Philadelphia Eagles need to focus on long run with Carson Wentz injury

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 03: Quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles warms up before taking on the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field on December 3, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 03: Quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles warms up before taking on the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field on December 3, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Reports indicate that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has been dealing with a back issue and that his 2018 season might be over.

Wednesday morning, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz would likely miss this Sunday’s matchup with the Los Angeles Rams due to a back issue.

Even more surprising, Rapoport continuing to say that the Eagles may shut down Wentz for the remainder of the season.

This could explain some of Wentz’s struggles as of late, but it feels like this has come out of nowhere. Wentz has missed a few practices this season for “rest” or for this back issue. So obviously, this has been something that has been lingering for a while now.

Wentz has obviously been trying to play through the pain these last few weeks and that can explain some of his accuracy issues along with lack of mobility. Much of that had been credited to him not being comfortable on his knee yet, but in reality, it may have been his back all this time.

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We do not know if the back injury has anything to do with the knee or if it is a completely separate issue. Also, if the Eagles still had a strong chance of making the playoffs, then maybe Wentz would have continued to play through this.

In the short term, we know that Wentz will likely not play Sunday against the Rams, which stinks because that is where he tore his ACL last season and I am sure Wentz wanted nothing more than to be back on that field where he got hurt to have a chance to come off of it with a win.

If Wentz does not play, it will be Nick Foles who gets the start for the Eagles. In two starts this season, Foles is 1-1 with one touchdown and one interception, while throwing for 451 yards. Foles will fill in for Wentz on the same field he first relieved him on in 2017, and fans all know how that ended.

When taking a long-term look, it appears it would be smart for the Eagles to shut down Wentz for the remainder of the season and not risk anything worse happening to him. The Eagles are likely not making the postseason and it would be foolish to push Wentz, especially if he is at risk.

With the Eagles still in the playoff hunt the past few weeks, Wentz has obviously been trying to push through and probably would have done the same if the Eagles were appeared to be going back to the postseason. But at this point, it is best the Eagles take a cautious approach with their franchise quarterback, especially with him being just one year off an ACL tear.

So if Wentz is done for the year, Foles will play the season’s final three games. Unless some miracle happens, Foles is not leading this team back to the Super Bowl. He was under much different circumstances when he came in last season.

Wentz has now had some sort of injury in all three years of his career. He had the broken ribs in the preseason of his rookie year, the torn ACL last season, and now this issue. Dating back to his senior year at North Dakota State, he has had to miss time for four-straight seasons due to injury.

Does this give the Eagles a reason to be concerned about Wentz’s long-term health? It probably does. But we’ve seen what he can do when fully healthy and the Eagles are going to bank on that.

The Eagles have a decision to make this offseason with Wentz’s contract. They can either extend him, pick up his fifth-year option, or do nothing and have him play 2019 with no contract security. They could extend him, but the best thing to do may be to pick up that option to give the Eagles another year to evaluate Wentz and negotiate a deal.

Wentz has shown he has what it takes to be a franchise quarterback. He was the league’s MVP before getting hurt in 2017. If this is it for Wentz this season, then he is going to have a full offseason to get over this back issue and get better going forward.

2019 is going to be a big year for Wentz. He has still never played in a playoff game and the Eagles want to know if he can lead them there and be the guy before they throw a huge deal at him.

If this is it for Wentz, he will finish the season with 21 touchdowns to go along with seven interceptions, and 3,074 passing yards, while completing almost 70 percent of his passes. That is back-to-back seasons of more than 20+ touchdown passes and less than 10 interceptions, which is certainly nothing to sneeze at.

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The Eagles are likely going to miss the playoffs in 2018, but even a year after winning the Super Bowl, they need to keep their long-term plan in focus. If resting Wentz for the remainder of the season and getting him primed for a big 2019 is what the plan is, then let’s trust the Eagles to be safe with the franchise’s prized possession.