Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz

Week 13 Quick Reads

It's time to talk about Carson Wentz. If you're an Eagles fan, you're probably thinking that we are long past the point of talking about Carson Wentz, but the Philadelphia quarterback's performance this year has been so woeful that it's now a relevant story for all fans, no matter their preferred team.

The Eagles paid a bundle to acquire Wentz in 2016, trading five draft picks (two in the first round and one each in the second, third, and fourth) to Cleveland for the second overall selection and a courtesy fourth-rounder. Early returns for Philadelphia were great -- the Browns got hardly anything out of those draft picks while Wentz quickly put together an MVP-caliber campaign in just his second season. He led the NFL with 33 touchdown passes through Week 13 of 2017 before a torn ACL ended his season. The advanced stats weren't quite as kind -- Wentz finished eighth in DYAR, sixth in DVOA -- but at such a young age the future looked bright for the quarterback and team alike, especially after the Eagles went on to win the Super Bowl with Nick Foles. Wentz's play slipped a bit in the next two seasons, and he failed to stay healthy for the playoffs, but there was no sign coming into this year that he was anything worse than an average starter.

What has happened since has been disastrous. Wentz has thrown 15 interceptions and taken 50 sacks, both the highest figures in the league. His 57.4% completion rate is second-worst among qualifiers ahead of only Denver's Drew Lock, and his 6.0 yards per attempt and 72.8 NFL passer rating are in the bottom three as well. Here at FO, Wentz's DVOA of -37.7% is second-worst behind New York's Sam Darnold, and since Darnold has missed four games, Wentz's DYAR total of -836 is by far the worst in the league. It may not get much worse than that -- after going 6-of-15 for 79 yards with four sacks against Green Bay on Sunday, Wentz was benched for Jalen Hurts, and coach Doug Pederson has been non-commital about who will start in Week 14 against New Orleans -- but that is already one of the worst seasons in our database.

Worst Single-Season Passing DYAR, 1985-2020
Year Name Team DYAR Rk Comp % Y/A TD INT Sack FUM Status
2018 Josh Rosen ARI -1,145 34 55.5% 5.80 11 14 45 9 Rookie
2002 David Carr HOU -1,130 36 53.3% 5.84 9 15 76 18 Rookie
2011 Blaine Gabbert JAX -1,010 35 51.1% 5.36 12 11 40 10 Rookie
1998 Bobby Hoying PHI -962 35 51.1% 4.29 0 9 35 6 3rd-year backup
2014 Blake Bortles JAX -955 37 59.1% 6.12 11 16 55 5 Rookie
2016 Jared Goff LAR -881 34 54.9% 5.31 5 7 26 5 Rookie
2005 Alex Smith SF -866 -- 51.2% 5.30 1 11 29 10 Rookie
1992 Kelly Stouffer SEA -837 30 48.4% 4.74 3 9 26 10 5th-year backup
2009 JaMarcus Russell OAK -834 34 49.0% 5.23 3 10 33 9 2nd-year starter
2020 Carson Wentz PHI -821 31 57.4% 6.00 16 15 50 7 5th-year starter

It's not as if Wentz's numbers are being dragged down by one or two particularly terrible outings; he has been consistently terrible, finishing below replacement level 10 times in 12 games. If you need a concrete example of what "replacement level" means, C.J Beathard has 1 DYAR in 213 dropbacks, so he's as close to replacement level as any regular passer we have seen this year. Wentz's best game, by DYAR, was in Week 5 … when he threw two interceptions and was sacked five times in a 38-29 loss to the Steelers, who gave him a massive boost in opponent adjustments.

What's most concerning for Wentz is that he's playing this poorly in his fifth year as a starter. Most of the players in this table were rookies. Among the veterans:

  • Bobby Hoying was a third-year backup who was only playing because Rodney Peete was hurt;
  • Kelly Stouffer, primarily a backup for his first four years, was an opening day starter in 1992 who soon found himself playing behind Dan McGwire and Stan Gelbaugh on the worst passing offense we have ever measured;
  • JaMarcus Russell, the former first overall draft pick, was in his second season as a starter.

Neither Stouffer nor Russell ever played in the NFL again; Hoying lasted as a backup with the Raiders for a couple of seasons but never started another game.

Quite simply, we have never seen a quarterback who has enjoyed any kind of NFL success go on to play as poorly as Wentz has this year. Some terrible rookies did develop into starters of some quality, especially Alex Smith and Jared Goff, but it's hard to compare Wentz's performance this year to what they did in 2005 and 2016. Perhaps we can learn more by looking at the worst veteran seasons on record. The following table shows the worst DYAR seasons by players with at least five years experience, along with their total and season-high in NFL starts after their bad years:

Worst Single-Season Passing DYAR, Veterans, 1985-2020
Year Name Team DYAR Rk Comp % Y/A TD INT Sack FUM Future
Starts
Season-
High
1992 Kelly Stouffer SEA -837 30 48.4% 4.74 3 9 26 10 0 0
2020 Carson Wentz PHI -821 31 57.4% 6.00 16 15 50 7 -- --
2007 Trent Dilfer SF -681 38 52.6% 5.32 7 11 27 6 0 0
2014 Josh McCown TB -665 36 57.0% 6.75 11 14 36 9 27 13
2009 Matt Cassel KC -650 32 55.9% 5.93 16 15 42 11 51 15
1987 Mark Malone PIT -621 32 46.4% 5.64 6 18 18 9 8 8
1995 Bubby Brister NYJ -611 -- 55.4% 4.27 4 7 16 4 4 4
2016 Brock Osweiler HOU -558 33 59.5% 5.80 15 15 27 4 9 5
2008 J.T. O'Sullivan SF -509 34 58.4% 7.63 8 11 32 10 0 0
2004 Jay Fiedler MIA -499 35 53.2% 6.24 7 8 25 7 0 0
Minimum 5 years experience

This list doesn't look much more optimistic for Wentz. Four of his predecessors never started again; three others only appeared sporadically. Only two had a lot of football left ahead of them. One of those is Josh McCown, who has been mostly terrible throughout his bizarre career but has somehow made just enough good plays to stick around. (He took over for an injured Wentz in the playoffs last year and is still on the Texans roster.) The other is Matt Cassel, whose first year in Kansas City was, simply put, a catastrophe. However, he was still just 27 years old with only two seasons as a starter (one in New England) under his belt, and he had just signed a six-year, $62.7-million contract after being traded to the Chiefs, so Kansas City had little option but to bring him back for another try in 2010. Cassel played much better that season, ranking 14th with 589 DYAR as the Chiefs went 10-6 and won the AFC West. Then they lost their first playoff game 30-7 to Baltimore at home. Cassel never again won more than four games as a starter or made the top 20 in DYAR. This, so far, is the best rebound a veteran has had after playing anywhere nearly as badly as Carson Wentz has in 2020.

