LET’S cut to the chase. Eagles fans are itching to find out if we have a star in rookie QB Carson Wentz. This Sunday he will make his first pro start, here at home. He will not sit on the bench and learn from watching a veteran. He is receiving a trial by fire which will either forge him, or destroy him.
If Wentz looks great Sunday, Head Coach Doug Pedereson and his staff will look like geniuses. Some would write Wentz’s success off as “facing a bad team”. Still others would give him extra credit for looking great in his first start. The truth is dangerously somewhere in the middle.
The truth is that there is no going back on this decision. This season has to belong to Wentz, regardless of how he looks. He won’t be outplayed by the other, less talented QB on the roster, so benching him at any point would hold no opportunity for him to learn from the experience. It would be one thing to start the other QB and then at some later point, let Wentz play the savior. However, to anoint the savior and then bench him for the water boy…? That can serve no good purpose.
So Wentz is going to need a lot of help out there this week. While many want to put this game on his shoulders, that’s not where it truly belongs. So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to look for, Week 1 versus the BROWNS:
1) The Defense we saw this preseason needs to show up this week. Under QB Sam Bradford this preseason, the Offense looked composed. It wasn’t explosive, but it wasn’t nearly as dreadful as people were making it out to be after the first game. That said, there is no telling how it will look under Wentz given his limited play this preseason. The Defense will likely have to carry us.
2) A large dose of the run. Running the ball will be our bread and butter in 2016. Not only because it takes pressure off the QB, and sets up the pass, but because it will allow the Defense to get rest and remain effective all year long.
3) Lots of WR Jordan Matthews.
If the coaching staff insists on playing him in the slot, they should find ways to get the ball into his hands. Running some isolation routes against a LB early, would force Cleveland to replace the LB with a DB, making it easier for us to run later in the game. This is simple stuff folks. This is Football 098 stuff. Lets see if the coaching staff can get this done.
4) A few deep throws to Dorial Green-Beckham. By a few I mean 3 or 4, not 1 or 2; and frankly I don’t care if he catches a single one of them. The idea of those passes is to scare the living shit out of upcoming opposing coaching staffs. Make them plan for that in their base. That will open up room inside for the run, which as I said before, is our bread and butter. (See how this all fits and how each piece complements the others?)
This week is not really about Carson Wentz. This week is about getting the team to rally around him. If he can get the space to let the game come to him, we might have a franchise QB on our hands. If at some point in this game he has to make THE play, he may be able to do so. However, if the ship falls apart around him, he will drown with everyone else.