NFL

NFL: The Eagles’ Carson Wentz is Underrated and Better Than You Realize in 2019

The Eagles have gotten off to a disappointing start so far in 2019, with a 3-4 record after losing to the Cowboys in Week 7. While people often like to equate a team’s record with how their quarterback is playing, in this case, the slow start isn’t necessarily the passer’s fault. QB Carson Wentz may appear to be having an average season based on his stats, and he’s better than what the box scores show.

Carson Wentz’s 2019 stats to date

Through his first seven games, Wentz has thrown for 1,649 yards and 13 touchdowns, with four interceptions. Those numbers don’t stand out as particularly special, and in fact, they put him in the middle of the pack among all NFL quarterbacks

Wentz is also in the average range in passer rating (92.9), ranking 18th in the league. The stats put him about 40 yards per game behind where he finished last season, when injuries limited him to 11 games. His average number of touchdowns per game is fractionally behind last season’s average.

Digging deeper reveals Carson Wentz’s true performance

Looking at Pro Football Focus’ numbers gives you a better look at a quarterback’s true performance than you might get by looking at the basic box score statistics. Through Week 6, the site ranked Carson Wentz as its second-highest quarterback with a grade of 90.6, putting him just one-tenth behind Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, who is in the conversation to win the MVP award this season. 

Wentz has done an excellent job of limiting the turnover-worthy plays — his 2.9% rate places him ninth among the 32 quarterbacks — and he ranks seventh among quarterbacks in making jaw-dropping, big-time throws, with 6.1% rate. He has also been one of the most precise throwers on plays of 10-plus yards, ranking second behind Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. 

Wentz also performs well when he is under pressure. He is one of three quarterbacks — Wilson and Rodgers are the others — with a passing grade above 70 when pressured. Looking at those numbers that go beyond the box score show that Carson Wentz has been an elite quarterback through the early part of the season.

The Eagles’ offense is for real

The Eagles’ offense has also been anything but average through seven games. In Doug Pederson’s offensive system, the team runs a lot of run-pass options, a balanced attack that usually includes just one running back on the field and a decent amount of play-action. When running out of the play-action, the Eagles are third in expected points added per pass play, and Wentz’s 91.5 is the second-highest passing rating under those conditions. The bottom line is Wentz is thriving in one of the league’s most efficient offenses.

Will the Eagles’ record get better?

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has been better in 2019 than most NFL fans realize.
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. | Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

When it comes to football, the only thing that truly matters for a team is its record because that determines whether the team gets to the playoffs or not. In the Eagles’ case, their 3-4 record needs to get better if they want to remain in the playoff race.

Their upcoming schedule doesn’t look like it’s going to be easy. They visit the Bills, who have a tough defense, then host the Bears, who also have a good defense despite some struggles in recent weeks. 

The Eagles have their bye in Week 10 after the Bears game, and they come back from the bye with two more tough games against the Patriots and Seahawks in back-to-back home games. Looking at that upcoming slate, it appears that things could get worse for the Eagles before getting better, even if Carson Wentz has quietly been one of the league’s better quarterbacks so far this season.