wentz has a great opportunity in front of him to improve on what was a decent rookie campaign. With a better supporting cast, it’s up to him and the coaching staff to make sure he continues to learn the NFL game as well as the team’s playbook, to lead the Philadelphia Eagles back to the playoffs and bring more trophies and awards to PA.
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