Philadelphia Eagles: Carson Wentz owns franchise

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 10: Quarterback Carson Wentz
LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 10: Quarterback Carson Wentz /

Now in his second year in the NFL, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz controls the present and the future.

Week one of the 2017 NFL regular season showed the Philadelphia Eagles one thing. The performance displayed by second-year quarterback Carson Wentz showed that the rookie’s learning curve is passing. The opening-day victory over the Washington Redskins illustrated that Wentz has turned the corner, and he’s ready to move the Eagles towards contention in the NFC East.

Yes, there’s still rigid competition from the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants in this potent division, but if you’re going to move from mediocre to contender, you have to have a franchise face at the quarterback position.

The first points of the season scored by the Philadelphia Eagles tell us all we need to know, at least in terms of where Wentz is in his development.

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The play of the week:

With no points on the board and just a few minutes off of the clock in the first quarter, Wentz faced a 3rd and 12 from his own 42-yard line. He had just been sacked on the play prior, resulting in a two-yard loss on 2nd and 10. Getting a first down should have been the priority for Wentz, and I’m sure it was.

Why go for just the necessary 12 yards when there might be 20 or more available? What if there’s 58 yards available and  the possibility of scoring a touchdown?

Wentz was harassed by the Washington defensive front when, otherwise, good pass protection broke down. The fact that Wentz didn’t simply fire away from inside a nice pocket showed tremendous maturity. Most quarterbacks just starting their second year might go ahead and gamble a bit. That could, likely, lead to an incompletion or worse.

Wentz felt the pressure coming as the pocket broke down. Then, there was one defender flying by and then another – and still another. Leaving the pocket under duress, Wentz managed to stay on his feet while somehow keeping his eyes downfield in locating home-grown former first-round pick Nelson Agholor wide open with only Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger trying frantically to get to the pass in time.

Agholor leaped up to catch the pass, broke Swearinger’s arm tackle and scampered the remaining 20 yards for the season-opening score.

No, you don’t win a game with just one play, early or late. Seeing this from Wentz and Agholor early merely set the tone for how the Redskins would have to play Philadelphia’s franchise quarterback for the duration of the opener.

From year one to year two:

Wentz threw for 3,782 yards last season while completing 62.4 percent of his pass attempts. His defense gave up more than four yards per rushing attempt. In week one, obviously a small sample size, Wentz completed 66.7 percent of his throws along with a defense that gave up just 3.8 yards per carry against Washington.

A true test comes on Sunday in the form of the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Fresh off of an opening night upset in New England against the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots, Wentz will need to bring his ‘A Game’ – but this includes the entire Philadelphia Eagles roster. The Chiefs, like every other team, are beatable in today’s watered-down and average NFL. Still, if Wentz is who we think he is, his performance will play the greatest role in determining whether or not September sees a 2-0 record for the Eagles, or an average 1-1 start.