So far this season, the Eagles haven’t looked very good or bad, just mediocre. The Birds are currently wrapping up their bye week as the NFL is finishing up Week 9. At 3-4-1 the Eagles are currently in first place of the NFC East, which is considered the worst division in the entire league. While the season is only halfway finished, there are three takeaways from the season that has occurred so far:
When the Philadelphia Eagles drafted quarterback Carson Wentz with the second overall pick back in the 2016 NFL draft, it was with the intention that he would become the franchise quarterback for years to come. Initially, Wentz did look the part. In just his second season Wentz threw 33 touchdown passes and seven interceptions.
Wentz was considered an MVP candidate until he tore his ACL in a Week 14 game against the Los Angeles Rams on Dec. 10, 2017. The Eagles went on to win the Superbowl with quarterback Nick Foles.
Many fans debated whether the Eagles should stick with Wentz or Foles as the starter for the future. The Eagles made their decision as they gave Wentz a large contract extension in the summer of 2019. In the 2019-20 season, the contract looked like a good one as Wentz led the Eagles to the playoffs and threw 27 touchdown passes and only seven interceptions.
Fast forward to the 2020-2021 season and Wentz does not look the part of a franchise quarterback. Through the first eight games of the season, Wentz has had 12 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions, in addition to losing four fumbles. Wentz has not looked as confident this year as in years past. He has been missing open receivers and yet refuses to throw the ball away when pressured. On top of everything else, Wentz has been sacked a league-leading 32 times.
Wentz’s play has even drawn criticism from Donovan McNabb, who was the Eagles starting quarterback for 11 seasons. McNabb blamed Wentz for the Eagles’ poor play this season. “I am concerned,” McNabb said.
“I’m concerned because to me, it seems he’s trying to do too much and he’s trying to put really too much pressure on his shoulders because of the situation around him. And if you watch the games, a couple of times holding the football entirely too long, if you’re going to run and scramble and pick up yards, go. Don’t sit and fade and try to wait for people to get open. No, you don’t have the ultimate weapons on the outside to be able to create that much time,” McNabb said.
Despite Wentz’s sloppy play, as crazy as it sounds, the Eagles could still make the playoffs.
The Eagles currently have a 1.5 game lead for first place in the pitiful NFC East. They have three games remaining against teams in the NFC East. The rest of the schedule is against teams with winning records. If the Eagles win their remaining games against the NFC East, which is unlikely given they have already lost to Washington and needed last-minute heroics to beat the Giants, then they will finish the season with a putrid record of 6-9-1 that will likely be enough to stay in first place.
Considering how poorly Washington, Dallas and New York have fared this season, that would be a minimal accomplishment, but still enough to make the playoffs and earn a first-round home game. However, given how Wentz has played so far, it would not be a surprise if the Eagles don’t reach six wins on the season.