Has Carson Wentz Regressed?

  • carson wentz
  • Dallas Goedert
  • Miles Sanders
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Zach Ertz
By Max Derringer August 12, 2020 4 Comment
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Carson Wentz has not played like a MVP-candidate the past two seasons, but has the quarterback regressed?

Carson Wentz was having an MVP-caliber season before tearing his ACL in the Week 13 game vs the Los Angeles Rams. Wentz hasn’t quite lived up to those lofty standards since then. Now there is a narrative that Wentz has regressed to a mid-tier quarterback. That narrative is mistaken as Carson Wentz has performed as a top quarterback in the NFL since his 2017 season ended.

To start we will look at his overall stats since the 2018 season:

Starts   W-L   %   CMP    Att  %  Yards   TDs    Ints    Y/A   Rating   Att     Yds     YPC    Tds
27 14-13 51.9% 667 1008   66.2% 7113 48 14 7.1 96.7 96 336 3.5 1

Per Game:

Yds/G   Tds/G   TO/G   TD:TO Ratio
275.9 1.81 1.00 1.81

In terms of general stats among QBs with at least 20 starts since 2018, Carson Wentz ranks:

11th in total completions (4th in per game)
9th in completion percentage
14th in total yards (10th in per game)
14th in total touchdowns (10th in per game)
t-12th in total turnovers (t-14th in per game)
11th in passer rating
7th in TD:INT ratio
12th in TD:TO ratio
8th in bad throw percentage
10th in total air yards (9th in per game)

His overall numbers may not suggest that Wentz is a top quarterback, however, the problem with looking at just the counting stats is that they don’t always give an accurate depiction of quarterback play.
In Carson Wentz’ case these numbers are deceiving and become more impressive when we look at certain factors that impacted his play and also examining the statistical categories where he excelled.

Play-makers

In most cases a quarterback, no matter how good they are, can only be as great as the team around them.

Here is an overview of the offensive talent Wentz has thrown to since 2018:

Receiving
GM   REC     YDS     YPC     TD     REC     Yds     TDs  
TE   Zach Ertz 26 170 1802 10.6 12 6.5 69.3 0.5
WR   Alshon Jeffery 20 92 1032 11.2 9 4.6 51.6 0.5
TE   Dallas Goedert 26 81 857 10.6 9 3.1 33.0 0.3
WR   Nelson Agholor 22 76 834 11.0 4 3.5 37.9 0.2
RB   Miles Sanders 16 50 509 10.2 3 3.1 31.8 0.2
WR   Jordan Matthews 14 22 321 14.6 2 1.6 22.9 0.1
WR Greg   Ward 7 28 254 9.1 1 4.0 36.3 0.1
Rushing
GM CAR YDS YPA TD CAR Yds TDs
RB   Miles Sanders 16 179 818 4.6 3 11.2 51.1 0.2
RB   Jordan Howard 9 119 525 4.4 6 13.2 58.3 0.7
RB   Josh Adams 11 83 412 5.0 2 7.5 37.5 0.2
QB Carson Wentz 27 96 336 3.5 1 3.6 12.4 0.0

Aside from the tight end duo of Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert (and more recently Miles Sanders) the rest of the above list leaves a lot to be desired. The top receivers Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor have battled injuries and general ineffectiveness for the most part.

It is no secret among Philadelphia Eagles fans that the team has lacked explosive plays and dependable deep threats since the 2017 season ended. What is undersold though is just how bad it has been the past 2 seasons.  In both 2018 and 2019 the WR who was supposed to be the speed threat got injured within the first 2 weeks of the season (Mike Wallace in 2018 and DeSean Jackson in 2019)

The injuries to both players injuries severely limited the Eagles offense in each season as there were no other position players who could threaten the defense over top.  Without a deep threat, the defenses were allowed to condense their coverages closer to the line of scrimmage and while the Eagles have great tight ends, they are not field stretchers. The condensed coverages meant smaller throwing windows and less margin of error for Carson Wentz in both 2018 and 2019.

