As each day passes, sports are evolving further into a numbers game. We’ve certainly never had more statistical information to evaluate players, coaches and teams in pro sports.
Numbers permeate our sports debates and most of us have learned to twist them in any number of ways to confirm what we already believe.
In the case of the Eagles, there are any number of numbers that could verify what your eyes have already discerned (assuming you haven’t scratched them out over the past few weeks): the offense has not played well.
We’ll save you from a statistical breakdown of the carnage. Instead, let’s focus on the only two numbers that really matter when it comes to the future of the Eagles' offense and, by extension, the whole franchise.
59,220,614 and 67.
Let’s start with the first figure. That 59,220,614 represents the salary cap hit in dollars, according to Spotrac, if the Eagles were to move on from Carson Wentz prior to next season. Or about a third of next season’s projected salary cap in the NFL.
So you can think Wentz is the sole reason the Eagles’ offense is foundering. Or you can insist the blame lies entirely with a patchwork offensive line and a disappointing collection of players at the skill position. You might even be a rational person that believes the truth lies somewhere in between those extremes.
But remember that no one’s opinion matters on this topic. 59,220,614 is the first and last word (impressive for being a number and not actually a word). And it’s screaming for all to hear that Wentz will be the starting quarterback next season.
That leads us to the second number: 67. That is the total number of times Wentz is on pace to be sacked this season. In the history of the NFL, only two quarterbacks have ever been sacked more than 67 times in a season (David Carr — 2002 and 2005, Randall Cunningham — 1986).
It’s an absurd amount of pounding to take in a league that has seen a proliferation of the quick passing game and rules designed to protect the quarterback beyond all other players. The toll of those sacks is seen not only in the loss of yards on those particular instances, but also in the plays that aren’t being made beyond them.
Those missed opportunities represent one area we cannot fully quantify. But it’s clear to any former player with a functioning DVR and a social media account that Wentz is missing throws and not seeing open receivers. Is that because he forgot how to play quarterback in 2020? Or is it, in part, the product of 11 weeks of nearly unprecedented physical punishment?
If it’s the former, there’s really nothing the Eagles can do except rebuild outside of Wentz and replace him when his cap hit becomes reduced enough to replace him.
If it’s the latter, it’s time to sit Wentz for the season.
Not out of frustration.
Not because you hope Jalen Hurts lights a spark.
But as an acknowledgement that whatever is wrong with Wentz and the offense will not be fixed over the next five games and more importantly to protect your most important and expensive asset moving forward.
In a season of rapidly diminishing expectations, the new number one priority is getting No. 11 out in one piece.
That’s a different type of numbers game.
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