Philadelphia Eagles: The year of Carson Wentz is upon us

Dec 4, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) warms-up prior to the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 4, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) warms-up prior to the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

The Philadelphia Eagles should be good this season but there is one man between them being good and great.

That man is Carson Wentz.

The Philadelphia Eagles cannot afford a sophomore slump from their signal caller if the goal is to make the playoffs this year. The offseason has been centered around giving Wentz more than a few paperclips and rubber bands to toss the ball to. That mission has been accomplished with additions like Alshon Jeffery and LeGarrette Blount.

But the additions alone aren’t enough. The Philadelphia Eagles offense was bad last year. It had to lean on an inordinate amount of touchdowns from the defense and special teams and while both units are good, non-offensive touchdowns are a pretty volatile thing.

Yes, only one thing can make this offense great. Development from Carson Wentz. He had an impressive rookie year especially when you consider that after Jordan Matthews and garbage time Zach Ertz, he really didn’t have impact recovers. Last season, Wentz was able to compile 3782 passing yards which considering who he was throwing the ball to, isn’t that bad.

Well, trade in Nelson Agholor for Alshon Jeffery and Dorial Green-Beckham for Torrey Smith and we’re talking about an NFL caliber receiving core. But if Wentz equals last year’s numbers the Philadelphia Eagles are in for a 9-7 season.

Wait, what? But you just said that the receivers are an NFL quality unit?

More from Philadelphia Eagles

Exactly. They are but looking over the Eagles roster they do a lot of things well but outside of special teams play, they aren’t great at anything. There’s no issue with this but the difference between a good team and a great one is either a top 10 defense or a top 10 quarterback. While no one should expect the defense to morph into world-beaters overnight, it’s not an unreasonable expectation for Wentz to take the jump as a top 10 quarterback in the league.

The biggest issue with Wentz’s numbers is that he threw 19 touchdowns compared to 14 interceptions. A 1.36 touchdown to interception ratio will not cut it moving forward. This is mainly because Wentz will likely get less production out of running backs this season.

Let’s take a second away from the man of the hour to look at his support cast.

While the perception of the rushing attack wasn’t great because of injuries and fumbles but overall, the Philadelphia Eagles had a productive attack averaging 113.3 yards per game, good for 11th in the NFL.

Both Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles topped 400 rushing yards on the season while Wendell Smallwood wasn’t far behind with 312 on his own. Toss in another 100+ from Kenjon Barner and Wentz and the numbers begin to add up. The issue this season is that Matthews is a back that needs consistent touches to actually make an impact (even with his injury history)

With the arrival of LeGarrette Blount, it’s unknown if Matthews will be on the team this coming season let alone get the touches that he needs to make an impact. Looking at old man Sproles, he can never be counted out but he has to take a step back at some point. Blount is useful but his presence isn’t enough to singlehandedly pick up the slack from two guys underperforming this season.

The only people who can possibly do that are Pumphrey and Smallwood but they’re basically unknowns at this point. Smallwood could be the lead back that the Philadelphia Eagles need while Pumphrey could be Sproles 2.0 but this can’t be projected. With the unknowns behind him, Wentz will need to be ready to come out slinging.

Alright, back to Wentz

There has been talk during the off-season about Wentz working with a quarterback guru who trained Tom Brady as well as multiple chemistry building activities with his receivers.  These things will be key as  Wentz looks to take the next step in his progression.

That training has helped Wentz develop a shorter, more compact throwing motion that will hopefully be easier to repeat over the course of the season. Improved mechanics will help Wentz with making his throws in stride to receivers that should be running better routes. If it works properly, the stage will be set for Wentz to crack the 4,000-yard barrier for the Philadelphia Eagles while also tossing 20+ touchdowns.

Next: Previewing the offensive play makers

As long as the offensive line is able to give Wentz proper protection, it will be up to him to find the receivers. If Wentz can make the proper reads and decisions, the Philadelphia Eagles will be a playoff team this season, otherwise, the struggles of mediocrity will continue.