Carson Wentz is making the Philadelphia Eagles look pretty smart right about now. Not only is Wentz shining while Jared Goff is sitting, but he’s also gotten off to one of the best starts by a rookie quarterback in recent memory.
In fact, Pro Football Focus lead analyst Sam Monson believes it’s the best start by a rookie QB over the last 10 years.
“Well, up until this week, I think there was a bit of an asterisk there because Game 1 and Game 2 was against Cleveland and Chicago, and those two teams are going to make a lot of quarterbacks look a lot better than they actually are,” Monson said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “So heading into the Pittsburgh game, it was still a bit of an unknown quantity. But I think (against) Pittsburgh he answered a lot of questions. He still showed some of that excellent poise that we’ve seen. What’s even more encouraging is the Eagles changed the game plan to go up against the Steelers to try and negate some of the stuff they were going to do to confuse him and to get after him and put him in more unfavorite situations. They loaded up with a lot of screens and made his job a lot easier. I think that’s a really encouraging aspect for that team overall this year. They understand that they need to help him out and make his job easier and not just say, ‘Well, he’s had this great start, so let’s let him do everything. Let’s let him carry the load.’ They understand they still need to help him. He’s still a rookie.”
Wentz, who was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week, threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns in Philly’s 34-3 bludgeoning of the Steelers. He has five touchdowns and zero interceptions through three games.
“(We’re seeing) a guy that always had big-time potential,” Monson said. “He had the best arm talent in the draft, I think. He’s clearly an athletic specimen – a real prototype-style, huge, strong, fast, athletic NFL quarterback. And we’re just seeing so far that the negative things people picked up on before the draft just haven’t been big factors, haven’t been enough of a factor for it to make any kind of difference. . . . The Pittsburgh game was really, really encouraging. The first two games, he actually was pretty much without training wheels. He was left to himself. He was throwing deep down the field. He kind of was allowed to run the offense exactly as any other quarterback would do. But as soon as they ran up against a team that they thought would probably be a tougher test in terms of confusing him and disguising coverages and trying to trick him into throws that he shouldn’t make, they dialed it right back.”
Shorter passes. More screens.
“It was a huge departure in the game plan for that game,” Monson said. “I think that’s really encouraging because it shows incredible presence of mind by Doug Pederson to understand when the game is going to be different for hm and when he can let him off the leash.”
The Eagles (3-0), who are on a bye this week, play their next two games on the road: at Detroit (1-2) on Oct. 9 and at Washington (1-2) on Oct. 16.