Wentz must abandon football for two weeks, for the Eagles' sake
The PGA Tour competed in Bermuda this weekend. It looked beautiful. White-sand beaches. Azure waters. Warm sea breezes and rum runners. The kind of place you’d visit to forget your troubles and escape your worries on, say, a bye week.
Carson Wentz should hop on the next flight. Because if anybody ever needed a vacation, it’s Wentz.
His job is simply overwhelming him. It’s too much. He has to reset his mind. So: No football for a week.
Cut his cable. Block his signal. Total gridiron silence.
Wentz, the fifth-year starter from North Dakota State, committed four more turnovers in the first 31 minutes of the Philadelphia Eagles’ 23-9 win over the visiting, pathetic Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. He lost two fumbles and threw two interceptions, which put him at 16 giveaways in eight games in 2020, which are two turnovers more than he had in 16 games last season. Wentz’s four lost fumbles and 12 interceptions this season both lead the NFL.
Wanna get away?
Wentz is becoming the Russell Westbrook of the NFL. He’s an elite athlete who runs the team and makes brilliant plays, but his repeated, killer mistakes diminish his value and, ultimately, cost you wins.
“Gotta be better,” Wentz said, for the 35th time this season. "It’s definitely needed, for everybody to take some time off. It’s a long season, and with everything going on ... "
Indeed, between social justice initiatives and COVID-19 and a shortened training camp with no preseason, the world is spinning for most 27-year-olds with new marriages and young children. It must be dizzying for the quarterback in the least patient, most football-rabid city in America. Prescription: Decompression.
At halftime, when Wentz had only three turnovers and the Cowboys led 9-7, Eagles coach Doug Pederson admitted that Wentz was pressing. Again.
Which is understandable, even for a fifth-year player making $128 million and one who has made a Pro Bowl. He’s finally the unquestioned leader of the team after leaning on Malcolm Jenkins to do that job for four years. He’s missed the biggest games of the year the past three seasons due to injury, and in two of those seasons, Nick Foles succeeded in his absence. Wentz has to pass a statue of Foles' finest hour, in Super Bowl LII, every time he plays at Lincoln Financial Field.
No excuses, Pederson said:
“We can’t keep turning the ball over. Bottom line.”
There’s a lot of pressure in Carson Wentz’s world.
Wanna get away?
Leaving home is always complicated. He’s got a toddler at home. Travel is a chancy proposition in the middle of a pandemic. But desperate times require desperate measures.
Is there another healthy player executing as inconsistently as Wentz? Maybe Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, but he only touches the ball 20 times a game, and even that’s negotiable. The only way to negotiate fewer touches for Wentz is by giving more touches to that second-round rookie, Jalen Hurts, and, at 3-4-1 and in first place in the NFC East, we’re not there.
The Eagles entered as a two-win team because of Wentz. He won them the two they won, and he cost them dearly in four of the other five. Why?
Maybe it’s his porous, inexperienced offensive line, gutted by injury. Maybe it’s a lack of familiarity with a group of young receivers who also have been forced into service because veterans Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson remain infirm. Maybe not enough is made of the repeated absences of featured running back Miles Sanders, who has been present for about 4 1/2 games. Maybe Pederson no longer can figure the proper formula of play calls to maximize Wentz’s gifts.
But let’s be real.
He’s been sacked 32 times and he’s been hit more than any other passer, but for every sack and hit the line gives up, Wentz either holds the ball too long or misses a hot read on a blitz -- sins that led to both of his first-half fumbles Sunday night.
And, for every bad route, bad drop, or instance of bad luck, of which there have been plenty, Wentz throws a bad ball.
He missed rookie Jalen Reagor rolling right near the end of the first half for his first interception. Wentz is usually brilliant rolling right. He’s made the two signature throws of his career rolling right and hitting running backs in the end zone.
Wentz overthrew rookie John Hightower to start the second half for his second interception.
It seemed inevitable that Wentz would continue the meltdown. He didn’t. He’s too mentally tough. He’s too physically talented.
Wentz drove the Eagles 58 yards in eight plays that finished with a 9-yard scramble and a 9-yard dewdrop to Travis Fulgham, then tossed a two-point pass, to make it 15-9.
More than anything, though, the Cowboys were just too godawful lousy to let Wentz lose.
Their patchwork offensive line, their third-string quarterback, and their listless demeanor gave them little chance. By the time they snapped the ball out of the end zone with four minutes to play, they had converted just two of 13 third downs, and quarterback Ben DiNucci had lost two fumbles. They arrived defeated and proceeded to present an utter clown show. Mike McCarthy and coordinator holdover Kellen Moore scripted a series of plays straight out of an Andy Reid fever dream, circa 2001.
So, for the second consecutive game, Wentz faced competition too feeble to capitalize on his horrific play. The Giants were just as bad. After these two games, he’s gotta get away.
OK, maybe Bermuda isn’t the right destination.
Maybe he just needs to find a duck blind near his home in South Jersey, take his dog out at dawn, and huddle there in his waders with his shotgun and a couple of beers.
No razor. No haircut.
See ya in two weeks, Ginger Jesus.