Eagles Insider

Wentz finally has what he's needed all along

Eagles Insider

In 2016, his top four wide receivers were Jordan Matthews, Dorial Green-Beckham, Nelson Agholor and Paul Turner. 

In 2017, it was Alshon Jeffery, Nelly, Torrey Smith and Mack Hollins.

In 2018, Nelly, Alshon, Matthews and Golden Tate.

And then last year Nelly, Alshon, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Hollins.

Inspiring, right?

The first four years of his career, Carson Wentz’s wide receivers ranged from disastrous to mediocre. Other than one explosive game with DeSean Jackson and a decent game here and there from Nelly and Alshon, it’s essentially been drop back and pray.

Here’s a look at the combined snap counts for every Eagles wide receiver from 2016 through 2019:  

  • 2,880 snaps - Alshon Jeffery
  • 2,681 snaps - Nelson Agholor 
  • 1,323 snaps - Jordan Matthews
  • 735 snaps - Torrey Smith
  • 682 snaps - Mack Hollins 
  • 642 snaps - Dorial Green-Beckham
  • 486 snaps - J.J. Arcega-Whieside
  • 308 snaps - Greg Ward
  • 240 snaps - Golden Tate
  • 154 snaps - Paul Turner
  • 146 snaps - Marcus Johnson
  • 134 snaps - Josh Huff 
  • 131 snaps - Kamar Aiken
  • 125 snaps - Bryce Treggs
  • 103 snaps - Robert Davis
  • 83 snaps - DeAndre Carter
  • 81 snaps - Shelton Gibson
  • 73 snaps - Mike Wallace
  • 65 snaps - Desean Jackson
  • 15 snaps - Deontay Burnett
  • 2 snaps - Markus Wheaton

  I mean, look at those names. Are you kidding me? Thirteen of them aren’t even in the league anymore.

Really, it’s a miracle Carson performed as well as he did the first few years of his career considering the lack of firepower he was playing with.  

DGB, JJAW, Hollins, Turner, Johnson, Huff, Aiken, Treggs, Davis, Carter, Gibson, Wallace, Burnett and Wheaton combined for nearly three THOUSAND snaps and caught 121 passes.

There were moments of magic with Alshon and Nelly before Wentz got hurt in 2017, but those moments were fleeting. And rare since then.   There’s always been a sense of … “Just wait until he’s got a real cast of wide receivers. Then we’ll see the real Carson Wentz.”

Here we are. And guess what. 

 

Halfway through his fifth season, Wentz finally seems to have a bunch of young, explosive, playmaking wide receivers who can run, who can catch, whom he trusts.

Travis Fulgham, Jalen Reagor, John Hightower and Greg Ward have only played a combined 30 NFL games, but it sure seems that this is the most talented group of wide outs Wentz has had here.

By far.

Fulgham has the 2nd-most yards of any NFL wide receiver since he started playing (five fewer than Robby Anderson).

Hightower is one of five players with two 50-yard catches.

Ward has the 3rd-most catches in franchise history by a player in his first 14 games (behind Keith Jackson and DeSean Jackson).

And Reagor, who returns Sunday after missing five games, was off to an auspicious start before he got hurt.

None of these guys has even played 16 career games so you don’t want to go crazy here, but this is potentially a group of young receivers that Wentz can really grow with. And you throw in Dallas Goedert and Boston Scott, Miles Sanders and Zach Ertz when they return, and this is a loaded group of skill guys.

And it means no more excuses for Wentz. 

There’s no reason for the inconsistency we’ve seen this year. There’s no reason for the undue risks we’ve seen this year. There’s no reason for the bewildering interceptions we’ve seen this year.

Because he's got guys now who can make plays for him, and that means he doesn't have to be Superman. He doesn't have to do it all himself. If he plays smart, mistake-free football and distributes the football to the open man, those guys will do the rest.

Wentz has put up very good numbers without elite receivers – 81 touchdowns, 21 interceptions from 2017 through 2019. And he was on MVP pace when Alshon and Nelly were at their best in 2017.

Watching Wentz make plays with a bunch of guys off the scrap-heap has been fun, but if he's going to be the quarterback the Eagles want him to be and need him to be, to be the guy to carry this franchise deep into the playoffs, the Eagles had to get him legit weapons.

Now it looks like he’s got them.

And the rest is up to him. 

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