Another consequence of the defenses player closer to the line of scrimmage is that it allows for limited opportunities for explosive plays and the ability to get yards after catch. This was very apparent in 2019 where the Eagles wide receivers and tight ends had the 32nd YAC per reception in the NFL and the 30th lowest yards per target.

  Rec   Rank  Yac   Rank   Yac/R   Rank   Yds/Tgt   Rank
2018 343 4 1415 8 4.13 26 7.78 13
2019 304 5 1022 25 3.40 32 6.53 30
Total 644 3 2437 14 3.78 31 7.15 23

Essentially the Eagles WR and TE groups have been catch and fall down specialists the past two seasons as seen by the fact that collectively they have the 3rd most receptions since 2018 while having the 31st ranked YAC.

It was so bad that PFF graded the Eagles WR group in 2019: 32nd in the NFL in overall grade, in yards per route run, in explosive plays and 29th in deep receiving yards

On top of the general ineffectiveness, the Eagles had the 3rd highest EPA (expected points added) lost on drops in 2019 as well (Source: Anthony Reinhard)

Offensive Line

The Eagles offensive line has been on of best lines in the league for quite some time, but the unit has also regressed from being top of the league in pass blocking to more middle of the league since 2017. ESPN had the Eagles with the 19th best pass block win rate in 2019. and Football Outsiders ranked the Eagles 17th in adjusted sack rate in 2018 and 11th in 2019. Since 2018 the Eagles offensive line ranks in the middle of the league in the following categories:

Among Quarterbacks with at least 20 starts since 2018:

  Total    %    Rank  
Hits 84 8.33% 15
Pressures   263   26.09% 14
Hurries 111 11.01% 13
Sacks 68 6.75% 11

Some of the pressure rate and hit rate can certainly be attributed to Wentz holding onto the football too long on some plays, but according to NFL Next Gen stats Carson Wentz had a time to throw of 2.66 seconds in 2018 (14th) and 2.71 seconds in 2019 (10th) so Wentz is not holding the ball for an excessively long time.

The Eagles offensive line is still one of the best in the league, but the pass locking has not been their strength the past two seasons as their reputation suggests.

The combination of having  bottom tier YAC ability from WR and TE groups, bottom tier wide receiver play, and an offensive line regressing to league average in pass blocking has had an obvious impact on Carson Wentz’ effectiveness and overall counting stats.

Defense

It isn’t just the offense that has regressed since the 2017 season. The defense also has legitimate claim that this is partially due to injuries as they were equally as snake bitten in 2018 as the offense was in 2019.

The defense does not necessarily impact Carson Wentz’ passing performances to the highest degree, but their propensity to allow opposing teams to score quickly has forced the offense to become one dimensional for the majority of in several games.

Since 2018 the Eagles defense has allowed 26 or more points in 40.7% of games Carson Wentz starts. (13th worst)

Eagles defensive ranks compared to the 2017 season:

  2017     2018     2019 
Points Allowed 7 18 15
Pass Yds Allowed 17 31 19
Rush Yds Allowed 1 17 3
Total Yds Allowed 4 29 10
Takeaways 4 25 19
Sacks 16 9 14
Passer Rating Allowed     9 15 19

*2017 & 2018 based on Carson Wentz starts (extrapolated to 16 games)

The good news is that the aforementioned factors have not stopped Carson Wentz from posting impressive numbers in many different statistical categories.

3rd Down

As with his 2017 season, Carson Wentz has excelled on 3rd down in both the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

  Att     1st Downs   %   Rush Att     1st Downs   %   Sacks     Total %  
257 112   43.6%   21 16   76.2%   25 42.2%

Among quarterbacks with 250 or more total 3rd down plays since 2018, Wentz ranks:

  • 8th in passing conversion %
  • 4th in rushing conversion % and in total third down conversion %

Wentz’ passing numbers on 3rd down have also been excellent.

