By Max Marinelli ‘22, Sports Reporter 10-1-18
As week three of the 2018 NFL Season approaches, Eagles fans hopes are high as Carson Wentz looks to return against the 1-1 Indianapolis Colts. The MVP front runner tore his ACL and LCL in week 13 last year against the Rams. Carson was hit hard in the knee while diving into the endzone when he was sandwiched between Mark Barron and Morgan Fox. Wentz went on to cap off the drive with a touchdown pass breaking the franchise touchdown record in a single season with 33 before leaving the field for what would be over 9 months.
What should Eagles Fans expect from him, and what can he do this season? We believe he will start off slowly, staying in the pocket a lot more than he did last year. The Colts are coming off a crucial win against the Eagles’ division rival Redskins, while the Eagles suffered a crushing loss to “FitzMAGIC” and the Buccaneers. The Eagles are hungry for a win and with Wentz back in the O-line, you can be sure they will be playing their absolute hardest to protect their young quarterback. Perhaps later in the season, he will be comfortable enough to start moving out of the pocket more and make some of the amazing running and juking plays we know and love.
After watching Sunday’s game, our prediction did not exactly hold true. Wentz tried to stay in the pocket but showed his usual confidence on the run and under pressure. In one play alone, he shrugged off two of the Colts defensive linemen in seconds. Wentz played alright but not spectacularly compared to what we witnessed in his MVP performance of 13 games last season. Wentz’s number one receiver, Alshon Jeffery, was out that week still recovering from a rotator cuff surgery after playing through it for a majority of last season. The Eagles, short on a wide receiver, decide to pick up former Eagles draft pick, Free Agent Jordan Mathews. Mathews never made a huge impact in the past and as a skeptical Eagles fan, so I don’t see him making much impact in the future. Wentz’s most successful drive was the first of the game, a beautifully-constructed one in which he used his TE’s like a true veteran to cut through the Colts defense for a TD like a hot knife through butter. This got Eagles fans excited early just to see nothing even resembling this drive for the rest of the game. In fact, the rest of the game was quite ugly on both sides, transforming into a defensive grudge match in which the Eagles went on to stop the Colts on their final drive in the red zone with a minute left, holding on to win a close ugly one 20-16. Although Wentz completed passes to seven different targets in the first half, wide receivers made little to no impact in the game and Wentz was not protected very well by his offensive lineman, a disappointment as they should have been playing harder and better than ever to protect their young quarterback just coming off a season ending injury.
On the brightside, Clement and Smallwood both stepped up running back after Ajayi was listed inactive. Since Ajayi’s future looks like it will never be the same, we will be seeing more of Clement and Smallwood. Sadly Clement was injured and will not start in next week's game at Tennessee. Ertz was still not able to get in done in the game or put up big numbers in my fantasy league. This is not the biggest concern, though, as Wentz’s performance was still a downgrade from last year and the secondary has been playing terribly, seemingly leading the league in Pass Interference. The Eagles are debating trading Foles to teams like the quarterback-desperate 49ers. Yet, I believe we need to keep Foles until Wentz proves himself.