By Rob Maaddi
Doug Pederson isn’t benching Carson Wentz, Jason Peters or Alshon Jeffery.
He’s got one out of three right, though it can’t be his call on the other two.
Wentz shouldn’t be benched because his struggles aren’t solely his fault. That should be obvious to anyone who looks beyond the surface, though most people want to put it all on him.
Wentz certainly has made poor throws and terrible decisions. He also has little help. The offensive line has been a revolving door and hardly gives him time to throw. Of course, everyone complains he holds the ball too long. He has to wait most of the time because receivers aren’t getting open and he can’t throw every pass in the ground.
On one of the few plays he actually had to time to throw against Cleveland, Wentz tossed a 19-yard TD pass to Richard Rodgers. He sat in the pocket, went through his progressions and hit his third option.
Those opportunities have been rare.
As for the receivers, even Wentz haters know how much better he would be and how dynamic the offense would be if D.K. Metcalf and Justin Jefferson were here. Jalen Reagor still might develop but it’s not happening for J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.
Now Travis Fulgham isn’t a sure thing after people wanted to anoint him a Pro Bowler for five games. Fulgham has shown the past two weeks why he was a sixth-round pick who was cut three times. John Hightower, like Reagor, is still learning and isn’t always in the right spot. Greg Ward is what he is. And so on.
That doesn’t absolve Wentz from blame. Again, he must play better. He’s paid to be a franchise quarterback and he has to find a way to get the job done like he did last December with the practice squad around him.
“In this city, the quarterback and the head coach, it’s all about the QB and the head coach,” Doug Pederson said. “Everybody else can almost go by the wayside, I guess. So it’s almost like a two-man band. But there is enough work to be done, as I’ve mentioned, by all positions. Receivers can play better. O-line can play better. … Running backs, we need to hang on to the football. Quarterback needs to play better. Defensively, we have got to get off the field on third down. Got to be able to tackle better. Same way on special teams. Got to be able to tackle in space.
There is enough to go around that none of it is excusable. We all hold each other accountable, coaches and players. That’s why I keep saying that we have a lot to play for. There is a lot of pride here. That’s what we’re going to do.”
Pederson has it right. The Eagles have to let Wentz work through his problems. There’s no benefit to benching him.
But Peters and Jeffery? Different story.
No Myles Garrett for the Browns meant nothing because Peters turned Olivier Vernon into Reggie White. Peters is not part of the future. The organization’s loyalty to Peters is detrimental to the offense.
Jeffery isn’t part of the future, either. He turned a jump ball into a pick by mistiming his jump on his only target. It’s almost as if Jeffery was intentionally trying to sabotage Wentz on the field instead of doing so with anonymous quotes. He played five snaps too many against the Browns.
“Well, right now he is a part of the offense. He’s a part of what we’ve done and the success we’ve had here. He is coming off injury, and we do have to get him in the game a little bit more,” Pederson said.
Sounds like the decision on Peters and Jeffery comes from the top.