  Cmp     Att   %   Yds     Tds     Int     Y/A     Rtg  
147 257   57.2% 1624 15 1 6.3 93.9

Since 2018 Wentz has ranked (among quarterbacks with at least 200 third down attempts):

  • 10th highest passer rating on 3rd down
  • T-9th in touchdown passes (4th in TDs per game)
  • 2nd best touchdown to interception ratio at 15:1.

It is not just third down where Wentz has been great at converting 1st downs. If you include all downs Wentz ranks 11th in total conversion % at 34.8%.

Red Zone

Carson Wentz has been one of the best red-zone quarterbacks in the NFL since he was drafted in 2016.

Wentz has maintained his excellent red zone play even after the 2017 season.

  Cmp     Att   %   Yds     Tds     Int     Y/A     Rtg  
74 124   59.7% 465 37 1 3.8   103.7

Wentz’ red zone ranks since 2018:

10th in completions
7th in completion %
14th in total yards
T-8th in total touchdowns
T-9th in total turnovers
5th in passer rating
4th in TD:INT Ratio
8th in TD:TO Ratio

Vs Over .500 teams

He has performed well, even if his overall record vs winning teams since 2017 hasn’t been the best.

Starts   W-L   %   CMP    Att  %    Yards   TDs    Ints    Y/A     Rating     Att     Yds     YPC    Tds
11 3-8 27.3% 267 407   65.8%   2766 18 8 6.8 91.8 69 276 4.0 1

Per Game:

  Yds/G   Tds/G   TO/G  TD:TO Ratio
276.5 1.73 1.73 1.00

Among quarterbacks with 350 attempts vs over .500 teams since 2018, Wentz ranks:

6th in completions per game
6th in completion %
14th in yards per game
9th in total touchdowns per game
16th in total turnovers per game
7th in passer rating
5th in TD:INT Ratio
14th TD:TO Ratio

Vs top 10 Pass DVOA

Football Outsiders defines DVOA as “A system that breaks down every single NFL play and compares a team’s performance to a league baseline based on situation in order to determine value over average.”

DVOA is excellent at gauging how well a quarterback played against the top defenses in the NFL.

Carson Wentz has performed at his best against the toughest competition and has performed remarkably well against top 10 defenses the past two seasons.

Starts   W-L    %   CMP    Att   %  Yards    TDs    Ints    Y/A     Rating      Att     Yds     YPC    Tds
7 4-3   57.1% 150  235   63.8%   1688 13 2 7.2 100.1 34 157 4.6 0

Per Game:

Yds/G   Tds/G   TO/G TD:TO Ratio
263.6 1.86 0.71 2.60

Ranks since 2018:

t-13th in completions per game
14th in completion %
7th in yards per game
7th in total touchdowns per game
7th in total turnovers per game
3rd in passer rating
2nd in TD:INT Ratio
7th in TD:TO Ratio

Carson Wentz is one of only three QBs in the NFL with a quarterback rating of over 100 vs top 10 DVOA defenses since 2018 (Patrick Mahomes and Drew Brees are the others)

Wentz somehow remained as impressive as ever in the 2019 season despite the limited team around him.

Starts   W-L   %   CMP    Att   %  Yards   TDs    Ints    Y/A      Rating      Att     Yds     YPC    Tds
5 3-2   60.0% 105  170   61.8%   1091 8 1 6.4 93.5 23 103 4.5 0

Per Game:

  Yds/G   Tds/G   TO/G      TD:TO Ratio
238.8 1.60 0.40 4.00

Wentz’ 2019 ranks:

15th in completions per game
16th in completion %
16th in yards per game
t-10th in total touchdowns per game
3rd in total turnovers per game
3rd in passer rating
t-2nd in TD:INT Ratio
3rd in TD:TO Ratio

Vs top 15 Passing DVOA Defenses

Even increasing the amount of top DVOA defenses to 15, and Wentz would still among the best in the league.

