Carson Wentz

Donovan McNabb weighs in on Carson Wentz's durability and expectations with Eagles

Donovan McNabb weighs in on Carson Wentz's durability and expectations with Eagles

Everyone has an opinion on Carson Wentz, even the former franchise quarterback of the Eagles, Donovan McNabb. 

This morning, 5 was on CBS Sports Radio with Zach Gelb and spewed his take on Wentz, one that doesn’t offer the new franchise quarterback much of a leash. 

Here’s what he said on the topic: 

I think in the next two years or so, he needs to find a way to get out of the second round of the playoffs. What Nick Foles was able to do, take them to a Super Bowl and then possibly take them back to the NFC Championship proves that, hey, some people can get into that offense and be very successful. [Wentz] hasn’t been healthy. He hasn’t really proven to me, besides the year before he got hurt, in his first year, of really the MVP candidate. He needs to get back to that mode. 

I think, personally, if he can’t get out of the second round in the next two, maybe three, years, but really two years, to be honest with you. If he can’t get out of the second round, they should look to possibly draft another quarterback because you just don’t know about his durability. Staying healthy is very key in this league. The team only goes as far as their quarterback takes them. And they put so many eggs in the basket with Carson Wentz and he has to prove that in the next two years. 

Well, the first thing here is that we should correct McNabb. The year Wentz got hurt was his MVP-caliber season. Had he played those last three games, he probably would have won the award. No harm done. Moving on. 

Now, let’s get to the gist of McNabb’s point. He has Wentz on a very short leash. If Wentz can’t get to an NFC Championship game in two years, they should move on, according to McNabb.  

I get part of what McNabb is saying even though he didn’t really say it. The Eagles are clearly in win-now mode; their window to win Super Bowls is open right now and they need Wentz to play well for that to happen. But to say he needs to get out of the second round because “you don’t know about his durability” doesn’t really make much sense. Sure, if he’s healthy, he’ll probably be good and the Eagles will find success. Is McNabb’s point that if Wentz isn’t healthy, they should move on? Well, that’s a salient one, I suppose. 

Here’s the thing, though. The idea that the Eagles should just draft another quarterback is a hard proposition. Franchise QBs don’t grow on trees. It’s why the Eagles were so aggressive to trade up in 2016…because they identified Wentz as that guy. And it seems unlikely the Eagles are going to stink if Wentz is on the field. So, then we’re talking about a pretty big jump up in the draft to get another elite quarterback. 

Maybe McNabb didn’t put too much thought into this answer. Because getting into the NFC Championship Game in two years seems like a pretty arbitrary goal. What if Wentz plays well in the playoffs and the Eagles lose close games in the divisional round in back-to-back years? Still moving on? Yeah, probably not. 

And we didn’t even talk about the contract. The Eagles have seemed pretty on-board with getting an extension done with Wentz this offseason or next. If that happens, you can forget about them moving on. Then they’ll be locked in with Wentz for better or for worse.

McNabb was also asked about some other stuff pertaining to the Eagles and around the league. Listen if you want: 

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Carson Wentz knows DeSean Jackson is a deep threat like he's never had

Carson Wentz knows DeSean Jackson is a deep threat like he's never had

When asked about DeSean Jackson on Monday afternoon, Carson Wentz’s eyes lit up. 

It’s easy to understand why. 

Not only will Jackson bring back an element that has been missing from the Eagles’ offense for years, but he’ll also provide Wentz with the kind of deep threat he’s never had before. 

Never. 

It’s exciting. It’s, without a doubt, exciting. You see the guy, obviously, the guy is getting up there in age, but the guy still runs like the wind. Impressive on film, [saw] it last year opening play of the game we played them. The guy’s still got it. It’s, without a doubt, exciting. I think he’ll bring a dynamic aspect to our offense. Whether he’s catching balls during the game or whether he’s opening things up underneath, I’m really excited to have him.

Jackson is 32 now but has shown no signs of slowing down, literally or figuratively. At 31, he led the NFL in yards-per-catch last season at 18.9. It’s the fourth time (for his third different team) that Jackson led the league in that category. 

