QUARTERBACK Carson Wentz’s leadership skills are not on trial here. I’m not questioning his ability to lead. So come on down off of that soap box. Don’t even get started. Deep breaths.
NBC’S John Clark wrote a story that I’m going to lift heavily from, because, well you’ll understand when you read it. In it he discusses why the Eagles really cut S Malcolm Jenkins. Check it out:
But I think the biggest factor is changing the dynamic — turning this team over to their franchise quarterback Carson Wentz.
Jenkins was the leader. He was the voice of the team. He broke down the huddles. He was a very powerful voice in the locker room and a commanding and inspirational leader…
But you saw what Wentz was able to do this past season when the offense was ravaged by injuries at receiver down the stretch. “Carson and the kids.” He led them to the playoffs. He was free to be the leader with the younger receivers. They say he inspired them.
I believe the decision to let Jenkins walk is about changing the overall dynamic of this team so this is Wentz’s locker room.
I think it is similar to what the Seahawks did when they allowed Russell Wilson to take over the team and let go of powerful voices like Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Michael Bennett.
This is undoubtedly Wentz’s team now.
We won’t get into how that worked out for the Seahawks. (Didn’t.) What we will discuss, is that at no point did it ever seem like Carson and Malcolm had the team chasing different goals. Both men were active in the community. Both promoted accountability, and didn’t throw teammates under the bus. So it’s seems more like the locker room lost a standard bearer, and a player who led by example.
What I’m questioning is, whether or not the Eagles are invalidating Carson’s leadership, with their artificial attempt to prop it up. Removing other leaders from the locker room, in order to magnify Carson’s voice, could very easily have the opposite effect, and make him look less like a leader, and more like the team’s mouthpiece.
Remember when other Eagles players called QB Donovan McNabb a “Company Man”? It wasn’t a compliment, was it? Being Managment’s guy, didn’t help him lead did it? In fact, it was sort of a barrier between he and his teammates, wasn’t it?
Now let’s take the situation with Carson and WR Alshon Jeffery. If the Eagles brass attempts to solve a rumored interpersonal rift between Carson and Alshon, by removing Alshon, it makes it seem as if Carson couldn’t “handle his own huddle”, and had to tell the teacher. Which makes Carson look like a weak leader. On top of costing Carson his most productive WR.
The locker room damned sure doesn’t need a bunch of suits meddling in their chemistry. The Eagles need to leave Carson’s leadership to Carson. Let the man do his thing.
You know what!? I’ll do you one better! If it’s truly going to be Carson’s team, then let him pick his new WR this year at the NFL Draft! Let the locker room see him wield that kind of juice. (Let Alshon see that.)
In the meantime, we should be about the business of adding strong players, and voices to the team, not subtracting them. Not all players (especially defensive ones) will relate to a QB, and having him as the only voice, risks losing resonance with part(s) of the locker room.
Removing Jenkins like this was bad for Karma. Owner Jeffery Lurie refuses to learn this lesson. This is is Reggie White all over again (11-5 in 1992 to 8-8 in 1993). This is Brian Dawkins all over again (NFC Championship game in 2008 to Wild Card in 2009). This is Terrell Owens all over again (Super Bowl in 2004 to 6-10 in 2005). We always pay for this immediately.
Do you see how we did Jenkins and LT Jason Peters (also a powerful locker room voice)?
We will pay for this in 2020.