Eagles

The dumbest criticisms of Carson Wentz, ranked

The dumbest criticisms of Carson Wentz, ranked

Carson Wentz just guided the Eagles to a win over Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, where Rodgers wins about 80 percent of the time, on a short week, with numerous injuries in his receiving corps and a defense that could make Kevin Kolb look like a Hall of Famer.

Yet, no doubt, some Eagles fans will find a way to denigrate Wentz’s performance while leading the offense to 34 points on Thursday. After all, he “only” completed 59 percent of his passes and threw for 160 yards while averaging 5.9 yards per attempt, which are hardly elite numbers.

Well, haters, I hate to burst your bubble, but this entire debate over Wentz’s supposed non-greatness is pure nonsense. Time to poke holes in some of these petty criticisms of the franchise quarterback.

5. Wentz is injury prone

Sure, there’s a modicum of truth to this. Wentz has dealt with several injuries in his four-year NFL career already and even going back to college.

We could debate under which circumstances an athlete has earned the “injury prone” label, only there’s no need to here. The quarterback Wentz’s most vocal critics wanted is on the shelf right now.

I take no pleasure in Nick Foles’ misfortune, but the reality is he’s been injured every time he’s had a chance to be a starter. Literally. In 2013, it was a concussion. In 2014, collarbone. In 2015, concussion. In 2019, collarbone. Heck, an elbow injury limited Foles throughout the Eagles’ Super Bowl championship season, and even caused him to consider retirement.

Yes, Wentz has been hurt. Drew Brees, Cam Newton and Ben Roethlisberger are hurt right now. The injury rate in the NFL is 100 percent. There does come a point when a player is just injury prone and that’s all there is to it – Sam Bradford springs to mind, and you could argue Foles.

Wentz isn’t there yet.

4. Wentz takes too many hits/is reckless

One of the legitimate flaws in Wentz’s game has been a tendency to hold on to the football too long and take sacks, unnecessary hits or attempt risky, desperation passes just to get rid of it. Occasionally, he needs to check it down or give up on a play and throw it away.

But now, because Wentz had these injuries, there’s been a sharp over-correction in the attitude about his overall style of play. Every time he lunges for a first down or takes any hit at all in service of playing the position of quarterback, it’s deemed reckless.

First of all, it’s not as if Wentz has taken an inordinate number of shots this season. Through four games, he’s been hit 22 times – so about five or six per game – and 10 of those were by the Falcons, who did a good job keeping the Eagles’ offensive line on their heels.

More to the point, Wentz is 6-foot-5 with 4.7 speed. Eluding would-be sackers and extending plays with his legs is part of what makes him so special, and you can’t expect a guy who is trying like hell to win to just shut off his instincts. Obviously, he can’t throw caution to the wind, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with scrambling to keep plays alive or diving for a first down, for example.

3. Josh McCown led the offense right down the field!

This one makes a legitimate case for dumbest simply because even a cursory glance at the stats will tell you McCown didn’t do anything special on that fateful partial-series.

Week 2 in Atlanta, Wentz spent some time in the concussion protocol (not out with a legitimate injury), and everybody’s favorite player – the backup quarterback – suddenly got the chains moving for a stagnant offense that managed three points in the game’s first 29 minutes.

McCown started with a couple dump-off passes to Miles Sanders to pick up a first down, then on 3rd-and-6, hit Zach Ertz over the middle for his only legitimate non-check down completion before Wentz returned. The 17-year veteran was 3-of-5 for 24 yards with a 4.8 average per attempt while moving the Eagles into field goal range.

It was fine, and the Eagles are fortunate to have a competent backup who can keep the ship afloat. McCown was also asked to make some simple throws on that series, and by and large, an offense predicated on dinking and dunking its way down field will have trouble sustaining success.

At the very least, it wasn’t enough of a body of work to draw any real conclusions about a McCown-led offense. However, mostly it’s silly to assess a couple of dump-offs and one third down conversion as superior quarterbacking.

2. Wentz “misses some throws”

Every week, Wentz misses some throws. Yep, Wentz missed some throws on Thursday. Missed some throws last week, too. It seems every single game, he has some overthrows, some ducks or just doesn’t see a wide-open receiver.

Why can’t Wentz be more like Tom Brady? That guy has six rings for a reason – a career 100-percent completion rate.

Wait. You mean Brady throws incompletions? Every week you say? Huh.

Watch any NFL game. These guys all miss throws for one reason or another. Drew Brees is literally the most accurate passer in NFL history, and he misses his talented, All-Pro wideout Mike Thomas plenty. None of these guys are perfect, but if you watch enough football, you’ll see every QB sail passes, throw a couple into the turf, let loose at least one wobbler and not target that wide-open receiver you managed to spot from the luxury of your nosebleed seats 150 feet in the air.

That’s not to say Wentz couldn’t be sharper. He’s only completed 60.7 percent of his passes this season. Then again, in 2018, he completed 69.6 percent, which was third in the league, so he certainly has that in him.

1. Wentz isn’t as good as people think he is

Since returning from a torn ACL suffered during his MVP-caliber 2017, Wentz only has a 7-8 record as a starter. And prior to Thursday’s win, he guided the Eagles to back-to-back gut-wrenching losses in which the offense started slow and fell behind early.