And since he entered the league in 2008, Jackson has led the NFL with 40 catches of 50-plus yards. The next closest player on that list is Mike Wallace, who has just 26. 

Wentz brought up Wallace on Monday. He mentioned that Wallace was supposed to be the fastest player he had ever played with, but it didn’t happen. The Eagles brought Wallace in on a one-year deal for 2018, but Wallace got hurt in the second game of the season and Wentz didn’t return until Week 3. They were ships passing in the night last season. 

But now Wentz has Jackson. 

“I’m excited to get out there and just really see it in action,” Wentz said. 

With all due respect to the 30 players who have caught a pass from Wentz during his first three NFL seasons, Jackson will be the most dynamic deep threat Wentz has ever had. Heck, Jackson is one of the best deep threats the NFL has ever seen. 

Among the players who have caught at least 10 passes from Wentz, the highest career yards-per-catch belongs to Torrey Smith (16.1). But in Smith’s one season in Philly, he averaged just 11.9 yards per catch. 

Here’s every player to ever catch a pass from Wentz and their career yards-per-catch average. Guys like Bryce Treggs and Shelton Gibson have so few catches, their averages are obviously skewed. 

Zach Ertz: 216 (11.0) 
Nelson Agholor: 117 (11.6)
Alshon Jeffery: 100 (14.5)
Jordan Matthews: 91 (12.1)
Darren Sproles: 62 (8.8)
Trey Burton: 56 (10.2)
Dorial Green-Beckham: 36 (13.8)
Torrey Smith: 33 (16.1) 
Wendell Smallwood: 33 (8.3)
Corey Clement: 25 (9.8)
Dallas Goedert: 24 (10.1) 
Brent Celek: 23 (12.6) 
Golden Tate: 19 (11.8)
Josh Huff: 13 (10.3) 
Ryan Mathews: 12 (7.7) 
Mack Hollins: 12 (14.1) 
Paul Turner: 9 (14.0)
Kenjon Barner: 9 (5.9)
Jay Ajayi: 9 (6.7)
LeGarrette Blount: 5 (7.1) 
Josh Adams: 4 (8.3)
Bryce Treggs: 3 (19.9) 
Byron Marshall: 3 (5.8) 
Carson Wentz: 2 (5.5) 
Marcus Johnson: 2 (13.4)
Terrell Watson: 1 (5.0) 
Shelton Gibson: 1 (19.7) 
Kamar Aiken: 1 (11.6) 
DeAndre Carter: 1 (9.8)
Joshua Perkins: 1 (13.6)

So who is the best deep threat Wentz has ever had? Maybe it’s Alshon or Smith or Treggs or DGB or Agholor. But it won’t be any of them for very long. 

And it’s not like Wentz doesn’t like to throw deep balls. He has 13 passes of 50-plus yards in his career, which ranks ninth in the NFL — and that’s with missing eight games over the last two years. 

It’ll be up to Wentz and Jackson to get their work in together because so much of completing deep balls is about building a rapport between quarterback and receiver. But if these two can get on the same page, they could form a special duo. 

It’ll be like nothing Wentz has ever had. And that’s why he seemed so happy on Monday.

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Eagle Eye Podcast: Concern over Carson Wentz's health?

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Eagle Eye Podcast: Concern over Carson Wentz's health?

On this edition of Eagle Eye, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro react to Carson Wentz saying he is not fully healthy yet. How much should fans be concerned with that news?

Jason Kelce played through several injuries last season. Zach Ertz has big expectations for himself. Jalen Mills was arrested over the weekend.

Also, the guys give their first-round mock draft.

0:30 - Dave's birthday weekend.
2:00 - How worried should we be about Wentz's health?
12:30 - Kelce was playing through numerous injuries last season.
16:00 - Ertz wants to be the best.
18:00 - What to make of Mills' arrest?
23:00 - Roob doesn't like mock drafts ... so the guys give you their first-round mock draft.

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