Donovan McNabb had a lot to say about Carson Wentz’s performance so far this year.
Not much of it positive.
But McNabb doesn’t expect Doug Pederson — who Andy Reid benched for McNabb 21 years ago — to bench Wentz.
McNabb spoke about Wentz Friday on Temple graduate Zach Gelb’s CBS Sports Radio show.
“I am concerned,” McNabb said. “I’m concerned because to me, it seems he’s trying to do too much and he’s trying to put really too much pressure on his shoulders because of the situation around him. And if you watch the games, a couple times holding the football entirely too long, if you’re going to run and scramble and pick up yards, go. Don’t sit and fade and try to wait for people to get open. No, you don’t have the ultimate weapons on the outside to be able to create that much time.”
Wentz, who threw 97 TDs and 35 interceptions in his first four seasons, has 12 of each this year and is ranked at or near the bottom among all NFL starting quarterbacks in every statistical category.
He leads the NFL with both 12 interceptions and 18 turnovers.
“To me, he’s trying to force balls into tight windows or trying to place it in places where he feels his receiver can get it (but) the DB obviously jumps into the lane,” he said. “I would like to see him protect the football more, get back to the on-schedule plays, getting back to 3- and 5-step drops and letting the ball go and trusting his receivers.”
Wentz has turned the ball over at least once in all eight games. The Eagles are 2-1 when Wentz has limited his turnovers to one and 1-3-1 when he’s committed multiple turnovers with the win coming this past Sunday when he turned it over four times against the Cowboys.
After facing the Giants a week from Sunday, the Eagles’ next five opponents — the Browns, Seahawks, Packers, Saints and Cards — are a combined 27-10.
McNabb said he doesn’t think rookie second-round pick Jalen Hurts could play any worse than Wentz but doesn’t think Pederson will make a change.
Pederson was the Eagles’ opening-day quarterback in 1999, McNabb’s rookie season. Pederson started the first nine games of the season with McNabb gradually playing more and more before McNabb took over in Week 10.
“That’s the positive thing about playing in the NFL, you have a long season, and he’s not looking over his shoulders by any means of Doug making a quarterback change, so he’s going to have to fare for himself,” said McNabb, who spent 11 years with the Eagles and retired after the 2011 season.
“He’s going to have to deal with the situation and get it cleaned up and I think this bye week will definitely help him if he can come back kind of refocused and recharged and ready to make a push for the playoffs. And so if he’s able to protect the football a little bit more and convert on third downs and move the chains, then yeah, we’ll start to see a lot change with this offense and really with this football team. But if he continues to play the way he’s been playing, it’s going to be maybe a six-game winning season and that’s not acceptable in Philadelphia.”
McNabb only had one losing season during his 11 years with the Eagles. That was his injury-shortened 2005 season, when he went 4-5.
The Eagles reached the NFL Championship Game in his third, fourth, five, sixth and 10th seasons.
“There’s a lot of key factors in that whole deal,” McNabb said. “He’s your franchise quarterback. He’s their guy, and they’re going to kind of stick with him and they don’t want to make that move. They’ve got two years on his contract (before his dead cap money becomes manageable) … so you better get at least one more year out of him.”
Hurts has only thrown two passes this year, completing both. Nate Sudfeld has been the Eagles’ No. 3 quarterback since Week 2.
“Would it be a move that if Jalen Hurts got in there they would they lose anything at this particular point? I don’t know if they lose anything,” McNabb said. “I don’t think they gain much, but Jalen Hurts would be able to gain experience and then they could kind of build around him. But Carson Wentz is their guy and he should be their guy, but he’s just going to have to refocus and recharge to get this thing turned around.”