Eagles

Why almost everyone is wrong about Eagles' Carson Wentz

Why almost everyone is wrong about Eagles' Carson Wentz

Carson Wentz isn’t playing as well as 2017 or even last year. He’s missed some open guys, made some bad decisions, struggled late in games. He definitely shares some blame in the offense’s inconsistency.

Facts.

Carson Wentz doesn’t suck. He’s not the worst quarterback in the world. The Eagles didn’t screw up giving him a huge contract. He’s not a bust. He’s not an abject failure. He’s not the next coming of Vinny Testaverde.

Facts.

Yes, contrary to popular belief, there is a middle ground when it comes to No. 11.

It’s actually possible to be critical of Wentz without hating him.

It’s actually possible to recognize what he does really well while also acknowledging his shortcomings.

It’s actually possible to accept his strengths without ignoring his weaknesses — or vice versa.

Philly sports fans have crazy strong opinions, and that’s one of the things that makes this the best sports city in the country.

Those opinions can tend to be extreme, and when it comes to Wentz, they almost always are.  

That’s just the way it’s evolved.

Some athletes just seem to engender extreme opinions. Allen Iverson. Donovan McNabb. Ryan Howard. 

Wentz is right there now with them.

Either it’s Wentz can't play or it’s none of this is Wentz's fault.

The reality is that like any devisive topic, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

And that’s OK.

Quarterbacks struggle. They’re human. Even the best ones miss open receivers, have lousy games, have bad years.

Doesn’t mean they can’t play. 

Wentz has missed more open receivers this year than he did in his first three seasons, but he’s also not getting any help. Doug Pederson seems to have lost his magic touch as a play-caller. The running game and offensive line have been up and down. The wide receivers have been atrocious.

And still the guy has 16 touchdown passes and four interceptions.

Wentz doesn’t have an Amari Cooper. He doesn’t even have a Riley Cooper.

The Wentz haters will tell you Nick Foles won a Super Bowl with Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor. The Wentz defenders will point out that Jeffery and Agholor aren’t the same guys they were two years ago.

The Wentz haters will tell you he’s essentially a .500 quarterback over the last two years. The Wentz defenders will point out he has the ninth-most TD passes, 12th-highest completion percentage, ninth-most passing yards and third-best interception ratio in NFL history by a QB in his first 50 games.

The Wentz haters will tell you he’ll never win a Super Bowl. The Wentz defenders will tell you the Eagles never would have been in position to win the Super Bowl if he didn’t go 11-2 in 2017.

And on and on we go.

Remove agendas from the equation? 

You have a quarterback bordering on the elite just entering the prime of his career who’s had a Pro Bowl receiver for one of his 50 career games and threw him a couple 50-yard touchdowns the one chance he got.

And you also have a quarterback who needs to be sharper, needs to be more consistent, needs to be better.

One doesn’t contradict the other. One doesn’t render the other impossible.

Wentz is really good, but he isn’t perfect. 

And if that doesn’t neatly fit with your agenda? Then maybe it’s time to find a new one.

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Eagles choose to sit tight, watch as Brandin Cooks is traded to the Texans

Eagles choose to sit tight, watch as Brandin Cooks is traded to the Texans

Another week, another starting wide receiver changing teams - and the Eagles still remain on the sidelines.

The Rams traded Brandin Cooks and a future fourth-round pick to the Texans on Thursday for the No. 57 pick in this month's NFL Draft, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport:

Cooks, 26, is headed to his fourth team since being drafted by the Saints in 2014, and his third team since 2017.

The Texans' move, of course, comes a little more than three weeks after Houston traded DeAndre Hopkins, a superior wide receiver, to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for basically a second-round pick and running back David Johnson.

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman implied in late March that the Eagles were involved in the Hopkins discussions, but couldn't - or didn't want to - match the Cardinals' offer. It was an interesting argument, considering the Birds' absolutely dire need for wide receiver help, but Roseman isn't one to overpay when he draws a line in the sand. 

It's unclear whether the Eagles were in the mix for Cooks, a player who they've been linked to in previous trade talks.

NBC Sports Philadelphia's Dave Zangaro broke down the pros and cons of a potential Cooks-to-Eagles deal, and concluded that while Roseman should've at least been talking to the Rams about Cooks, trading a second-round pick for a player with concussion history who isn't getting any younger wouldn't be a smart use of capital:

Should they trade away the No. 53 pick for him? No way! Especially not in a draft that’s this deep at receiver. And not for a high-priced player coming off his worst NFL season and who might be one concussion away from the end of his career.

The fact that the Texans' Bill O'Brien, not exactly one of football's most revered decision-makers at the moment, traded the No. 57 pick for Cooks tells that Dave was on the money.

Of course, this leaves the Eagles with one fewer way to fix their wide receiver woes. They are clearly eyeing the draft, where a historically deep wide receiver class should net at least one contributor.

Will it be in the first round? Players like Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs seem like game-changers, but they might not be available without the Eagles trading up. If they don't, guys like Brandon Aiyuk could be available with the second-round pick Roseman just decided to not trade.

And if they wait past the first wave of top-tier wideout talent, there are plenty of names to watch in the later rounds.

One thing's for certain: things are starting to heat up, and that's normally when Roseman starts making moves.

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Sidney Jones: 'You haven't seen nothing yet'

Sidney Jones: 'You haven't seen nothing yet'

“There’s a whole lot left. That’s all I can tell you. You haven’t seen nothing yet," Sidney Jones said Thursday afternoon in an interview. 

Jones is going into his third real season in the NFL. He has gone through injuries. He’s been a healthy scratch.

Howie Roseman said, “It’s time for him to prove it," and Jones agrees.

“Adversity builds character," he said. "I feel like I have weathered the storm. I am ready to show what I can do and prove it."

Jones is working out in Texas with noted defensive backs trainer Ronnie Braxton. They are working on physical and mental techniques. I asked Jones if his confidence has been affected through his ups and downs.

“It probably could have," he said. "I’m not going to lie. But you’ve got to keep pushing through it and that’s where I’m at right now, working with everybody in my circle that’s getting me back right." 

Jones is also working with veteran cornerback Chris Harris, who was just named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team. Jones wishes Harris would’ve signed with the Eagles, but Harris chose the Chargers in free agency. 

“Just to be around guys like that and to watch him and watch his moves and see how they go about their business, I can just follow him and pick up tips," Jones said.

Jones is thrilled the Eagles traded for his “boy” Darius Slay. Jones says having Slay with the cornerback will help him, and he says the two have a similar body type.

“Veteran leadership," he said. "He’s been around the game and has experience. I think it’s going to be really good for us."

Jones said the Eagles did not say anything to him after they traded for Slay. The word is Jones and Avonte Maddox will compete for the other outside cornerback spot, and Jones is ready to compete. 

“I am ready," he said. "I don’t think anybody is working as hard as me right now”

How motivated is he?

“I can’t even describe," he said. "It’s not even on the radar. It’s 1,000 times above that. I’m excited, man.”

Jones and his fiancée donated $25,000 to The Philly Pledge, following Rodney McLeod’s lead. Jones wants to help people in Philly, and wants to stay in Philly.  

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