This may not be fair to Wentz, however, because it's ignoring that his 2020 performance has been an anomaly, and that he played quite well from 2017 to 2019. He averaged 476 DYAR in those seasons; his DYAR in 2020 has fallen by more than 1,500 from that mark. Only two quarterbacks have suffered bigger declines in a four-year run (with a minimum of 200 pass plays in each season). One was Peyton Manning in 2015; he won the Super Bowl anyway, then promptly retired. The other was Kurt Warner in 2002; he spent one year after that with the Rams, then one with the Giants, then five with the Cardinals, reaching (and nearly winning) a Super Bowl. Neither of those players are terribly similar to Wentz, however -- they were clearly superior, in both good years (Manning averaged 1,412 DYAR from 2012 to 2014; Warner, 1,790 from 1999 to 2001) and bad (Manning had -326 DYAR in 2015; Warner had -95 in 2002).

We tried to find similar players by Wentz by simply checking the differences between their DYAR and his in each season. These are the 10 quarterbacks who have seen four-year stretches most similar to Wentz's since 1985:

Four-Year DYAR Stretches Most Similar to Carson Wentz, 1985-2020
Years Name Team Yr1
DYAR
Yr2
DYAR
Yr3
DYAR
Yr4
DYAR
Future
Starts
Season-
High
2017-2020 Carson Wentz PHI 1047 545 476 -821 -- --
1992-1995 Jim Kelly BUF 1123 530 424 31 13 13
2001-2004 Jay Fiedler MIA 624 409 325 -499 0 0
2010-2013 Joe Flacco BAL 697 413 358 -296 79 16
1990-1993 Jim Everett LARM 1056 589 940 -187 48 16
1994-1997 Stan Humphries SD 516 531 432 -255 0 0
2010-2013 Matt Schaub HOU 930 701 697 -123 3 2
2001-2004 Jeff Garcia SF/CLE 1057 936 450 -26 35 13
2007-2010 David Garrard JAX 1019 567 249 226 0 0
2005-2008 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 885 616 668 97 156 16
2004-2007 Marc Bulger STL 958 497 1145 -224 23 15
* Minimum 200 pass plays in all four seasons

This paints a much rosier picture for Wentz's outlook. Some of these players were clearly washed up, but several went on to be productive starters for several years down the road. Ben Roethlisberger is the gold standard in this table; he rebounded from his down year to remain a quality starter for a decade-plus. It goes without saying, though, that Roethlisberger's "bad year" was a whole hell of a lot better than what Wentz and the Eagles have suffered through this season.

Wentz's future, obviously, is murky. In the short term, he may spend the rest of the season on the sidelines, or he may stick as Philadelphia's starter (and if he does, then Josh Rosen's single-season record of -1,145 DYAR is in serious jeopardy). His long-term fate is even more difficult to determine; the contract extension he signed in June of 2019 makes him almost untradeable, which means the Eagles will need to find a way to fix him, or make him the most expensive backup player in all of sports.

UPDATE: For one game, at least, the Eagles are going with the expensive backup option:

 


 

