The crucial next step for Carson Wentz and the Eagles

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Reuben Frank
·4 min read
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The crucial next step for Carson and the Eagles originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Before they trade him, before they give up on him, before they decide to go in a different direction, there’s one thing the Eagles need to do.

Try and make it work.

If things really are irrevocably broken between the Eagles and Carson Wentz, then, sure, there’s no reason for him to be here.

But before the Eagles unload the second pick in the 2016 draft, they need to do everything they can to repair whatever damage has been done between Wentz and Doug Pederson. 

Because terrible year or not, the Eagles’ best chance to be an elite team in 2021 is still with No. 11 behind center.

I don’t buy that this can’t be fixed, and it would benefit both Wentz and the Eagles if they can resolve whatever is going on between them. 

I get that Wentz is upset and disappointed and frustrated, but quarterbacks have been getting benched for decades and it doesn’t necessarily mean they need to go to another team to find themselves.

Wentz had tremendous success from 2017 through 2019 playing for Doug Pederson, playing in Pederson’s offense. Yes, Frank Reich was offensive coordinator in 2017 when he had his best year, and Reich is a terrific coach and his impact on Wentz’s development can’t be discounted. But Pederson is the one who was calling the plays Wentz was running during the Super Bowl run, and Reich was gone in 2018 and 2019, when Wentz threw 48 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, completed 66 percent of his passes and had a 96.7 passer rating.

There were definitely times this year where it seemed like Pederson and Wentz weren’t gelling the way a quarterback and play caller should. The chemistry wasn’t there. Pederson just didn’t seem to “get” Wentz the way he got Nick Foles or even Jalen Hurts at times. That’s undeniable.

But there’s enough of a history between the two of them that 11 1/2 difficult games shouldn’t render four excellent years meaningless.

Heck, it’s fair to assume that without Pederson, Wentz may never have warranted that very $128 million contract that makes it so difficult to trade him now.

I understand why Wentz is frustrated. He was going out there week after week with lame wide receivers, terrible offensive lines and a play caller who refused to run the ball.

But I also understand why Pederson is frustrated. Wentz made too many rookies mistakes, missed open receivers, took sacks instead of throwing the ball away, turned the ball over at too many critical moments.

Generally, the solution - not just in football but in all walks of life - when there’s a communication breakdown is to communicate.

Pederson and Wentz need to sit down over the next few weeks and have an honest conversation about what went wrong and why. They need to listen to each other in a way that maybe hasn’t been easy these past five months with virtual meetings, remote coaching and minimal face-to-face time. 

Does Wentz really want to go somewhere else and start over with a new team? Do the Eagles really want to start over with a new quarterback?

Maybe this is all beyond fixable. Maybe somehow what was such a healthy and productive working relationship a year ago has truly become irreparable. It does happen. Sometimes people do need a fresh start, the proverbial change of scenery. Maybe getting benched really damaged Wentz’s trust in Pederson so much that he truly can no longer play here. Maybe he just has no faith in the front office to build a competitive team around him.

But there’s so much at stake here for both sides there’s no reason not to try. 

There’s no rush here. There’s time to sort this out. Teams can’t trade players anyway until the start of the new league year in mid-March. The Eagles have to pay Wentz a $10 million bonus if he’s still on the roster two days later. 

So there’s time to step away, let cooler heads prevail for a couple weeks, then get to work having an honest conversation about what’s best for the Eagles and what’s best for Wentz.

Amazing things can happen when people talk and listen and understand and work together.

Wars can be averted. Treaties can be negotiated. Legislation can be passed. The Eagles might even get their quarterback back.

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