ESPN's First Take is a build-your-own hot take generator, but former NFL quarterback and current ESPN personality Dan Orlovsky usually tries to stay away from saying stuff just for reaction.
Which is why Orlovsky's assessment Monday of the five best quarterbacks in the NFC generated so much... discussion? Fury? It was kind of both.
Orlovsky said, in no uncertain terms, that he ranks Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz as the fourth-best QB in the NFC, behind Russell Wilson (yep), Tom Brady (likely), and Drew Brees (yep).
This, of course, puts Wentz ahead of Aaron Rodgers:
Unsurprisingly, Orlovsky had to deal with angry football fans all day, sifting through tons of tweets calling him out of whack and (kind of hilariously) demanding he be drug tested. You can go look at his timeline for the horror show.
I'm here to defend Orlovsky. Yes, Rodgers is one of the greats. And yes, in a vacuum there is zero comparison between the Packers legend and Wentz.
But heading into the 2020 season, knowing what we know about each QB, I'm also taking Wentz.
Rodgers has seen his completion percentage fall in each of the last four seasons, he posted the second-lowest yards-per-attempt mark of his career in 2019, and he turns 37 in December. Last year, he tossed too many errant passes on would-be easy completions. It felt like he'd turned the corner, and his prime was over.
Wentz, on the other hand, made do with embarassingly bad skill position players and led the Eagles to the playoffs with numerous clutch throws in December.
One of Rodgers' greatest remaining skills is his ability to avoid interceptions, throwing just six over his last 32 regular season games. You know who else has low INT numbers? Wentz, who posted a higher completion percentage than Rodgers in 2019 while working with you and me at wide receiver.
And Wentz, a decade younger than Rodgers and still growing as a passer, also has the added benefit of being an athletic, mobile quarterback.
The greats age, and eventually are no longer great. It happens, and it's happening here.
It took guts for Orlovsky to put Wentz ahead of Rodgers in 2020, but I'm glad he did - because now everyone else can do the same.
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