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Josh Allen BUF
32/40
375
4
0
1
210
221
-10
SF
Allen's first half was very streaky. At various points he had three first downs in a row, four first downs in a row, and seven first downs in eight dropbacks; however, in between he twice went four straight dropbacks without a first down. He wasn't bad on first downs, but he was nearly perfect on second, third, and fourth downs, going 16-of-18 for 172 yards and 11 first downs, including two touchdowns.
2.
Jared Goff LAR
37/47
351
1
0
1
168
159
9
ARI
This was about as effective a small-ball attack as you'll ever see. Goff's average pass traveled only 3.6 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, fewest of any quarterback this week. He threw 15 passes to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage, and 20 more to receivers 1 to 5 yards downfield. But we must repeat this: it was effective. Goff led all passers with 19 first downs, and he was the league's best passer on third/fourth downs, going 10-of-12 for 117 yards with one sack and one touchdown. Nine of those completions moved the chains; the other was a 9-yard gain on third-and-17. He was also best on throws to running backs, going 4-of-5 for 77 yards.
3.
Baker Mayfield CLE
26/33
334
4
0
0
161
161
0
TEN
Mayfield loses 38 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was even more effective than Goff when throwing short passes -- he had the league's highest success rate (67%), and he led the league in DYAR on throws to receiver at or behind the line of scrimmage, completing all seven of his throws for 73 yards. He actually had negative DYAR in the second half, but he had 183 DYAR in the first half (when he threw 14 of his 16 first downs and all four of his touchdowns).
4.
Matthew Stafford DET
27/42
402
3
1
2
134
130
4
CHI
We'll start with the bad news: Stafford was the league's worst passer on throws to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage (3-of-6 for 28 yards with an interception). Now for the good news: he was the best passer on deep throws (8-of-13 for 207 yards and two touchdowns). And yes, that is a lot of deep passes -- Stafford's average pass traveled 13.1 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, most in the league this week.
5.
Patrick Mahomes KC
25/40
318
1
0
1
130
126
4
DEN
Mahomes was the league's best passer on throws to his right, going 10-of-15 for 184 yards.
6.
Aaron Rodgers GB
25/34
295
3
0
2
110
125
-15
PHI
Rodgers' 9-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams put Green Bay ahead 20-3 midway through the third quarter. He only threw for three more first downs after that, going 8-of-14 for 51 yards.
7.
Tua Tagovailoa MIA
26/38
296
1
0
0
89
88
1
CIN
Tagovailoa loses 42 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was on fire after halftime, leading the NFL in third-quarter DYAR. In those 15 minutes, he went 13-of-16 for 167 yards and a touchdown.
8.
Nick Mullens SF
26/39
316
3
2
0
78
78
0
BUF
Mullens only threw four deep passes on Monday night, but three of them were completed for a total of 88 yards, and the fourth resulted in a DPI for 25 more yards. He probably should have thrown more deep passes, is what we're saying.
9.
Alex Smith WAS
31/46
296
1
0
3
58
58
0
PIT
Smith gains a league-high 74 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. His first pass of the game was a 12-yard gain on first-and-10; the next time he threw for a first down, the Steelers were up 14-0 late in the second quarter. In between, he went 9-of-14 for 49 yards with a sack. He had another stretch between the third and fourth quarters when he went eight straight dropbacks without a first down (3-of-8 for 18 yards), but then he kicked out four first downs in a row (4-for-4 for 46 yards), including a game-tying touchdown.
10.
Matt Ryan ATL
19/39
273
1
0
3
58
58
0
NO
Ryan gains 50 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was the league's best passer in the fourth quarter and overtime, though the didn't get off to a good start; his first pass of the period was incomplete, and he was sacked and fumbled on the next play. After that, though, he finished 7-of-11 for 124 yards with one touchdown and one sack.
11.
Philip Rivers IND
27/35
285
2
0
3
58
58
0
HOU
Rivers' average dropback came with 10.3 yards to go for a first down, most of any qualifier this week.
12.
Ryan Tannehill TEN
29/45
389
3
1
3
57
57
0
CLE
Tannehill tore apart the middle of the Cleveland defense, completing all 15 of the passes he threw in that direction for 189 yards and a touchdown.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Derek Carr LV
28/46
381
3
1
2
40
33
7
NYJ
Carr loses 41 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He was the league's best passer on throws to tight ends. He threw one pass to Jason Witten; it was incomplete. He threw 17 to Darren Waller, which ... well, we'll get to him later.
14.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
33/53
305
2
1
0
30
30
0
WAS
Both of Roethlisberger's touchdowns came on first down, but they were his only conversions on first down. The touchdowns went for 3 and 50 yards; on other first-down plays, he went 11-of-17 for 40 yards.
15.
Drew Lock DEN
15/28
151
2
2
0
21
25
-5
KC
Take away throws to Tim Patrick (whom we will get to later) and Lock went 11-of-24 for 107 yards with two interceptions, plus a 4-yard DPI.
16.
Mitchell Trubisky CHI
26/34
267
1
0
2
18
23
-6
DET
Trubisky loses a league-high 51 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. Oddity: all of his first downs came with 3 to 4 yards to go, or with 6 to 10 yards to go. Outside of those down-and-distance situations, he went 6-of-7 for 29 yards.
17.
Deshaun Watson HOU
26/38
341
0
1
5
-6
5
-10
IND
Watson was mostly great between his own 20 and the Indianapolis 40 (21-of-25 for 305 yards with two sacks, a fumble, and an interception). He was mostly terrible everywhere else (5-of-13 for 36 yards with three sacks, one for a safety).
18.
Kirk Cousins MIN
28/43
305
3
1
4
-11
0
-10
JAX
Cousins' was the week's best passer in the red zone. He threw three passes inside the Jacksonville 20, and each one was completed for a touchdown: a 3-yarder to Adam Thielen, a 12-yarder to C.J. Ham, and a 20-yarder to Justin Jefferson.
19.
Kyler Murray ARI
21/38
173
3
1
2
-16
0
-16
LAR
Now here is a case of some extreme directional splits: Murray was the league's best passer on throws to his left (14-of-22 for 143 yards and a touchdown, plus a 25-yard DPI), but the worst on throws to his right (3-for-7 for 13 yards with a pick-six). He was also worst in the fourth quarter, when he went 12-of-19 for 54 yards with one touchdown, one pick-six, and a sack that lost 24 yards and ended in a lost fumble. Finally, we should mention that Murray gains 59 DYAR due to opponent adjustments.
20.
Taysom Hill NO
27/37
232
2
0
2
-20
-6
-14
ATL
Hill threw 10 failed completions, tied for with Justin Herbert for most in the league ... and Hill did it in 16 fewer dropbacks than Herbert. On a related note, his average completion gained 1.9 YAC, least of any qualifier this week.
21.
Sam Darnold NYJ
14/23
186
2
1
3
-25
-39
15
LV
Darnold was the week's worst passer in the second quarter. He went 6-of-9 for 91 yards and a touchdown, which is good ... but he also threw an interception and gave up two sack-fumbles, which is bad.
22.
Mike Glennon JAX
28/41
280
1
2
2
-29
-5
-24
MIN
Of all people, Mike Glennon led the NFL in first-quarter DYAR, going 8-of-10 for 112 yards and a touchdown. He was third-to-last in DYAR from the second quarter onwards.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Jalen Hurts PHI
5/12
109
1
1
3
-37
-36
-1
GB
Hurts came into the game with the Eagles down 20-3 in the third quarter. Philadelphia actually had the ball down 23-16 with a chance to tie or take the lead, but Hurts went incomplete-sack-incomplete, Green Bay scored again, and that was that.
24.
Brandon Allen CIN
11/19
153
1
1
5
-44
-43
-1
MIA
Allen failed to pick up a first down in the second half, when he completed two of his six passes to gain 16 yards while losing 28 yards on four sacks. He was the week's worst passer on deep balls (0-for-4 with an interception) and from under center (1-for-3 for 3 yards with an interception). It wasn't all bad though -- his average completion gained 10.4 yards after the catch, most in the league.
25.
Carson Wentz PHI
6/15
79
0
0
4
-48
-54
6
GB
Wentz's success rate of 26% was worst of any qualifier this week. He did not throw a pass in the red zone; in Packers territory, he went 1-of-3 for 11 yards with two sacks.
26.
Cam Newton NE
12/19
69
1
0
1
-52
-34
-17
LAC
Newton's rushing numbers: 14 carries for 39 yards and two touchdowns. His rushing DYAR is so low because he lost 9 yards on a fumbled snap and he had four failures to convert with 5 yards or less to go; one of those plays was a 4-yard loss on third-and-3.
27.
Colt McCoy NYG
13/22
105
1
1
2
-85
-80
-5
SEA
McCoy was the league's worst passer in critical areas such as third/fourth downs (5-of-9 for 35 yards with three conversions, one sack, and one interception) and in the red zone (2-of-3 for 8 yards with one touchdown and one interception.) He was also worst in the first quarter (5-of-8 for 60 yards with an interception and a sack) and on throws to tight ends (5-of-9 for 35 yards with an interception). But the Giants still won, because McCoy played better than...
28.
Russell Wilson SEA
28/43
263
1
1
5
-110
-109
-2
NYG
Wilson was the week's worst passer on throws down the middle, going 6-of-12 for 69 yards with an interception. He had three throws in the red zone; all were incomplete. He was awfully effective in short yardage, but with 10 or more yards to go, he went 15-of-28 for 139 yards and an interception, giving 47 yards back on four sacks and an intentional grounding penalty.
29.
Justin Herbert LAC
26/52
209
0
2
3
-197
-197
0
NE
You know you're having a bad day when you drop back to pass 55 times, and not one of those plays comes in the red zone. In Patriots territory, Herbert went 5-of-15 for 31 yards with an interception and two sacks. He threw 10 failed completions, tied for most in the league. He was worst in DYAR on throws to running backs (9-of-15 for 40 yards) and to wide receivers (13-of-29 for 137 yards with a pair of interceptions). But, hey, he had 9 DYAR on throws to tight ends. So that's cool, I guess.

 

Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Aaron Jones GB
15
130
1
3/3
18
0
52
55
-3
PHI
All of Jones' carries against the Eagles gained at least 1 yard ... and one of them gained 77 yards and a touchdown. That was his only gain of more than 8 yards, but he did pick up four other first downs. One of his receptions produced a first down, but the others were a 1-yard gain on second-and-4 and a 9-yard gain on third-and-23.
2.
Jonathan Taylor IND
13
91
0
3/3
44
1
47
21
27
HOU
Taylor would have been first this week without opponent adjustments. The Texans stuffed him twice, but he still ran for a half-dozen first downs, including runs of 11, 12, 19, and 24 yards. Only one of his catches produced a first down, but that was a 39-yard touchdown on fourth-and-4.
3.
Chris Carson SEA
13
65
0
3/6
45
1
40
29
10
NYG
The Giants only stuffed Carson once and his longest run gained only 11 yards, but he had five runs of 7 yards or more and six first downs on the ground. His three catches: 5-yard gain on first-and-10; 12-yard gain on second-and-8; 28-yard touchdown on first-and-10.
4.
Alfred Morris NYG
8
39
1
1/1
6
1
37
20
17
SEA
Morris only ran for two first downs against the Seathawks, but he was stuffed just once, and his other seven carries each gained 3 yards or more.
5.
Wayne Gallman NYG
16
135
0
0/0
0
0
37
37
0
SEA
Gallman ran for four first downs against Seattle -- including gains of 13, 23, and 60 yards -- while being stuffed twice.

