Wentz Exceeds Expectations in Eagles...

by Marc Narducci; Photo Marc Narducci | Sep 14, 2016
Wentz Exceeds Expectations in Eagles... Wentz Exceeds Expectations in Eagles Debut

So much has fallen the Eagles way as they begin the Carson Wentz era. It wasn't that long ago that Wentz was expected to carry a clipboard all season as the third string quarterback.

But a few things went his way that eventually led to a stunning debut in the Eagles opening 29-10 win over the Cleveland Browns.

Of course there will be plenty of disclaimers, and a major one is that the Browns may be the worst team in the NFL.

Still, it's an NFL team, played at NFL speed, much faster than Wentz was accustomed while competing for North Dakota State as a Football Championship Subdivision school.

Even Wentz's rib injury in the preseason, while robbing him of valuable reps, didn't hold him back from developing. The Eagles were able to take advantage of the misfortune of the Minnnesota Vikings, when quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a devastating non-contact knee injury. Fox Sports reported that the Vikings fear he may be lost for next season as well.

Bradford signed a two-year contract with the Eagles in March. The Vikings feel they are a contender and overpaid for Bradford, sending the Eagles a first round pick and conditional fourth.

Chase Daniel was supposed to be Bradford's backup with the Eagles. No doubt his underwhelming preseason performance probably had the Eagles thinking they should just throw Wentz into the fire.

And he aced his first test, completing 22 of 37 passes for 278 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating was 101.0.

It wasn't just the statistics he compiled but some of the throws he made that were so impressive, none more so than the 35-yard scoring pass to Nelson Agholor in the third quarter that broke the game open, extending the lead to 22-10.

Wentz hit Agholor in stride, in a tight opening as the Eagles second-year receiver got a step on the Browns best defensive player, cornerback Joe Haden. He earlier drilled a 19-yard TD pass to Jordan Matthews in the back of the end zone on the game's first drive.

At 6-fot-5 and 237-pounds, Wentz is big, strong and very athletic. Most of all he showed great poise in his first NFL game.

"I wasn't really that nervous," Wentz said afterwards.

And he looked as calm as ever.

In an NFC East, where Dallas is without quarterback Tony Romo, Washington looked out of sync in its opening loss to Pittsburgh and the New York Giants having offensive line questions, could the Eagles be more competitive? Again, it's one win and nobody should jump to conclusions. The Eagles were picked by many to win between six and seven games, and that might happen. But if they are competitive and Wentz shows progression and develops, the franchise could be set at the most important position for the next decade and a half.

Eagles fans have to keep reminding themselves it was only one game against a struggling NFL team, but it still showed glimpses as to why the team traded away so many high draft picks to get a player they feel will be an NFL difference maker for years to come.

Photo by Marc Narducci: Carson Wentz in his debut game against Cleveland

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci


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