Another Philadelphia Eagles season, another missed trip to the playoffs. The Eagles haven’t seemed to find any form of consistency since Donovan McNabb left town in 2009. They have since fired Andy Reid and Chip Kelly as head coaches. Their coaching staff and personnel have frequently shifted around. Probably the biggest problem for them in the last eight years has been at quarterback. They had attempted to use Kevin Kolb, Michael Vick, Nick Foles and Sam Bradford as their franchise quarterback but in the end, they all failed to assume the position.
But Eagles fans now have hope: Carson Wentz! The man general manager Howie Roseman sold the farm to get in the 2016 NFL Draft looks like he can be the guy and he showed it in this past season. Even though the 2016 Eagles finished at 7-9 and last in the NFC East, Eagles fans everywhere can look forward with promise and optimism thanks to our young quarterback from North Dakota State.
Philadelphia Eagles Quarterbacks End of Season Evaluation
The Eagles played 2016 with only two quarterbacks on the active roster: Wentz and eight-year pro Chase Daniel. There were supposed to be three quarterbacks heading into the season, with Bradford starting, Daniel the backup and the rookie Wentz the backup.
But this changed quickly. Just before the season kicked off, Bradford was shipped to Minnesota (after Teddy Bridgewater tore his ACL). To many people’s surprise, Wentz was moved up to the starter instead of Daniel and Doug Peterson had full confidence Wentz was ready to become the starter.
As of now heading into next season, Wentz will be the starter and Daniel will serve as the backup for the last two years of his contract.
Eagles Quarterbacks Evaluation
Wentz is the only real quarterback to evaluate here since he started every game and only took a couple plays off in Week 16. Wentz finished the season with 379 on 607 attempts for 3,782 yards, one of the highest pass attempt totals of all quarterbacks. His completion percentage was 62.4 on 6.2 yards per attempt. He threw 16 touchdowns on 14 interceptions. He was sacked 33 times. By the end of the season, his quarterback rating was 79.3.
On paper his numbers look pedestrian, but in actuality, he performed very, very well this season. For one, he was a rookie who was thrust into the starting lineup less than two weeks before opening kickoff. When he was on the field, he showed many flashes of brilliance and athleticism and what potential he can bring to the Eagles in the future. His leadership and tough play was unwavering throughout the season, even when the team was in the midst of a five-game losing streak. Personally, watching him out there was like watching Peyton Manning in the way he commands the offense and becomes a field general.
Another amazing thing to consider is Wentz did all these things with the worst offense in the NFC East. The Eagles were easily the worst team in the NFL in dropped passes, they had absolutely no real WR1 on the team, their running game was extremely inconsistent and banged up, their best offensive lineman Lane Johnson was suspended for 10 games (which can explain most of the sacks he took) AND he had a first year, rookie head coach in Doug Pederson.
The Eagles were never supposed to be good this year and they certainly finished that way. Wentz was thrust into a losing environment with a lack of talent and created something out of nothing. Next year, he should have much improved playmakers around him and a coach who he can continue to build around. Don’t expect him to get off the field much.
Daniel was signed last off-season from the Chiefs to a three-year contract to be a backup. He was the backup to Alex Smith when Doug Pederson was their offensive coordinator and followed the coach to Philly. Daniel only played in one game this season against the Giants, when Carson Wentz was evaluated on the sideline for an injury but quickly returned after two plays. In those two plays, Daniel threw one pass for 16 yards.
Daniel did not see any true action last season so we cannot evaluate him. In his eight years as a pro, he has been a serviceable backup with talent and a great attitude. If he is needed to come in next season, he should be fully in tune with the Pederson playbook and the offense.
Overall Quarterbacks Grade:
Carson Wentz is the only quarterback to grade here and I am going to give him a generous B+, which I think he very much deserves. Let’s face it: Wentz was a rookie quarterback who was overshadowed by the stellar play of fellow rookie and NFC East foe Dak Prescott. The fact that he almost threw for 4,000 yards, not just as a rookie but with the lack of weapons around him, shows he can be the franchise quarterback the Eagles have been looking for. Obviously expect the Eagles to sign a third string quarterback because Daniel is not going anywhere.