 

Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Aaron Jones GB
15
130
1
3/3
18
0
52
55
-3
PHI
2.
Wayne Gallman NYG
16
135
0
0/0
0
0
37
37
0
SEA
3.
Adrian Peterson DET
16
57
2
0/1
0
0
33
36
-3
CHI
The Bears stuffed Peterson once, but 14 of his 16 carries gained 2 yards or more. Four went for first downs, including his two scores.
4.
Chris Carson SEA
13
65
0
3/6
45
1
40
29
10
NYG
5.
Darrell Henderson LAR
3
49
1
2/3
25
0
34
28
6
ARI
Henderson's three runs: 9-yard gain on first-and-10; 2-yard gain on second-and-1; 38-yard touchdown on second-and-3.

 

Worst Running Back by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Phillip Lindsay DEN
14
26
0
0/1
0
0
-48
-41
-7
KC
Lindsay loses 20 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He only ran for two first downs, his longest carry gained only 4 yards, and he was stuffed four times.

 

Worst Running Back by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Phillip Lindsay DEN
14
26
0
0/1
0
0
-48
-41
-7
KC

 

Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Corey Davis TEN
11
12
182
16.5
1
83
CLE
Eight of Davis' catches produced first downs, including gains of 17, 18 (three times), 22, and 43 yards.
2.
Tim Patrick DEN
4
4
44
11.0
2
57
KC
Three of Patrick's catches produced first downs; the other was an 8-yard gain on first-and-10. He also picked up 20 more yards and another first down on a DPI.
3.
Cole Beasley BUF
9
11
130
14.4
1
55
SF
All of Beasley's catches produced first downs, including gains of 20, 31, and 35 yards.
4.
Darren Waller LV
13
17
200
15.4
2
45
NYJ
In Audibles on Sunday, we suggested that this might have been the best game by a tight end in our records. Well, it wasn't close -- it barely got halfway to Travis Kelce's 88-DYAR game against Houston in the playoffs last year. Opponent adjustments didn't help -- he lost 18 DYAR for playing the Jets -- but Waller also had four incompletions and two failed completions, including failures to convert on third-and-5 and second-and-6, -7, and -9. But hey, nine of his catches did produce first downs, including gains of 28, 29, and 38 yards.
5.
Logan Thomas WAS
9
9
98
10.9
1
42
PIT
Thomas may be the anti-Waller, because he gains 16 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. None of his first six catches produced first downs -- four of them were third-down catches short of the sticks -- but then his last three catches were a 16-yard gain on second-and-8, a 30-yard gain on second-and-12, and a game-tying 15-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

 

Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Nelson Agholor LV
4
11
38
9.5
0
-45
NYJ
There was nothing terrible about Agholor's completions; three of them picked up first downs, and the other was a 4-yard gain on first-and-10. He's in last place because of all those incompletions, one of which came on fourth-and-3 in the red zone with a chance to give the Raiders the lead. But he didn't get it, costing the Raiders a win.

Wait. What happened next?!

Comments

101 comments, Last at 10 Dec 2020, 2:16pm

1 I wonder what Wentz's stats look like

In the alternate universe where he's throwing to Davante Adams, DK Metcalf, and Justin Jefferson instead of Jalon Reagor, JJ Arcega Whiteside, and the ghost of Alshon Jeffrey behind an O-Line that is at least replacement level.

 

Not that Wentz doesn't share some of the blame but I think the lack of talent and coaching is the main culprit and is exacerbating his issues

2 Wentz

Wentz's decline has been so precipitous that I've got to think that there's some sort of snowball effect going on ... everything goes wrong one week and that leads into everything going wrong the next week, which leads to more of the same the next week, and so on.  We've all had periods like that in our lives where it just seems like we can't get anything to go right.  It wears on you.  Wentz might also have some sort of little nagging injury that he refuses to admit to.  If he was 35+ years old I'd say stick a fork in him, but he's not.  So I personally expect him to bounce back ... probably not to the same level that he was at before, but I've got to think that he can at least get back into the top 20 of NFL QBs once he's had time to distance himself from this disaster of a year, clear his head, get his confidence back with some easy tosses in a preseason game next summer, etc.  His salary ensures that he will at least get more chances.  The Eagles can't just dump him; they're paying him, so they're going to give him every opportunity to come out of his funk.

13 "Wentz's decline has been so…

In reply to by OldFox

"Wentz's decline has been so precipitous that I've got to think that there's some sort of snowball effect going on ..."

I know! It just feels like there's something unique and unprecedented about this year, but I can't seem to put my finger on it...

3 I don't think coaching is the issue.

But you could definitely blame the GM.  Roseman has put together a garbage roster that really starts with the lack of blocking.  Wentz has been hit and hurt so many times that his pocket presence goes from perfect to panic about two steps into his drop backs.

Once QB's start "seeing ghosts" I haven't seen many of them ever get back to their previous confidence.  Hell, Jacksonville ruined many QBs like that over the years.  Gabbert and Bortles are great examples.  Talented guys that got hit so many times early in their career that they mentally were never the same again.

6 Once QB's start "seeing…

Once QB's start "seeing ghosts" I haven't seen many of them ever get back to their previous confidence.

Warner.

Warner was seeing ghosts in the Martz offense, and to a lesser extent with the Giants. He straightened himself out against with Arizona.

Actually, this has happened with a couple of Arizona QBs. Palmer sort of did the same thing.

16 "But you could definitely…

"But you could definitely blame the GM.  Roseman has put together a garbage roster that really starts with the lack of blocking."

Losing 2 starting OLs from a thin, aging line will do that to you. Roseman's way behind on committing resources to the OL at this point. A single high draft pick and zero free agency dollars on any long-term OL improvement, and suddenly we're surprised that a line that was middle-aged in 2017 has fallen apart.

Add to that the idiotic money thrown after free agent (or going-to-be free agent) WRs. Jeffery + Jackson + Agholor: all signed/extended before the 2019 season, adding well over $50M in extra costs and their contributions have been outpaced by a guy they picked up off of the trash heap for pennies.

22 Having watched Tannehill get…

Having watched Tannehill get clobbered behind a sieve of an o-line week after week - and having watched a fair bit of Tim Couch during his two 50+ sack seasons - I think "protecting the quarterback" (as in having even a semblance of a line) is grossly undervalued.

