Sports

Carson Wentz a problem, but Eagles fans’ ire pointed elsewhere

The Eagles currently reside in first place in the NFC East, but it feels like they are locked in the basement without a key.

They are fortunate that 3-5-1 gets you more for your money these days, because they happen to play in the worst division in the NFL.

In fact, Philadelphia could lose in Cleveland on Sunday and, regardless of what goes on around them, still be in first place by day’s end, because the 3-7 Giants, their closest pursuer, are on a bye this week.

But the trend for the Eagles is troubling, and subsequently there is unrest in Philadelphia. Agitated fans are starting to question the job of the coach, Doug Pederson, and the former No. 2 overall draft pick quarterback, Carson Wentz — who looks like he’s regressed from the guy who went 11-2 in the 2017 Super Bowl season and is 17-18-1 since.

Wentz is completing just 58.2 percent of his passes (worst in the NFL among starters) and, of most alarm, leads the league in interceptions (12) and total turnovers (16).

You can make the argument that Wentz — who has a four-year, $128 million contract — has been the worst starting quarterback in the NFL.

Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz
Doug Pederson and Carson WentzGetty Images (2)

Yet it has been Pederson who seems to be receiving the wrath of the fans in the largest doses.

Are we to think that Pederson, who’s built a reputation as a coach who specializes in developing quarterbacks, has all of a sudden forgotten how to coach quarterbacks? That he’s not the same guy who’s been the only coach to make Nick Foles look like a Pro Bowler?

Pederson is not the problem in Philadelphia. Wentz is.

The problem for Pederson is, if the Eagles continue to slide, it could be his job hanging in the balance.

The Eagles’ next five games come against the Browns (6-3), Seahawks (7-3), Packers (7-2), Saints (7-2) and Cardinals (6-4) — a group with a combined record of 33-14, a .702 winning percentage.

Their final two games are against the Cowboys and Redskins from their own lowly division, but might it be too late to salvage a playoff berth by then?

Here is a guarantee: If Pederson is fired, there will be a line of teams wanting to hire him.

Pederson has become testy and sarcastic of late as he’s been peppered with questions about what’s gone wrong.

When it was suggested to him by a reporter that he needs to take Wentz off the field when he inserts rookie Jalen Hurts (who’s thrown just two passes with Wentz split out both times), Pederson’s response was saturated with sarcasm: “It’s a great idea … something we’ll look into.”

On his weekly Monday radio appearance on WIP in Philadelphia, Pederson said he was “pissed off’’ about last Sunday’s loss to the Giants and was somewhat salty during the spot, asking if he should just “hang up’’ now that he’d fulfilled his appearance obligation.

“Listen, we’re still sitting here in a really good place in the NFC East,’’ Pederson later told reporters. “I know it doesn’t look pretty. We understand that. But there’s still a lot of ball ahead of us, and there’s still, I think, a great opportunity for this football team moving forward.”

The road doesn’t get any more difficult to navigate than the one ahead for Pederson and the Eagles. It looks like it could be a rough ride.


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