Calls to Bench Carson Wentz Grow Louder

Calls to Bench Carson Wentz Grow Louder
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is having a miserable season, but his coach has publicly stood by him and there seems no signs of this changing. 
After another disappointing performance by Wentz in Sunday’s 22-17 loss to the Cleveland Browns, Eagles coach Doug Pederson was asked if he considered benching Wentz in this game or eventually taking him out of the starting lineup. 
His answer was an emphatic no. 
“I think If you get to that spot, whether you don’t start him or bench him, you are sending the wrong message to your football team that your season is over and that is a bad message,” Pederson said in his post-game Zoom press conference.  
Wentz’s game against the Browns was worse than the inclement weather in Cleveland. He completed 21 of 35 for 235 yards, two touchdowns, but two interceptions, including a pick six. He was also sacked in the end zone for a safety and finished with a 75.3 passer rating. 
This season Wentz has thrown 14 touchdown passes, but also 14 interceptions. His passer rating is just a career low 73.3. Even when he was a rookie and was just learning how to read NFL defenses, his passer rating was 79.3.  
That rookie season he threw 14 interceptions in 16 games.  
Wentz has regressed poorly and there are many calling for rookie Jalen Hurts to replace him. 
Hurtz was drafted in the second round and many felt that was the beginning of the end for Wentz, even though his four-year, $128 million extension doesn’t kick in until next year and runs through the 2024 season.  
While Wentz and the Eagles will deny it, there is a theory that Wentz feels pressured by the presence of Hurts.  
The Eagles have used Hurts sporadically, bringing him in usually for just a play or two. To date he has rushed 12 times for 56 yards and has completed both his passes for 27 yards. 
Hurts starred at Alabama then lost his job to Tua Tagovailoa, transferred to Oklahoma and finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting last season.  
He is known for his running ability and whether he can be a consistent NFL passer remains to be seen. 
By drafting him so high (53rd overall) many have suggested the Eagles didn’t take somebody that high to sit on the bench for four years. 
The Eagles insist Hurts was drafted due to his value, but could they have also been concerned with Wentz’s well documented injury history.  
He suffered injuries that kept him out of the playoffs in both the 2017 season (when the Eagles won the Super Bowl) and 2018. Last year he left the game for good in the first quarter with a concussion during the Eagles 17-9 playoff loss to Seattle. 
This year Wentz has played every game for the 3-6-1 Eagles, but he has taken a beating. This season Wentz has been sacked a career-high 40 times. Last season in 16 games he was sacked 37 times. 
Wentz doesn’t appear comfortable. Whether it is because of all the offensive line injuries, or the presence of Hurts, he has clearly regressed this year. 
Pederson maintains his faith in Wentz, who is among the most athletic quarterbacks in the NFL.  
If the Eagles stick with him, they should roll him out on almost every play because he has had problems and his line have had trouble keeping him upright when he stays in the pocket. 

Either way, he’s not playing with confidence and maybe the fact that his coach is sticking behind him 100 percent will provide Wentz with a boost, but if he continues to play the haphazard way he has, then the question about being benched will continue. 

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Author: Marc Narducci

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