Yeah, people talk about it being important, but then they write 1000 words on how QB A is playing really, really poorly and only include the number of sacks, with no context and critical look at the offensive line. Most advanced stats don't attempt to separate QB play from offensive line and receiver. And that's understandable from a data-availability point of view, but with next gen stats becoming more widely available, hopefully that will start to change and we can get a better sense of what is really going on.

I haven't seen the Wentz play at all this season, so I'm clearly not saying he is not to blame.

23 I wrote an adjusted pressure…

I wrote an adjusted pressure rate article. One of themes of that piece was looking at Teddy Bridgewater. He had a pre NO historic pressure rate over 30 something percent, which was in the bottom 10 percent of a very large sample of QBs. In his time starting in No, his team was top 5 in avoiding pressure.

 

I'm still not quite sure what to take from this because players like Brees and Manning and have maintained their sack rate( and pressure rate) for over long periods of time. We are talking about 10 + seasons of football.

24 Manning seemed to be…

Manning seemed to be somewhat pressure-independent. He could cover for a bad line by throwing really quickly. Brees has some of this, but he has spent most of his productive years playing behind a really formidable offensive line.

I don't think he's Goffian, but I think Brady and Brees were more line-dependent than a Manning or a Wilson. Wilson ran into a lot of sacks, and there was a certain chicken/egg nature to his line performance, but he was playing behind two essentially amateur linemen for years.

But there is a tier to this. Some guys will succeed almost regardless of what you give them, so long as someone can catch the ball. Some guys can cover for bad line play to an extent, but only excel when paired with good or better lines (Brady and Brees, and unexpectedly, Tannehill). Rodgers and Roethlisberger seem to exist between those tiers, although Roethlisberger is also his own worst enemy at times. Then guys who can cover for a bad line, but often don't, or regress when doing so. Cutler and Stafford were like this. It can be hard to determine what their floors and ceilings are. Sometimes this is an underperformer in a decent offense, and sometimes it's the only good player on a bad offense. Next are guys whose variance was almost purely line-driven. Martzian-era Warner was like this. He covered for a lesser line late in his career, but only after almost being destroyed in his bad line years. Next are the Goffs -- guys who look really good if you pair them with solid receivers who are schemed open, combined with time in a clean pocket to pass -- and who are awful if you don't. Last are the guys who are shaky even then.

The last two tiers can be hard to separate, because some QBs never see a non-disastrous environment. Guys who spend their career with a Fisher or a Gase.

7 Of the list, Bulger and…

Of the list, Bulger and Everett experienced similar talent apocalypses, where the good players on his line got injured and the WRs experienced sudden age-related declines.

Those two at least benefited from a young Steven Jackson and Jerome Bettis.

Odd that this happens so frequently to the Rams.

4 Goff's average pass traveled…

Goff's average pass traveled only 3.6 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, fewest of any quarterback this week. He threw 15 passes to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage, and 20 more to receivers 1 to 5 yards downfield. 

Jared Goff -- option QB

Stafford was the league's worst passer on throws to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage (3-of-6 for 28 yards with an interception). 

Matt Stafford -- not option QB

12 Revisionism. Foles was…

Revisionism.

Foles was regarded as something of a disaster in his three regular season games.

https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/nfl/qb/2017
https://www.footballoutsiders.com/dvoa-ratings/2018/week-18-dvoa-ratings

People were really down on Foles. Like Rodgers -> Hundley down.

He was 0 DYAR through the divisional game, but was 462 DYAR in the NFCCG and the SB. He was 583 DYAR for the playoffs (a 3100 DYAR pace).

18 In 2017, everyone forgets…

In 2017, everyone forgets that if Sarkisian had his shit together and could actually call a competent red zone series, the Falcons would have upset the Eagles in the Divisional Round.

37 Not revisionism when it was real time

Wentz was propped by a flurry of unstable metrics that boosted his overall stats, namely 3rd down (and 4th down). https://twitter.com/CowboysStats/status/1333975991652376582

When in reality Foles EPA+CPOE composite (10th/36) was higher on 1st and 2nd down (more stable) than Wentz (25th). Wentz would routinely put his team in bad spots and then go berserk. Foles was actually still pretty good on 3rd/4th down just not THAT insane. He was actually 2nd behind Wentz in the composite but the gap between the them (1st & 2nd remember) was more than the gap between Foles (2nd remember) and Trevor Siemian (19th/36).

And we knew before that, and now especially after, that Foles isnt anything. Enhancing the point.

11 This may not be fair to…

This may not be fair to Wentz, however, because it's ignoring that his 2020 performance has been an anomaly, and that he played quite well from 2017 to 2019.

I get that when a guy's struggling you want to stare at it and figure out what's going on - but at some point instead of performing mental gymnastics to contort your thinking, you have to just go with the simplest option. He's less mobile due to injuries and his offensive line and receivers can't combine to give him enough time to find an open receiver, and it's freaking 2020 and they have zero practice time.

I mean, you look at the drop in DYAR and say "wow this is unprecedented" and then you ask, gee, I wonder what else is unprecedented this year?

Look, teams have given quarterbacks big contracts and then struggled with them later. It happens. It's manageable. Obviously it's not the path you want to take, but it's not a death knell. It takes years to find a new QB anyway, and when you find one, they're typically dirt cheap either because you drafted him or massively lucked into something. Wentz's contract is not that bad: virtually any starting QB will cost you $20M/year at this point on the free market. Nick Foles is costing the Jaguars ~$19M this year.

Philly's problem really fundamentally isn't Wentz. He's a problem, absolutely. But we're not sitting around talking about how Goff's a huge weight around the Rams neck, even though Goff's now looking like an average-or-worse starter and has fallen pretty dramatically from his 2018 peak. Fundamentally Philly's problem is that they've been making horrendous free agency decisions for years, and then the last two years they just screwed the pooch dramatically at the draft.

I mean, yes, obviously, Wentz has fallen way more than Goff. But if a QB has no time, and no one to pass to, it doesn't matter who they are. As soon as Green Bay was forced to play defense Hurts looked just as lost and desperate as Wentz did.

14 I mean, yes, obviously,…

I mean, yes, obviously, Wentz has fallen way more than Goff. But if a QB has no time, and no one to pass to, it doesn't matter who they are.

We've seen what Goff looks like with no blocking and no one to pass to. If anything, that looked worse.

17 You know, I was about to…

You know, I was about to disagree with you because I figured Wentz's current pace had to be worse...

But it's not, actually. Wentz is lapping the competition (backwards) because of volume: his DVOA is super-bad, obviously, but it's not epically bad, and Darnold's is actually worse. Wentz just has the second-highest number of pass attempts in the league. Goff's rookie year was epically horrible.

I mean, the really weird thing about Philly this year that no one mentions is that they've been competitive in every damn game. It's seriously pissing me off - I want to just turn off the game and go do something else, and then oh, crap, they've got the ball down 1 score in the 4th quarter and maybe, just maybe, they'll pull something off. And this isn't against crap teams, either!

