Got nothing left.
Nothing to poke at. Nothing to point out. Nothing to warn about.
Nope. Seven games into his NFL career and Carson Wentz already has checked off all my boxes of concern.
Frankly, remarkably, only two remained entering this, his second season after being taken with the No. 2 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft:
- Ability to throw, and connect, on the long ball.
- Overall passing accuracy since he tended to be high, late or early with too many of his throws for my taste.
Now? Well, now, it’s become comical. With dramatically improved touch, particularly on his shots downfield and intermediate throws, Wentz makes it impossible to legitimately … worry.
He has proven to be so good, so fast that those such as myself who want him to succeed and the Eagles to win but are abundantly cautious, not necessarily for ourselves, but as emotional protectors for those who seem to live and die with the fortunes or misfortunes of Jeffrey Lurie’s franchise, well, even we are now inclined to back off. To not be so knee-jerk reactionary with the warnings, the disclaimers, the worst-case scenario observations.
Thing is, the kid seems to have it all covered.
He has been that damn impressive.
It was obvious from the first snap last season that the Eagles were his team, that he was in control, that he had leeway from the coaching staff to run the offense as he saw fit once he surveyed the defense … all of it in a way that most quarterbacks – be they journeyman or stars – never enjoy in their careers.
Ironically, for all those who downplay Doug Pederson’s role in Wentz’s meteoric rise, who even suggest that the head coach is holding back his signal-calling protégé, the reality is it takes a strong stomach, cast-iron balls and supreme faith for someone, anyone to do what Pederson has.
Which is believe so much in his own judgment that he gives an individual under his watch almost free reign to reach his potential, or – gulp – even exceed it.
You wanna know why Donovan McNabb either is, or comes across as being, so jealous of Wentz nowadays? It’s because the latter is given leeway that the former never was.
Andy Reid put clamps on McNabb’s game that Wentz never has, nor will have, as long as Pederson is his coach.
McNabb ranks among the best 2-3 quarterbacks ever to wear an Eagles jersey. Even most of his detractors would consider he was, indeed, actually the best.
Now Wentz is on the fast track to supplant him, and he has no one holding a clipboard or wearing a headset or making personnel moves placing any obstacles in his path.
Feel for McNabb. But can’t hold that against Wentz.
He’s been given the keys to the car, and he’s driving it incredibly well.
It’s not just the numbers that he put up, say, in a game such as Monday night’s 34-24 victory against Washington at the Linc – and, make no doubt, the 264 yards and four touchdowns passing along with 64 yards rushing were impressive. It’s the way they were achieved.
Some of the Houdini acts he pulled off to avoid pressure and make plays compared favorably to those pulled by Randall Cunningham and McNabb himself, and the 64-yard bomb he dropped picture-perfect, in-stride to a racing Mack Hollins in the second quarter burst the fear balloon for good.
Yo, Eagles fans, you really can let your guard down.
Wentz has this.