To which I say there’s only so much the guy can do.

Wentz was never completely healthy in 2018, between rehabbing the knee and then the back. Yet he still managed to set career highs for completion percentage, yards per attempt and passer rating. And Weeks 2 and 3 of this season, he was without Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and Dallas Goedert – literally the majority of his receiving corps – and had to endure 10 drops from their backups.

Even then, he put the game-winning touchdown in his receivers’ hands in both losses.

When Wentz is healthy and his supporting cast just hangs on to the ball, he’s one of the bright, young quarterbacks in the sport. Again, go back to ’17. Foles might’ve won the Super Bowl, but they had a bye and home field in the playoffs because of Wentz.

There’s room for improvement. Wentz is also 26 and in his fourth season and far from a finished product – and still undeniably in the top-10 quarterbacks you’d choose to build a team around right now. Peyton Manning wasn’t Peyton Manning at this stage of his career, either.

Maybe stop trying to find reasons why he’s going to fail and embrace the fact that, whatever his ceiling, wherever he falls in the quarterback rankings right now, Wentz is really, really good.

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Jeff Lurie's production company announces Hitler documentary

Jeff Lurie's production company announces Hitler documentary

The timing is a coincidence. But it's a fascinating coincidence.

On Thursday afternoon, just days after Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson was condemned by the team for sharing "appalling" social media posts citing quotes he thought were from Hitler, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie’s new film production company announced the completion of a documentary, “The Meaning of Hitler.”

A release from Cinetic Media and Play/Action Pictures, a documentary film production company founded by Lurie, described the movie as “a provocative interrogation of our culture’s fascination with Hitler and Nazism set against the backdrop of the current rise of white supremacy, the normalization of antisemitism, and the weaponization of history itself.”

The movie has been in production for three years, the announcement of the film was planned several weeks ago, and the timing is a total coincidence. 

But the fact that Lurie, who is Jewish, has been working on this project for several years does give us an idea of how important this topic is to him and gives us a sense of how hurtful Jackson’s actions must have been to him.

The film is based on the award-winning 1978 book, “The Meaning of Hitler,” by Raimund Pretzel, who wrote under the pseudonym Sebastien Haffner. The book won several international awards, including the Wingate Literary Prize.

Lurie is listed as co-executive producer of the film along with Marie Therese Guirgis, who won the 2018 DuPont Award for Documentary Feature for On Her Shoulders.

Before he bought the Eagles in 1994, Lurie produced several movies, including Sweet Hearts Dance, I Love you to Death and V.I. Warshawksi. He’s won two Academy Awards - one as executive producer of Inside Job, which won Best Documentary in 2011, and another as executive producer of Inocente, which won Best Documentary Short Film in 2013.

According to the release from Lurie’s production company, the film took three years to produce and was filmed in nine countries. It was directed by Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker, who produced a series of acclaimed documentaries about the Iraqi war, and features contributions from numerous noted historians.

“As fears of authoritarianism and fascism now abound, the film explores the myths and misconceptions of our understanding of the past, and the difficult process of coming to terms with it at a time in our history when it seems more urgent than ever,” the release states.

“We couldn't be prouder that The Meaning of Hitler is the first completed film made by our new documentary production company, Play/Action Pictures,” Lurie said in a statement. “I envisioned Play/Action to be a leading creative force for films that engage with the most crucial and challenging issues of our time. The rise of white supremacy and neo-fascism in the United States and the world over are among the most important and serious threats we face today."

Lurie’s company is currently working on three other documentaries, including “Black Woodstock,” directed by Philly native Questlove (Ahmir Khalib Thompson), an author, movie producer and drummer in the Roots.

The press release from Lurie’s production company does not mention Jackson.

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NFL rumors: League's nonsensical jersey rule rightly clowned by star players

NFL rumors: League's nonsensical jersey rule rightly clowned by star players

Pro sports leagues are trying to find ways to safely play games and entertain fans amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which is obviously a tough and tall task.

But the NFL's latest proposed measure missed the mark... completely.

The league is looking to ban the popular post-game jersey swap tradition, according to NFL.com, as a proposed safety measure:

Under proposed NFL-NFLPA game-day protocols, teams would be forbidden from interactions within six feet of each other following games, and jersey exchanges between players would be prohibited, per sources informed of the situation.

If you think that sounds like a total waste of a rule, after the teams are engaged in hand-to-hand action for three hours, you're not alone.

Why the NFL feels the need to distance players after allowing them to breathe, sweat, and bleed on each other during a game is unclear. The league didn't provide an explanation.

Probably because there isn't one.

These are uncharted waters for sports leagues, and mistakes will be made, but sometimes it helps to just use common sense.

A few Eagles players were quick to point out the seeming absurdity of the rule on Twitter:

And a couple other star players from around the league chimed in as well:

Interestingly, NFL.com's Kevin Patra included this qualifier at the end of his story about the ban:

The proposed protocols are set to be in effect during any preseason action, if agreed to. As are all things during the pandemic, they're subject to change as the science, data and situations develop.

That sounds like the league already setting itself up to change the rule down the line, considering the initial reception from players. 

We'll see if it lasts an entire season.

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