50 Ironically, one of the best…

Ironically, one of the best seasons we've seen from a qb with no blocking and receiver issues was when Bradford was traded from the Eagles to the Vikings, a day or two before the 1st reg. season game. The injury rate on the Vikings o-line was historic, and then the receivers started getting hurt. No running game, no time to throw, but Bradford, aided by Shurmur's highly intelligent scheme, dragged that offense to a middling rank in passing efficiency. It helped that the defense was good; Bradford rarely felt pressure to score early and often, and could accept punting.

73 "Philly's problem really…

"Philly's problem really fundamentally isn't Wentz. He's a problem, absolutely. But we're not sitting around talking about how Goff's a huge weight around the Rams neck, even though Goff's now looking like an average-or-worse starter and has fallen pretty dramatically from his 2018 peak."

?????????????

We don't sit around and talk about how Goff's a huge weight around the Rams neck... because he isn't a huge weight around the Rams neck. He's 14th in DYAR and 15th in DVOA this year, with an average oline and above average receivers. According to PFF he grades out as above average, although far from elite.

So I'm not sure why you're surprised that nobody sits around and talks about an average to above average QB being an anchor around the neck of his team.

"I mean, yes, obviously, Wentz has fallen way more than Goff."

I mean, Goff was 6th in DYAR in 2018, and 5th in DVOA. That's not really all that much of a dropoff. From 1,114 DYRA over 16 games to 513 over 12, and from 17.0% DVOA to 5.3%. Nobody compares that to Wentz, because it's not really comparable to Wentz. One QB helps his team win, the other helps the other team win.

81 "So I'm not sure why you're…

"So I'm not sure why you're surprised that nobody sits around and talks about an average to above average QB being an anchor around the neck of his team."

Yeah. That's literally the point I'm making. You've got a QB who went from viable MVP candidate in 2018 at points to a team where the QB's doing "fine" with an OK line and an OK receivers. Now imagine how Goff would do with a line with 2 starting-quality NFL players and 0 starting-quality WRs (edit: and bonehead playcalling).

Goff's pretty clearly not a Mahomes/Rodgers/Manning/Brady transcendent talent. But that doesn't make him an anchor, because if he can play "fine" with an OK line and OK receivers... that's good enough to win.

edit: I should point out that while I know everyone complains about playcalling, it's hard to understate how bad Philly's playcalling/coaching has been. Alshon Jeffery has contributed literally nothing and is averaging around 50% snaps in the past few games. WTF. They found a reliable catch target (who's slow) and are having him run clear routes when the fast guy is running the dig. Which, of course, results in the routes colliding.

It's pretty damn obvious that the coaching staff, for whatever reason, is completely nonfunctional in 2020.

20 Goff being so awful early on…

Goff being so awful early on( and when I say awful, I mean record setting awful) was enough for me to never quite trust him even when he played like an MVP the year he went to the SB.

Circumstances be damned, when things get this bad, theres something intrinsically wrong with the QB.

The question therefore is what do we expect from Wentz going forward. Since this largely speculative, I will throw out a baseless prediction:

He won't be this bad again, but he stares at two likely futures:

 

a) he still isn't good and plays like an erratic, up and down player who you can't really hide 

b) he becomes a net positive overall, but a kirk Cousins / Jimmy G level QB.

 

This season was sufficiently bad enough that I suspect the days of Carson Wentz top 5 or something QB are gone.

25 "This season was…

"This season was sufficiently bad enough that I suspect the days of Carson Wentz top 5 or something QB are gone."

Wentz was never a top 5 QB, so that's easy enough. Even in 2017 he was only top 10 by DYAR, and not even a top 5 rate (DVOA). Really even if Wentz had finished 2017, the calls for him to be MVP would've been a bit overblown: he had significantly higher success in high-leverage situations that year, so his performance looked way better than it was.

Honestly, I kinda don't understand the "we've never seen this before" comments. Sure, the degree of Wentz's decline is unprecedented, but, y'know, 2020. We've seen "average QB with occasionally good seasons decline to bad due to team around him" before. I mean, we've seen it on the same team. But on a longer-term scale, you've also got Flacco and Cam Newton.

 

27 "Honestly, I kinda don't…

"Honestly, I kinda don't understand the "we've never seen this before" comments. Sure, the degree of Wentz's decline is unprecedented, but, y'know, 2020. We've seen "average QB with occasionally good seasons decline to bad due to team around him" before. I mean, we've seen it on the same team. But on a longer-term scale, you've also got Flacco and Cam Newton."

If 2020 had produced multiple versions of this, I would be inclined to agree. However, if anything, 2020 is producing versions of this on defense; so in the opposite direction.

A tldr summary of this article would say that Wentz's performance is so out of wack historically that there appears to be No comparable seasons. Everyone else was either a rookie or 2nd year starter, a terrible bust who achieved nothing, an over the hill veteran who hit the age wall hard, and Kurt Warner + Roethlisberger, who even at their nadirs, never played this badly.

I think its rather telling that even historically average quarterbacks dont become Gabbertian over an entire season seemingly out of thin air. And yes, 2020 might be an excuse, but wouldn't you then expect the same effect for the other average/below average qbs out there? This appears to be a singularly Wentz related issue that has no historical comparison. That's shocking honestly. 

28 "If 2020 had produced…

"If 2020 had produced multiple versions of this, I would be inclined to agree."

We have. You see a lot of this in college, for instance, where you've got teams that don't look affected at all (Alabama, OSU) and then teams that appear massively affected (Penn State, Michigan, LSU).

And, of course, we have seen declines like this in the NFL at other spots - New England's defense, for instance, which freaking cratered. It's just easier to understand there.

What if it's regional? Lamar Jackson, for instance, is well over 1000 DYAR down from last year - in fact, not far off pace from Wentz's decline. And in fact, Jackson is the closest QB (in distance) to Wentz (and it's not like we can compare Washington QBs). Jackson's dropped pretty precipitously as well, but of course, he started from a higher perch. (Edit: in fact, Lamar Jackson's decline in DVOA is larger than Wentz's).

I'm not actually arguing "it's some voodoo in the region," but I decided back at the beginning of 2020 that I wasn't going to make any long-term judgements based on this year.

30 The problem with you citing…

The problem with you citing New England and Lamar Jackson is that their drop was at least predictable. Even if NE suffered 0 defections, the best defense is usually expected to regress a lot the following year. Add in the defections and free agent losses and the defensive regression is now completely understandable.

Lamar is also understandable given he just won the MVP the year earlier. I would have thought it quite a surprise if he repeated his performance again. Maybe the degree of the drop is something to consider, but again, Wentz was not coming off some ridiculous outlier year and then this happened. He was coming off a year where you might think he would actually experience some positive regression(progression?).

In any event, I maintain we have never seen this particular situation ever. At least I cannot think of one other than maybe Flacco but even that appears to be an imperfect comparison. 

34 "At least I cannot think of…

"Maybe the degree of the drop is something to consider"

That's literally my point. I expected a below-average year from Wentz because he was coming in with hot-garbage as an OL. The degree of the drop is the only thing that's surprising.