Starts   W-L   %   CMP    Att   %  Yards   TDs    Ints    Y/A   Rating   Att     Yds     YPC    Tds
9 5-4   55.6% 210  319    65.8%   2250 16 5 7.1 96.5 43 180 4.2 0

Per Game:

  Yds/G   Tds/G   TO/G     TD:TO Ratio
270.0 1.78 1.11 1.60

Ranks since 2018:

12th in completions per game
8th in completion %
11th in yards per game
9th in total touchdowns per game
t-16th in total turnovers per game
4th in passer rating
8th in TD:INT Ratio
12th in TD:TO Ratio

General Defense Categories

It does not matter how you determine what a top defense is Carson Wentz ranks in the top 5 in passer rating for each category against top 10 defenses and in the top 7 against top 15 defenses.

Points allowed

  Starts      W-L    %   Cmp     Att   %   Yds     Td     Int       Y/A    Rtg
vs top 10 11 5-6   45.5%   262 398    65.8%   2879 21 4 7.2    100.5
vs top 15 15 7-8 46.7% 355 536   66.2% 3851 25 8 7.2  96.5

Total yards allowed

  Starts      W-L    %   Cmp     Att   %   Yds     Td     Int       Y/A    Rtg
vs top 10 11 5-6   45.5%  259 389   66.6% 2857 18 3 7.3   100.4
vs top 15 15 6-9 40.0% 355 536 66.2% 3884 24 8 7.2 96.8

Passer rating allowed

  Starts      W-L    %   Cmp     Att   %   Yds      Td     Int       Y/A     Rtg
vs top 10 11 6-5   54.5% 262 394   66.5%  2806 20 4 7.1   99.9  
vs top 15 12 7-5 58.3% 279 423 66.0% 2995 21 4 7.1  96.2

Passing yards allowed

  Starts      W-L    %   Cmp     Att   %   Yds     Td     Int       Y/A    Rtg
vs top 10 8 4-4   50.0%  188 284   66.2% 2080 12 2 7.3   98.9
vs top 15 13 6-7 46.1% 311 466 66.7% 3440 24 5 7.4   101.2

Comparing to 2017 Season

In most of the above categories Carson Wentz compares favorably to his 2017 season.

vs Top Defenses

Points allowed

2017 2018-2019
Yds/G % TD/G INT/G Rtg  Yds/G   %  TD/G   INT/G  Rtg
vs top 10 234.5 59.7% 2.0 0.0 100.9 261.7 65.8% 1.9 0.4 100.5
vs top 15 261.6 57.4% 2.3 0.4 95.7 256.7 66.2% 1.7 0.5 96.5

Total yards allowed

2017 2018-2019
Yds/G % TD/G INT/G Rtg  Yds/G   %  TD/G   INT/G  Rtg
vs top 10 224.0 62.6% 3.2 0.2 115.4 259.7 66.2% 1.6 0.3 100.4
vs top 15 243.9 61.5% 2.6 0.3 106.2 258.9 66.7% 1.6 0.5 96.8

Passer rating allowed

2017 2018-2019
Yds/G % TD/G INT/G Rtg  Yds/G   %  TD/G   INT/G  Rtg
vs top 10 291.2 61.9% 2.4 0.8 100.1 255.1  66.5% 1.8 0.4 99.9
vs top 15 299.0 61.5% 2.6 0.9 100.9 249.6 66.0% 1.8 0.3 99.2

Passing yards allowed

2017 2018-2019
Yds/G % TD/G INT/G Rtg  Yds/G   %  TD/G   INT/G  Rtg
vs top 10 265.2 62.6% 2.3 0.5 103.7 260.0  66.2% 1.5 0.3 98.9
vs top 15 261.2 61.5% 2.8 0.6 106.7 264.6 66.7% 1.8 0.4 101.2

vs Over .500 teams

2017 2018-2019
Yds/G   %   TD/G     INT/G     Rtg     Yds/G   %   TD/G     INT/G     Rtg  
267.3   56.4% 2.2 0.5 93.5 251.5   65.8% 1.6 0.7 91.8

 Total down conversion %

2017 2018-2019
Pass Att 1st Downs % Rush Att    1st Downs  % Sacks Total %              .   Pass Att 1st Downs %  Rush Att     1st Downs % Sacks Total %
440 162   36.8% 52 27  51.9% 28  36.3% 1006 372  37.0% 80 30  37.5% 68 34.8%

Red Zone

2017 2018-2019
Cmp   Att   %   Yds     TDs     Ints     Y/A   Rtg            . Cmp   Att   %   Yds     TDs     Ints     Y/A   Rtg
37 57   64.9% 277 23 0 4.9  116.0 74 124   59.7% 465 37 1 3.8 103.7

Conclusion

The narrative surrounding Carson Wentz needs to change.

