The Eagles made a decision and informed the media that they plan to keep Carson Wentz inactive on Sundays, so there is little opportunity that he would be required to fill in for an injured Sam Bradford if need be. Is letting him develop for a year or two the right move by the Eagles front office?
When one takes a look around the top-tier teams in the NFL right now, there are an abundance of characteristics that they possess, which allow them to consistently make the playoffs year after year. This winning “formula” boils down to the main component; do they have a Quarterback? While this is not the only factor, it is surely the most important. The NFL has slowly become a passing league over the past decade, where Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers are the most impactful players on the field when it comes to winning games. So, if the Quarterback position is vital to the success of a franchise, why would a team like the Eagles rush to throw Carson Wentz, a rookie QB without many question marks remaining, into the chaotic battlefield between the hashes? Historically speaking, how successful are teams who decide to sit a rookie QB?
When talented Quarterbacks are drafted with a high pick in the first round, they are usually looked upon as a savior figure for the franchise. Teams who are drafting that high tend to have had struggling seasons in the past year or two and are desperately searching for an answer at QB. Nothing has worked so far in terms of the position and they feel that drafting a QB is the necessary step to further the franchise towards winning a championship. The problem is that the expectations on these rookies are insane; they are expected to come into a difficult league and succeed at the highest level and win games. Many people forget though, that the QB position is not the only position that is going to win games, it takes all twenty two players to collaborate collectively towards a team win. It comes back to the point, where the teams who are taking a QB with a high draft pick have a higher chance that they don’t have a large amount of talent surrounding him, which gives the rookie much less of opportunity to succeed right off the bat.
On the other hand, a different practice in the NFL is drafting a QB and allowing him to sit for a year or two to develop while learning from a veteran above him. Looking around the NFL, many of the top Quarter Backs have been through this exact practice. Aaron Rodgers sat behind Farve, Rivers behind Brees, Brady behind Drew Bledsoe, and the list go on. It’s an effective strategy, because it lets the Quarterback develop, learn from another Veteran QB, and develop chemistry with the team which will eventually help them become a leader in the locker room.
While the “sit and wait” strategy is historically proven to be the more successful route, then why is it that teams continue to go the other way and put them in day one. It all comes down to patience and media attention. Fans of an NFL team do not want to wait through a 3-5 year process to get their franchise QB ready for the starting job. They want to see definitive progress in the roster and ultimately in the team’s record. The pressure by the fans make it so job security is never certain. Coaches and GMs are fired every single year, and some are only given 1-3 years to take a team finishing 4-12 on year to the playoffs the next. There is an acronym about the NFL, which stands for “Not For Long”. This is especially true with Coaches and GMs who need to do whatever they can to make a splash and impress the fanbase, which unfortunately leads to them rushing the development of talented young Quarter Backs and even destroying their career in some instances.
When it is all said and done, the Eagles will be glad that they made the decision to sit Wentz and not stunt his development and growth into a starting NFL QB. Eagles fans will also be happy to know that they could possibly be on the verge of another era of QB prosperity in Philadelphia with Carson Wentz leading the way.
Photo: Trevor Peelman (via: Wikimedia Commons)