"At least I cannot think of one other than maybe Flacco but even that appears to be an imperfect comparison."

Nick Foles.

2013: 5th in DYAR, 2nd in DVOA
2014: 19th in DYAR/DVOA.
2015: dead last in DYAR/DVOA.

It's easy to look at that and say "yeah, but... Jeff Fisher/different coach/etc." but honestly the comparison between the 2019/2020 Eagles line and playcalling isn't much different.

 

36 The response he'd make is …

The response he'd make is likely "well, if there weren't any defections, it wouldn't be 33%"

But my original point was that in New England's case we know the reason why 2020 affected them different. Just like we know the reason why 2020 affected Denver/New Orleans. The fact that we don't know if 2020 affected Wentz differently doesn't change the fact that it's a giant flashing neon sign possibility when looking for explanations.

47 That's a huge can of worms…

That's a huge can of worms. Need to make a ton of assumptions there. The first is that they keep Pederson and Roseman. They obviously toss Jackson/Jeffery, and I think they'll probably try to trade Ertz because the cap situation's that bad. The line's hopefully a bit better with Dillard/Brooks back (big hope on Dillard!) and let's just hope Kelce sticks around for another year - but now Johnson/Brooks/Kelce are all well on the wrong side of 30.

Assuming all of that, Roseman's drafting tends to be reactionary, as in, "draft for the biggest problem we had the year before" - so that means the draft would likely be, dear God, OL/WR, at the top 2. Except Philly blows at drafting WRs so the WR pick is trash.

In other words, the team looks essentially the same. I don't expect the overall protection to be better (don't have high hopes for Dillard, and Brooks/Johnson are run blocking strengths). Probably Sanders looks the best player on the team, so they look like bad versions of the 2019 Giants. Gack.

Which'd put them probably around 4 wins. And that might be a ceiling. They're in the NFC and they play the AFC West (dear God) next year, so... yeah, this is not good.

Note that this is what I think they will do with Pederson/Roseman, not what I think they should do. What I think they should do is go full on fire-sale mode for draft picks. The COVID19 cap space drop was just a killer. They have absolute zero chance of being competitive for the next 2 years.

edit: I guess specifically for Wentz, I'd guess Wentz wins the job in camp (experience), they switch to Hurts after they suck (which they will), then back to Wentz after Hurts gets injured. Both completely ineffective.

48 They're in the NFC and they…

They're in the NFC and they play the AFC West (dear God) next year, so... yeah, this is not good.

The AFC West is one Death Star they don't have to scout, one team running an offense from the 1980s, one team running an offense from the 1880s, and one team whose mutant ability is losing winnable games.

51 Yeah, I dunno: I see KC,…

Yeah, I dunno: I see KC, Denver, and Las Vegas fielding competitive teams next year, and the Chargers seem like a wild-card with a full offseason for Herbert. But that might be giving DEN/LAC too much credit.

53 Denver is in weird situation…

Denver is in weird situation with a bunch of veterans and, to put it charitably, a big question mark at head coach. Even at their best case, they are a road upset possibility at all times.

The Raiders I think could actually end up looking a lot worse than people think because this team feels fundamentally the same as last year's but with better random improvement that doesn't seem sustainable.

The Chargers, ironically, could look the best out of this motley crew IF they change their coaching staff. They have plenty of talent to be better than what they are and in true Chargers fashion, they did the hard parts right in getting the talent + the QB and just find ways to screw up all of the easy stuff. 

46 Could be the curse of the…

Could be the curse of the Mid-Atlantic.... or could be that the Ravens also have a lousy WR corps and lost a ton of OL/TE talent due to retirement/trades/injuries this year. Seems like a pretty similar situation to me.

26 Warner returned to top-5…

Warner returned to top-5 level after years in the wilderness.

Brees had some early-career yo-yoing, and Favre some late-career.

Gannon was bad in 1990 and terrible in 1993. Then from 1999-2002 he was maybe the best QB in football.

The concerning part of this group is that essentially all the rejuvenated years came on different teams than the down years. 

31 I still don't think any of…

I still don't think any of the qbs you mentioned resembles Wentz. 

Warner was injured and then summarily thrown to bad teams trying to groom rookie first rounders, so basically he was playing the lame duck status. Its kind of remarkable to resurrect your career when you are set up to fail by the coaching staff from jump. 

Brees was bad as a rookie, terrible as a 2nd year player and then played well from then on. Sure, his yoyos went from one of the best qbs in the nfl to solidly above average, never from pretty good to unplayable. Ditto for Favre

Gannon is probably the hardest comparison to make since his career was so atypical. I am not sure theres another true journeyman turned MVP ever in the history of the league.

And none of these qbs are 5th year starters playing like the worst qb in football. I think that is telling. 

39 Gannon is probably the…

Gannon is probably the hardest comparison to make since his career was so atypical. I am not sure theres another true journeyman turned MVP ever in the history of the league.

Tarkenton.

Warner's bad years were pretty awful. He has wretched in 2002 and even worse in 2003 -- 20% worse than Wentz. The difference is he tended to get hurt on his least-talented teams. In 2008 and 2009, he was a 1000 DYAR guy on a shaky offensive roster.

49 Tarkenton was never a…

Tarkenton was never a journeyman. He was great in the beginning, middle, and end of his career. The only thing that changed was the coaching and talent around him, and he dragged more than one crappily coached teams with bad to mediocre talent to winning records. His 1970 season, for instance, with a kicking tee for a coach, and an expansion team quality roster, was magnificent.

 

52 Magnificent is probably too…

Magnificent is probably too understated an adjective. If people care to, go look at Tark's stats from a 1970s perspective and you will come away thinking the dude was playing grandmaster chess while the rest were playing shoots and ladders. 

54 Also

Recall that in that era QBs were calling their own plays. Tark really was way ahead of most QBs of the era (except maybe Johnny U).

71 In the 2nd half of many…

In reply to by LyleNM

In the 2nd half of many games, he'd start creating new route combinations in the huddle. It woulda' been scary what he might have done with modern communication and intelligent coaching.

70 Yeah, "journeyman" is open…

Yeah, "journeyman" is open to interpretation. He was with the Giants '67-'71, and there was no drop off. '70 was crazy good, and in '71 he played a game that Paul Zimmerman said was the finest performance he'd ever seen from a qb.

 

78 Matt Schaub was a name that…

Matt Schaub and Jake Delhomme were names that came to my mind, as QBs who played several solid-to-good seasons, then collapsed off a cliff without much warning (but were benched before having opportunity to amass too much negative DYAR). 

Further analysis shows neither was anywhere close to the historical levels of ineptitude shown by Wentz. It really is hard to come up with examples. 

84 "Further analysis shows…

"Further analysis shows neither was anywhere close to the historical levels of ineptitude shown by Wentz"

That's because of what you just said prior: other teams benched players like him earlier. That might be because of the Rex Grossman effect - Philly's been in almost all of the games this year and they've been in possible playoff contention. So it's just a combination of rare factors - typically a team with a QB playing like Wentz is would yank him early because there's no downside to playing a worse QB. But Philly (until now) has actually been in a situation where there was still a viable playoff path.

