Philadelphia Eagles: What does “fixing” Carson Wentz actually look like?

Dec 20, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 20, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

How exactly do the Philadelphia Eagles “fix” Carson Wentz?

You’ve heard it tossed out there quite a bit the last few weeks, that the Philadelphia Eagles need to “fix” Carson Wentz this offseason. It makes sense, Wentz was once the best player in all of football (2017), and he was statistically one of the worst here in 2020.

But what exactly does that “fixing” process look like? It was just announced that Doug Pederson will likely be returning for the 2021 season, ruling out the possibility of a new set of eyes coming in to oversee Wentz’ future. If Wentz remain an Eagle moving forward, Doug will have to be a part of the “fixing” process as well.

For starters, it’s going to have to be an extremely complex and thorough reconstruction. This isn’t just about improving Wentz’ accuracy, or adjusting his footwork, this is about stripping away everything about the Philadelphia Eagles offense and rebuilding it in a way that can once again highlight who Wentz is as a quarterback. 28 year old professional athletes don’t just forget how to throw a football – the issues that faced Wentz in 2020 run far deeper than that.

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The most obvious fix that needs to occur has nothing to do with Carson Wentz. Howie Roseman (or whoever ends up being the Eagles GM moving forward) needs to land a true WR1 this offseason. Whether it’s Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith, or someone else via a trade, the Eagles have been doing Wentz a major disservice when it comes to who he’s throwing to. Take a look around the league, pretty much every top QB has an elite wide receiver that they get to target.

Mahomes has Hill and Kelce, Rodgers has Adams, Allen has Diggs, Wilson has Metcalf and Lockett, etc. The days of Wentz targeting Greg Ward Jr. 10+ times a game on slants and drags simply have to stop.

Next, the Philadelphia Eagles (as an organization) have to prove their willing to fully commit to Wentz heading in 2021. For two straight years now we’ve heard all sorts of nonsense come about about backup QB controversies and anonymous sources. If there’s people in the building who are still talking bad about Carson – get them out. If Jalen Hurts is causing a huge distraction everyday at practice – get him out. If the water boy is texting Josina Anderson during training camp – get him out. If the Eagles aren’t willing to do this, they’re wasting their time trying to “fix” #11.

When it comes specifically to Wentz as a player, he himself is going to have to concede some power as well. It’s been reported a handful of times that he can be a hard guy to coach, and maybe takes his “alpha” approach to things a little too far sometimes. Being a strong, confident leader is important at the QB position, but being responsive to good coaching is also important. Bringing in an elite, veteran quarterbacks coach would likely help with this specific dynamic – someone that Wentz trusts and respects.

While the passing offense is clearly broken on a schematic level, Wentz has definitely shown some signs of regression here in 2020. His accuracy has been poor, his decision making skittish, and his footwork concerning. These are things that can be fixed via better coaching and overall better offseason preparation.

Lastly, the Eagles coaching staff (spearheaded by Pederson once more) has to start dialing up game plans that enhance Wentz’ style. Carson is a big-armed, gunslinger who can move pretty darn well for his size. More rollouts, more designed QB runs, and ultimately less precision routes should all be implemented moving forward. It’s been relatively frustrating watching Doug dial up all sorts of creative passing concepts for Hurts the last couple of weeks when he would rarely do that with Wentz.

While he might not be as fast as he was back in 2017, Wentz is still an elite athlete with a monster arm. Attacking those strengths (go watch how the Bills use Josh Allen) will only make Wentz a better quarterback in the long run.

Beefing up the ground game is another thing the Eagles should look to do moving forward. In 2017, Wentz had an elite rotation of backs around him. Blount, Ajayi, and Clement – forming a three-headed monster of sorts – made it impossible for opposing defenses to solely focus on Wentz. Building a similar RB room in 2021, while simultaneously running the ball more during actual games, is another thing that can help Carson re-find his previous form.

Ultimately speaking, a majority of the things that will go into “fixing” Wentz aren’t even mechanics related. Everybody understands he knows how to throw a football and play the QB position – he’s literally an NFL quarterback. However, the trick is getting him back into a position where he feels comfortable in an offense he knows how to run, surrounded by players who uplift him as a passer.

While he might never return to that 2017 MVP form, the play that he displayed down the stretch in 2019 is undoubtedly obtainable. Teams all around the league are able to generate good offense with far inferior QBs (Browns, Rams, Titans, 49ers), it’s about designing a system that uplifts the guy throwing the football – as opposed to repeatedly jamming a square peg into a round hole week after week.

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If the Philadelphia Eagles aren’t willing to do all of that (and I mean all of it), then they shouldn’t even bother. Eat the cap hit and dump Wentz to Indianapolis or some other QB needy suitor. However, if Jeffery Lurie believes he still has an MVP caliber quarterback on his roster, then he needs to blow it all up and do everything in his power to “fix” said player.