Eagles

Just look at the numbers — this is what Wentz really needs

Eagles

Batman has Robin.

Michael Scott had Dwight Schrute.

Woody had Buzz Lightyear.

And for Carson Wentz to be Carson Wentz, he needs Lane Johnson in the game as his right tackle.

The Eagles were missing starters at a handful of positions Sunday in their disappointing 27-17 loss to Washington. But you can argue that none of the starters who sat because of injury are more important to the offense than Lane Johnson.

It wasn’t as though rookie backup Jack Driscoll (and Jordan Mailata after Driscoll left the game) was a swinging gate as opposed to a brick wall, but it seems Wentz’s confidence is that much better, and the offense runs much more smoothly with Johnson on the line, no matter the circumstances.

Counting the postseason, Wentz has started 39 games with Johnson as his right tackle, and 18 games without him. With Johnson on the field, Wentz has a 26-13 record, a 97.9 passer rating and a ratio of 78 touchdowns to just 20 interceptions.

Take Johnson off the field, and those numbers plummet. A 6-12 record, an 80.9 passer rating and 21 touchdowns to 17 interceptions.

Surprisingly, the sacks per game numbers are fairly close (2.36 per game with Johnson, 2.5 without). But on Sunday, Wentz was sacked eight times and hit a total of 14 times on 50 drop-backs. 

If that trend continues, the narrative about Wentz not being able to stay healthy will likely come up again, since almost no mortal man can withstand an onslaught like that for 16 weeks.

Wentz and his head coach Doug Pederson can do plenty to improve those numbers if Johnson doesn’t return for Sunday’s game against the Rams’ formidable defense. Wentz can make better decisions, both in whom he targets, and knowing when to get rid of the ball before being swallowed by the pass rush.

 

Pederson needs to construct a game plan with quick-hitting pass plays, and work the fringes of the defense, like the Cowboys did Sunday night against the Rams.

But for the quarterback to turn around a Week 1 performance that was among his worst since his rookie season, it seems he needs his right tackle back. And soon.