2017 Grade: .556

2017 3rd Down: .803

Week 1 at Washington: The Carson-coaster was open to all ages on the opening Sunday of the season. His exceptionable ability to shrug off would-be-sackers and throw from awkward platforms was on display, but so was his penchant for crippling mistakes. The good plays outweighed the bad, however, especially on third down where he was spectacular.

Week 2 at Kansas City: The growth in Carson Wentz’s game is tangible. The errant throws and erratic decisions still exist, just not as often. His ability to extend and create is coming to be as good as Roethlisberger in his prime. His grit is immeasurable as well – he scrambled for multiple first downs again. He processed things quick, threw with terrific accuracy and made a lot of big plays. His third down numbers have been eye popping through two games – a credit to his ability to survive a formidable pass rush.

Week 3 vs. New York Giants: This is a difficult game to evaluate from a scouting perspective. On one hand, Wentz didn’t make any glaring mistakes, and just five of his 35 drop backs graded negatively. On the other, he executed the close-to-the-chest game plan and put his team in position to win. His only 2-point play was the final throw of the game to set up the 61-yard winning field goal. Wentz had another extremely reliable third down performance.

Week 4 at LA Chargers: This was the best game of Carson Wentz’s young NFL career. His touch and accuracy have never been better, dropping perfect passes over Chargers defenders, directly into the bread basket of his teammates. He showed a total understanding of this offense, and has made it his own (except on one play (GIF below.)) On this play, he gets a basic soft cover-2 shell and has the perfect play for it: two seam-routes to expose the weakness down the middle, Wentz doesn’t process it pre-snap, and forces the ball into coverage.

Still, Wentz has grown a lot in year two. The errors in his game look more correctable now than they did last year. He has been the best quarterback in the NFL on third down in 2017.

Week 5 vs. Arizona: The Carson Coaster we full of excitement on Sunday as his ability to extend plays was on full display (GIF below.) The mistakes were few and far between and Wentz was on-point and in command in this game. He continues to excel on third downs and throwing the football down the field.

Week 6 at Carolina: Wentz gets a lot of credit in this game because the Eagles won a pivotal road game, and are now 5-1, but this game was a struggle for Wentz and the offense. The Eagles only drove the length of the field once and benefitted from some defensive takeaways. Once again, Wentz was absolutely brilliant on third down with some incredible escapes, but his down-to-down accuracy remains an issue. He missed a couple of simple throws in this game.

2016: Pennsylvania Popgun

Debunking the misconception that playing at FCS North Dakota State wasn’t enough of a pre-requisite to orchestrate an NFL offense, Carson Wentz started all 16-games of his rookie-season. The Eagles were so adamant that Wentz could handle the grind of leading an NFL team that the organization traded supposed-starter, Sam Bradford, just a week prior to the season-opener.

At first, the move was divine as Wentz was operating an efficient unit that unhinged defenses affording opportunities for shot-plays – and Wentz was hitting them all.

After the first month and a half of the season, defenses adjusted to the Eagles predictable-offense, started squatting on underneath-routes, disguising pre-snap coverages and sending exotic-blitzes that the former ND State Bison hadn’t seen. As good as he might be pre-snap, he was equally bad post-snap. His failure to recognize mismatches often highlighted missed-targets. In Seattle, he had Darren Sproles one-on-one with KJ Wright on a wheel-route with no safety-help and he checked it down.

With concepts designed to open up underneath-routes and compensate for the loss of right tackle, Lane Johnson, the offense became far too vanilla. Wentz would simply catch, rock and throw the football to a quick stick-route or someone moving horizontally. It is mostly a one-read-offense and Wentz had a tendency to lock on that one target.

Wentz’s mechanics weren’t picturesque to begin with but, as the season wore on, his fundamentals slowly broke-down. Dropping the football perpendicular to the ground, not unlike Blake Bortles, caused his accuracy to wane. In order for the Eagles offense to operate, he had to be flawless on these short and easy-throws. As he started to sail some, misread others and pair a poor completion-percentage with an even worse yards-per-throw rate, the Eagles became stationary.

Within the pocket, the aforementioned description fits Wentz as well. He’s so robotic at times that it almost feels like he was instructed to get to the top of his drop and stay there regardless. He’s an extremely easy sack and lost too many fumbles on glancing blows. There are signs of progress working within the pocket, particularly climbing upward, and it looks like a correctable issue by taking more reps.

What makes the statue impression so strange is the surprising athleticism. Later in the year, he began to escape pressure more and showed a propensity for ducking under sacks and turning positive-plays.

Although Wentz is a smart player with a desire to be great, there are a lot of warts to overcome. Fixing that wind-up and getting his deep-ball back without that unnecessary trajectory he developed would be a good start.

The vast majority of Wentz’s completions were tight-end dumps under the middle-linebacker or quick-screens – he needs to develop the intermediate-game and do it quickly.

Stat Sheet

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