By Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org
Got no issue with Nick Foles.
No issue with the running backs.
The defensive backfield.
The defensive front.
The offensive front, though … that’s another story.
Has been. For a long, long time. Well before Doug Pederson took over as head coach, Jason Kelce started getting ripped for his lack of girth and Jason Peters began bailing when he didn’t, well, feel like playing.
Sorry, Eagles Nation, but the best your O-line is, even with recent improvements such as Stefen Wisniewski taking over at left guard, happens to be incredibly, undeniably average. Mediocre if you will.
That being, by the way, off an NFL standard.
Off a Super Bowl-caliber standard … uh, yikes.
Look, those of us in the Philly area, as well as those beholden to midnight green all around the globe, have been waiting for a team like this to call our own for, geez, entire lifetimes – be that lifetime of a toddler or some middle-aged man.
This is the best Birds outfit ever seen by the eyes behind these words, and likely the majority of those who happen to focus on Jeffrey Lurie’s franchise on fall Sundays. They truly have become a “gold standard” in short order.
But they are not perfect, and they have one glaring weakness, and it’s that offensive line – a patchwork group of five ever possible to change that has both made Carson Wentz a star and placed him in danger as much as any quarterback in the NFL.
All those wonderful, whirling dervish, “make something outta nothing” scampers to safety, if not first downs, turned in by the second-year savior? Yeah, give a big assist to the guys up front for each and every one. Nice job, fellas. Not exactly Chris Paul-type stuff, but, ya know, you do what you can.
Whatever that is …
Wentz’s ability to cover up the missed blocks, missed assignments and general miscues in front of him was, far and away, his greatest contribution to Pederson’s squad. Passing ain’t gonna be the problem with Foles now taking over the controls from the fallen star. He actually throws a better and more accurate ball – short, long and intermediate – than Wentz.
The most perfect throw by an Eagles QB this season was Foles’ 35-yard, right-in-stride, on-a-stringer to Nelson Agholor against Denver in a brief relief stint last month, and the second-best may have been his first-down game-sealer this past Sunday vs. the Rams to the fellow Pac-12 product.
But, reality is, the backup-to-salvation show just doesn’t possess the same kind of wheels or innate, “holy shit, gotta go” instincts to escape pressure that Wentz does. Heck, Foles doesn’t possess anything remotely close to either.
Which could present a problem. A major one.
Unless the O-line somehow shores up, mans up, whatevers up and starts to perform the way laughably it has been credited with playing.
That happens, this team has a real shot to not only reach the Super Bowl, but win it – regardless of the opposition.
If it doesn’t, well, here’s hoping Wentz’s surgery is a success and he gets back to MVP-style business next fall.
LEAVE WENTZ BE
Yo, got no issue with Carson Wentz going for it on that fateful play Sunday night, either.
It’s the way he plays. It’s what makes him special.
For all those clinging to beliefs that he needs to tone it down, be more careful, protect himself, two words:
You’re not dealing in reality. You're dealing in control freakish, bad-relationship type crap.
The thing that you’re wanting him to change is what has you loving him in the first place. Take that away, he becomes Donovan McNabb on the back half of his career. At best.
Was the same thing with Mike Vick.
There is no “in between” gear that allows for them to be on the field longer, and healthier.
Asking them to slow down, or be more hesitant, or the classic “smarter,” is a recipe for getting them smashed – because it is unnatural to them.
You’re having them think more, putting more on their already full plate … and it’s silly.
A quarterback standing in a collapsing pocket is no more safe that one diving head-first for a first down. Frankly, the case could be made he’s in more danger in the former than latter – like, what do you fear more, a knee injury or a head injury?
Wentz’s tear to his anterior cruciate ligament in the left knee is the ultimate telltale of “shit happens.” It just as easily could have happened on any other snap, or even a step off the place after landing in Los Angeles.
In short, leave the kid alone and, when he comes back, let him be who he is.
Your Eagles will be better off for it.