Carson Wentz is the talk of the NFL right now with his impressive showing through the first three games of the season.
Before the NFL Draft last April, the Philadelphia Eagles traded up from the No. 8 pick to the No. 2 pick with the Cleveland Brown. The Eagles acquired the No. 2 pick and a 2017 fourth round pick in exchange for the No. 8 pick, a 2016 third and fourth round picks, a 2017 first round pick, a 2017 third round pick, and a second round pick in 2018. At first look, many football fans believe that the Eagles gave up too much. Eagles fans, like most Philadelphia fans in general, were very passionate and outspoken on this move. After drafting Wentz, Eagles fans actually booed him when he first showed up in Philadelphia, not confident in his playing ability.
Five months has passed and now Wentz is the talk of the town. After the Eagles traded former quarterback Sam Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings, enter Carson Wentz. The team announced him as the starting quarterback entering the 2016 regular season. After three games into the regular season, Wentz has been nothing but stellar, completing 66 out of 102 passes for 769 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. That last stat is relevant because Wentz broke the record for most pass attempts without throwing an interception amongst rookie quarterbacks. This record was last held by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (91 pass attempts).
Wentz’s first three games were against the Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, and Pittsburgh. Wentz’s best statistical game was against the Steelers, during which he completed 23 of 31 passes for 301 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions (125.9 Quarterback Rating).
“We’re all feeding off of Carson Wentz on offense, and the defense is playing lights out, and we’re just a very confident team right now,” said Eagles tight end Brent Celek. “…It’s a long season. We haven’t accomplished anything yet, but it’s great to start the way we have.”
Wentz has even received praise from his opponents as well.
“He played like a freakin’ Hall of Famer,” said Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward. “I don’t know how many passes he missed, but he managed the game, got the ball to his receivers, got the ball to his running backs.”
Like Celek said, it’s only the beginning of the season. As well as Wentz has been playing thus far, there are still 13 games remaining on the Eagles’ schedule. One of the keys to Wentz’s success is his ability to stay upright in the pocket and not take too many hard shots. Avoiding injury is one of the keys to a successful rookie campaign in the NFL. Wentz has some influences that he is taking notes from.
“I think Russell Wilson does a really good job of protecting himself,” said Wentz. “Obviously, he makes plays with his feet. Cam Newton takes some shots here and there…I always thought he did a good job, with all the different quarterback runs, of just protecting himself [and] taking the shots very sparingly.”
Not taking away from Wentz’s first three opponents, but let’s further evaluate Wentz as the season progresses, against tough defenses like the Minnesota Vikings (Week 7), Seattle Seahawks (Week 11), and Cincinnati Bengals (Week 13). So far, so good for the Eagles’ rookie quarterback and we’ll continue to follow through this turbulent NFL season.