Report: Anonymous sources on Eagles label Carson Wentz as ‘selfish’; Other teammates defend their QB
Well, if you’re a Philadelphia Eagles fan, this is probably not what you want to read on a Monday morning.
In a lengthy piece on PhillyVoice.com Monday morning, written by Joseph Santoliquito, a handful of anonymous teammates said the source of the Eagles’ struggles on offense during portions of the season can be laid at the feet of franchise quarterback Carson Wentz, whom the story says is not the humble guy he portrays himself as.
The story quoted “more than a half-dozen” Eagles players, “plus other sources close to the team.”
The sources requested to stay anonymous, Santoliquito wrote, “fearing repercussions given Wentz’ power within the organization.”
The story makes some startling allegations about Wentz.
One thing is certain: Every one of our sources said the same things almost verbatim about the relationship between Wentz and Nick Foles: “They love each other, they respect each other and they support each other.”
But while the sentiment in the Eagles’ locker room is that Foles is “universally loved,” Wentz isn’t.
His aw-shucks, overgrown-Opie-from-Mayberry routine plays well with the local and national media. Indeed, sources describe Wentz as “incredibly hard working,” “determined,” and “highly intelligent.” But the true Wentz is more nuanced and complicated, with sources describing him as “selfish,” “uncompromising,” “egotistical,” one who plays “favorites” and doesn’t like to be “questioned,” one who needs to “practice what he preaches” and fails “to take accountability.”
Numerous sources confirmed Wentz was once verbally attacked by a highly respected teammate for not being “a team guy.”
The story alleges that Wentz caused unnecessary friction within the offense, refusing to run some of its base concepts because “he felt that was ‘Foles’ stuff,’ sources said.”
“Wentz only saw, it seemed, one receiver the majority of the season: Zach Ertz. This understandably frustrated the rest of the offense, considering other receivers were open downfield. To stop the Eagles in 2018 under Wentz was rather easy: Stop No. 86.”
The story later elaborated other critiques of Wentz — and his fixation on his tight end.
“The offensive players primarily felt more comfortable and confident with Foles – again, not a great revelation – because they knew he would get everyone involved in the offense. Foles would check down, if he had to, but he wasn’t going to audible out of running plays, as Wentz had a tendency to do this past season.
Wentz also had a propensity to pull the ball when he was about to hand off to the running backs, and check down to Ertz, despite having one of the NFL’s better offensive lines to run behind. It would frustrate the offensive line, the running backs and the wide receivers — basically everyone on the field at the time, with the exception of Wentz and Ertz.”
The story also alleges that Wentz was not playing healthy all season long due to his desire to return quickly return from last year’s torn ACL injury, which he suffered late in the regular season — before Foles carried the Eagles to a Super Bowl win.
“Wentz wasn’t 100 percent the whole season, sources agreed. Though, actually, that didn’t have to come from people inside the NovaCare Complex, or from those very familiar with Wentz’s game. Everyone could see it. Wentz couldn’t escape the pocket as freely as he did in 2017, getting caught by linebackers from behind. Sources estimated that Wentz was probably at about 80 percent of what makes Carson Wentz the special player he has been and should be.
Most of Wentz’s incomplete passes were low. He wasn’t throwing under a strong base, pushing his passes more from his arm and shoulder than from his strength, his legs.
Wentz also struggled reading defenses this season, according to sources. His eyes were all over the place. Consequently, his scope of the field was far narrower. He pressed. Going into games, the running backs and wide receivers would openly question how many touches they would get, because they felt Wentz wouldn’t look their way. The offensive linemen grew angry because Wentz’s indecision would cause him to hold the ball longer than necessary — resulting in sacks and hits.”
That said, Santoliquito writes in the story, some of the anonymous sources agree there’s a good chance Wentz will be able to return to form with a full offseason of training — and with Foles likely to leave the team as a free agent.
The subjects interviewed for this story gave the impression that Wentz changed after his injury. With Foles more than likely gone next season and nothing but open space ahead to rehab and spend a full training camp as QB1, there seems to be a good chance he’ll be his dynamic self again — both on the gridiron and with his teammates.
“He has to return to who ‘Carson Wentz’ is,” a source told PhillyVoice. “That comes with relaxing and not forcing things. It also comes with being able to take constructive criticism. He has to learn that it’s not always about him and that’s partly what hurt this team this year. We know what type of player he can be, and who he normally is. He needs to realize it’s the Philadelphia Eagles not the Philadelphia Carsons.
“A little humility goes a long way.”
After the story broke, several of Wentz’s teammates — including prominent locker room leaders like Fletcher Cox and Lane Johnson, pushed back against the story’s narrative.
Johnson went so far as to label it “fake news.”
Happy offseason, Eagles fans!