Doug Pederson has made it pretty clear that he isn’t planning on benching Carson Wentz before or during a game anytime soon.
But there might be some value in sitting Wentz if he ever wanted to consider it.
Speaking with NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark this week, even Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner, when asked, said he thinks sitting Wentz might be able to take some pressure off of him.
“Do I think there can be some value in stepping away? No doubt,” Warner said in an interview that will run in its entirety on NBC10 on Sunday night during Gameday Final after Sunday Night Football and on NBC Sports Philadelphia on Monday during Eagles Pregame Live.
“Taking Carson off the field so he can eliminate some of the pressure he’s probably feeling and the things that he’s probably hearing from everybody, yeah, that could possibly be a help. At the same time, if they take him off the field, now does that pressure of ‘oh, I got benched’ how does that mesh with the personality of Carson Wentz?”
Warner pointed out what the Dolphins did this past weekend with Tua Tagovailoa. They pulled him for Ryan Fitzpatrick in the fourth quarter against the Broncos but then quickly made sure everyone understood that he was still their starting quarterback.
And Warner even recalled an instance during his time with the Giants when a rookie Eli Manning was struggling and Tom Coughlin went to him. But then Coughlin made sure everyone knew Manning was still the starter.
Of course, this situation is different because Wentz is an established quarterback and the guy who would replace him is a second-round rookie.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong if Carson is struggling in a game to pull him out, put him on the sidelines, get that pressure off of him, put in another guy,” Warner said. “Put in Jalen Hurts or whoever that is to play. But you have to be ready for what comes with that and I think most coaches are afraid of what comes with that if the backup goes in and plays well. Well now what? Well, Carson is still our guy, Tua’s still our guy. Just thought Fitz had a chance to win that game for us so we went that route.”
But let’s forget all that for a moment because Pederson has said he isn’t benching Wentz. The next question is about how to fix him.
Warner looked back at Wentz’s 2017 season, when everything was going well, and noticed that Wentz was especially good on third-and-longs, situations where most teams don’t convert at a high rate. Right now, he sees Wentz as a guy who is trying to make spectacular plays but those plays aren’t happening.
While Wentz hasn’t been good at all this season, it’s also worth noting that the offensive line in front of him hasn’t played very well at times and his skill position players have been in and out of the lineup and the Eagles are relying on some young players this year.
For all that, Warner had one bit of advice:
“It’s the really hard part of playing this position in this business,” he said. “You gotta trust guys and you gotta expect everybody else to do their job just like you have to do your job. When you start trying to do everybody else’s job, it’s not a good thing. Or when you start second-guessing if other guys are going to do their job, it’s not a good thing. So I think it’s safe to say that there’s a little bit of hesitation in Carson or a little bit of confusion with Carson that leads to some of these mistakes.
“And he’s gotta be able to clean that up and he’s gotta be able to be more efficient and he’s gotta make more of the layup throws, that I call them. Certain plays you gotta make. Certain throws you just gotta make most of the time. We’ve gotta see more of that from Carson and then less taking chances and we’ll see. I think we know he can play at a high level.
“I don’t look at him physically and say he got beat up, he had the injury and now he can’t play. I do think it’s as much mental as anything on top of some of the physical things we talked about with his technique. But they’ve gotta fight their way out of it and that becomes the hard part. OK, we’re here. How do we fight our way out of this, whether I’m a play caller or a quarterback to make more of those layups and building our confidence back up so we get to the point where we’re having an effectiveness and then we can add those extra plays.”
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