One year ago no one knew who Carson Wentz was. Today, he’s the talk of the town. The six foot, five-inch quarterback out of North Dakota State has jumped head first into the NFL pond and has made a huge splash. Through his first two career starts, Wentz has posted 468 passing yards, three touchdown passes, and a 94.1 quarterback rating. That’s pretty damn good. On top of these impressive numbers, Wentz also became the fifth quarterback to win his first two starts since the merger. All these numbers backing up Wentz and the hype surrounding him force me to pose the question: Is Carson Wentz the real deal?
The real deal can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. It can be defined and interpreted differently. For me however, the real deal would be defined as a top level quarterback who can lead their team to the playoffs and help them compete for a Super Bowl for the next 10+ years.
Let’s start with the pros when discussing Wentz’s future. He’s 6’ 5” and weighs just under 240 pounds. Although he’s already had some durability issues in college and in the preseason, his body structure indicates that he’ll be able to have a long career as long as he stays inside the pocket and does not take unnecessary hits. On top of his large frame, he’s pretty athletic and has a good arm. He’s proven to be an accurate passer thus far. Perhaps Wentz’s best two attributes that have shined bright early are his ability to deliver passes while under pressure and his intangibles. Wentz is reportedly obsessed with football and this bodes well for his short and long-term success.
There are only two big things to knock Wentz for thus far. The first is the level of competition. Everyone is now aware that Wentz played at North Dakota State. North Dakota State is an NCAA Division I FCS school, also referred to as I-AA. This means that they are in fact ‘D1’ but on a much lower level than the top schools such as Alabama and Ohio State. I don’t take too much stock in Wentz’s college competition. There have been good quarterbacks from small schools and bad quarterbacks from big schools.
Going along with the theme of weaker competition is Wentz’s first two NFL opponents: the Browns and the Bears. To put it nicely, the Browns and the Bears are really bad. The Browns have gone through 25 quarterbacks since 1999 and the Bears heavily overpaid one of the worst quarterbacks in football. So while everyone freaks out about Wentz ringing up these bad teams, please excuse me for telling everyone to pump the breaks. Yes, Wentz played great and yes I’m very excited about the Eagles’ future with him, but let’s not call him Aaron Rodgers just yet.
The second of the two knocks on Wentz is his experience. Obviously Wentz can’t control that he has very little experience; it’s just something that will come with time. Like I said before, Wentz has played very well and done all the right things so far, but this is another case in which we need to pump the breaks. Three hundred and twenty yards, 19-26 passing, 139.9 quarterback rating, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. One hundred and eighty yards, 17-26 passing, 111.1 quarterback rating, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Whose stat lines are those you might ask? The first is Robert Griffin III in his first career start and the second is JaMarcus Russell in his second career start. Russell is out of the league and RGIII looks like he might be joining him soon. This is not to say Carson Wentz will end up like either of these two, but rather it’s to remind everyone that early success doesn’t always coincide with long-term success. The NFL is a different beast. There have been too many times that I have seen a guy look like a stud and fall flat on his face once coaches figured him out. Just pump those breaks.
Back to the question: is Carson Wentz the real deal? My answer is neither yes nor no, but rather I don’t know. Anyone who thinks they do know is fooling themselves. One thing I do know however is that Carson Wentz looks great so far and he has the entire city of Philadelphia, including myself, excited about Eagles football once again.