He was among the NFL’s best in virtually every category. Fourth in passer rating. First in touchdown percentage. Eighth in interception percentage. Second in TD-to-INT ratio. He was even third in wins despite missing the last three regular-season games.
So what’s Carson Wentz’s approach going into 2018?
“I think we can improve everywhere,” he said. “Overall, I think we can keep making strides and keep our foot on the gas.”
And that starts with completion percentage.
Wentz completed just 60.2 percent of his passes last year, which ranked 23rd of 30 quarterbacks who threw at least 400 passes.
Ahead of only Blake Bortles, Andy Dalton, Mitch Trubisky, Cam Newton, Trevor Siemian, Jacoby Brissett and DeShone Kizer.
Not the kind of company he wants to keep.
Wentz was so good in every other area he still fashioned a passer rating over 100. In fact, his 101.9 rating was the highest in NFL history by a quarterback completing 60.2 percent of his passes (minimum 400 attempts).
The league average last year was 62 percent. And for the sake of comparison, Nick Foles completed 64.7 percent of his passes if you combine the regular season and postseason.
Wentz dropped from 62.4 percent as a rookie to 60.2 percent last year.
Among 36 active NFL quarterbacks who’ve thrown at least 1,000 passes, Wentz’s 61.5 completion percentage ranks 21st.
“I know I’d like to see my completions go higher,” Wentz said last week. “I think I was right around 60 percent and I expect more out of myself in that area.”
After 2016, Wentz identified red zone and third down as two areas he hoped to improve on.
And he wound up leading the NFL in both red zone efficiency (NFL-best 116.3 passer rating) and third-down efficiency (NFL-best 123.7 rating).
“Third down, red zone, we were really good,” he said. “That’s something we really focused on from Year 1 to Year 2, but we (still) all feel we can definitely improve in those areas.”
Wentz also committed nine fumbles in 13 games, and only Jameis Winston and Russell Wilson had more.
“I think we had too many fumbles,” he said. “Balls on the ground too many times.”
Wentz, now nearly five months out from his knee injury, said he’s used a lot of his extra time at the NovaCare Complex this offseason focusing on what he can improve on in 2018, and one of those things is his upper-body strength.
“With all the extra rehab and not being able to run and do a lot of things early on you’ve really just got to focus on some different things and I got to do a lot of seated throwing and trying to build my arm strength and really take care of my upper body more than I have in the past,” he said.
“It’s been an interesting process not being able to get that true conditioning and that rehab in, but it’s exciting to start easing into the running and conditioning stuff. …
“I feel good. I definitely feel working with the strength guys, we had some friendly competition stuff with the other (injured) guys in there rehabbing and I definitely feel like I’m making some strides in there.”