Carson Wentz’ overall play remains in the the top 10 for quarterbacks. Considering the circumstances, it should be considered impressive for Wentz to rank in the top 10 in most of the above statistical categories.

It is true that Wentz is not without blame for the Eagles inconsistent play. First and foremost Wentz must stop fumbling the football. Aside from the fumbling issues Wentz has inconsistent footwork which can lead to sporadic accuracy issues. Wentz also tends to press and get too aggressive when the team gets behind. Wentz must also learn to protect himself and learn give up when a play is dead.

If Wentz works on those issues he can perform even better and that’s a good thing. The perception around Wentz may be that he is not the quarterback he once was. The reality is that Wentz is a top 10 quarterback with an arrow trending upwards.

The team must stay healthy and the new players must prove effective. Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles can reach new heights if that happens.

To answer the question of has Carson Wentz regressed? The answer is no.

 

(Statistical Sources: Profootballreference.comfootballoustiders.com)


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I cover, report and write about the Philadelphia Eagles.

4 Comments

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Mitch

August 14, 2020

People hate on this man for no reason.... give him some respect!!!!!

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nick

August 14, 2020

Lol wentz is a glass shitbox

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Fabio Roman Jr

August 13, 2020

I didnt read the article at the end so I comment on that his footwork and mechanics aren't great because he hasn't had a good QB coach sinch 2017 we let go most of the guys that helped him and our Quarterback room and offense! It's also on the coaches for coaching him up on always using two hands on the ball and driving that point forward!

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Fabio Roman Jr

August 13, 2020

Trigger Warning! I only like using exclamation marks! 1. Our so called #1 oline last year regressed by giving up quick pressure against three & four man rushes! 2. Injuries at Wr, that limited us at WR and having us play JJ who had a groin injury! 3. The Mike Groh is the worst OC in NFL history forget dallas! We abandoned the run when it worked and only really kept running it against the bills! We also abandon the run down two TD's with a whole half to play! So you know your weak at WR and defenses are playing routes underneath because you're not calling a plays with routes deeper than 7 yards! You don't need good Wr's or speed to stretch a defense deep there are so many routes that you can use with a three step drop! Run the ball once in a while in keep the defense honest to set up the play action and cut the bleeding and prevent sacks,or incomplete passes! 4. We had 11 touchdown drops that were right on the money from Wentz! A ton of 2nd and long drops and 3rd down drops! 5. Our Dline didn't play up to par letting even below average QB's have a field day! 6. Our Linebackers weren't great either! 7. Our CB's and Rodney McLeod especially are trash! 8. Penalties on both offense and defense! 9. Missed tackles on defense! 10. Just watch every throw from Carson Wentz in every game in 2019 and honestly don't think of him as our QB and be unbiased! It wasn't untill Doug took our with around 5 weeks left that we we're better on offense! Look deeper look at the routes run on the field,abandonment of the run,bad oline play, terrible play calling,drops then when we get three and outs we consistently let teams scored they let Wentz down on offense and defense! By the way if you people think Wentz ever had great Wr's you're wrong just in case take the best in 2017 right both Alshon and Agholors best season with us they both had 12 games or more of less than 60 yards some games were even worse! Most of their TD receptions came from Wentz improving to find them open especially Alshon in the redzone or goaline! Smith was only a guy to stretch the field deep he only had 30 reception that year with us and his yards per game atrocious! You can't factor in Ertz and Goedert when they can just put their #1 or #2 CB on Ertz or Goedert or double them!

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