 

85 The season Schaub was…

I've looked it up, and in actual fact: the season Schaub was benched in Houston (2013) he started 8 games, and amassed -123 DYAR in the process. 

Delhomme started 11 games for Carolina 2009 before he was yanked, with -261 DYAR to his name. 

Both were entrenched starters with several seasons of solidly above average play to their name, so were clearly given some leash before they were benched. So I think the comparison to Wentz is just.

There may well be better examples - these are just two names I plucked from the top of my head. But clearly Wentz (-836 DYAR through 12 starts) is a long, long way worse than either.

 

86 Those 2 plus McNabb are…

Those 2 plus McNabb are interesting examples of the QB age curve being very different fof different players. I blame age because there appears to be no other explanation for overnight becoming a horrible player and staying that way. And since they were in their 30s, that explanation stuck.

88 Age or injury, I think,…

Age or injury, I think, which are really just two sides of the same degenerative coin. You see the same effect with certain players who get robbed of some athleticism and can't adapt once it's gone. Griffin, for example, or Culpepper. Or to a lesser extent Pennington, although he dealt with it to some degree (32 is pretty early for a QB's career to end abruptly).

 

89 Yes, Delhomme was 34, and…

Yes, Delhomme was 34, and Schaub 32 at the moment they were benched. Clearly far from over the hill in QB age terms, but enough for it to be the most plausible explanation. 

Anyway, those comparisons weren't to suggest that Wentz could never be a starter again, but to give some other context behind a solidly established starter being benched, and emphasize just how historically awful he has been this season.

 

87 It doesn't make sense to…

It doesn't make sense to look too carefully at the degree of the drop. There's too many unique outstanding factors this year to confound that. Pandemic, future salary cap drop, worst division of all time, etc. We already know it's a unique drop, and it's in a unique year, so, y'know, likely to be related.

It's more just worth looking at "quarterback who started off average-to-above average who cratered in a year" and there are a fair number of examples of those. Tommy Maddox is a decent example, for instance.

90 I'm not sure I buy the…

I'm not sure I buy the unique year argument, otherwise we'd expect see other QBs suffering the same. In fact, for whatever reason, offensive conditions seem to be easier overall this season. 

I do fully buy the notion that the Philly offense has been an injury riddled mess for a while now, and, over time, this has had a compounding effect on Wentz's play, rather than him somehow forgetting how to play. 

Anyhow, I'm not really interested in casting judgment on Wentz, or predicting his future path from here. Just looking at how unusual his situation is. 

91 "I'm not sure I buy the…

"I'm not sure I buy the unique year argument, otherwise we'd expect see other QBs suffering the same"

You're the second person to respond to this in this manner, and I don't get it. Every team's situation's unique this year. Some of them we know, because they're public. New England's playing basically without a defense. Denver had to play without a quarterback. San Francisco has to play without a home field. But for every situation we do know, there are likely equal numbers we don't know. Tennessee, for instance, completely tossed the spirit of the restrictions and continued practicing anyway. Do we know which teams are actually abiding by the restrictions and which ones are just cheeseballing them?

But it's not just the pandemic, it's also side effects from the pandemic. Lack of training camp and difficulty of workouts will affect teams in bad shape worse than teams in good shape (can't identify replacement players for your players that don't work out). Some teams were already leveraged pretty heavily in 2021-2022, and when the cap drop came in, that leverage turned into "total disaster," which means you end up being stuck with players you don't want and an inability to change mid-season.

It's just such a weird response to look at the average behavior around the league when literally something new happens every week

Edit: To be clear I'm not saying "the problem obviously isn't Wentz." I'm saying that I can't dismiss the possibility that it's !*^!#(ing 2020. Tons of my colleagues at work are handling this fine, for instance, whereas I'm sure as hell not.

92 The problem I have with…

The problem I have with using the Pandemic is that it can pretty much explain away anything and everything. Maybe that's the point, but being trained as a statistician, I am leery of one size fits all generalizations. Sometimes they matter and are true, I grant you, but its still too often I find lazy analysis.

As a political example, its a bit like saying, "under Clinton, the economy was great, under Bush it was awful." And then later I heard the same statement now being used in reverse, "Under Obama, the economy was terrible, under Trump it was terrific."

 

95 That is the point. This year…

That is the point. This year's literally an extrapolation for every team - we've never had situations like this, so we have no idea how each team will react. Assuming things settle down next year (and the year after), those extrapolations become interpolations, and the "pandemic" explanation will either become more or less likely.

"The problem I have with using the Pandemic is that it can pretty much explain away anything and everything."

I'm not using it as an concrete explanation as much as a caveat - i.e., a possible explanation. Literally everything in 2020 gets a caveat. That's just life in an outlier year. I mean, would you have had the same problem with someone saying "well, player strike year is just weird"? I'm sure an analytics-type would've had a hard time figuring out what to do with the strikebreaker games, until finally just deciding tossing them was easier.

But, I mean, if you had to rate "likelihood of answer being right," saying that Wentz's decline was enhanced by the pandemic to historic levels automatically has a boost just because it explains the timing as well as the effect. Otherwise you have to eat the fact that an unprecedented drop occurred in a unique year.

97 Tons of my colleagues at…

Tons of my colleagues at work are handling this fine, for instance, whereas I'm sure as hell not.

Can we get a scramble for the ball about Pat's horrible DYAR year-to-year change and whether or not he's just physically toast?

96 I'm not sure I buy the…

I'm not sure I buy the unique year argument, otherwise we'd expect see other QBs suffering the same.

It's been pointed out that Jackson has seen a larger DYAR drop than Wentz has.

Under sort of similar context, too -- his receivers have also almost universally disappointed, although their line remains solvent. 

Some of the concern is that Wentz managed this mess last year, but he had a better line then, too.

98 It's also possible that the…

It's also possible that the playcalling tricks of late last year just aren't working because of the defense, or that the lack of practice time means that we're seeing a lot of plays that would've normally been tossed immediately in the trash afterwards (my pet theory). 

There's a clip on Twitter of a play from last week where they had a fairly typical dig/go route combination (with the go route on the inside receiver to disrupt the dig's defender) - and the Eagles put Fulgham on the go and Reagor on the dig. Which is insane: Fulgham's way slower than Reagor. The play ends up as a total disaster: Reagor runs the dig so fast that Fulgham runs into him.

That just feels like a "lack of practice" problem - it would've been an obvious "okay, this won't work with these two" the instant it was run once, and they would've swapped Reagor/Fulgham and the play would've worked fine.

99 I would also add Lamar is in…

I would also add Lamar is in his third year of starting. There's still a lot of unknown about what kind of QB he is ultimately. 

I thought Carson Wentz was a known quantity in this regard - he's not supposed to be the worst QB in football. If he were, the Eagles would never have signed him to a long term contract and he wouldn't be their slated unquestioned starter by year 5. There is a reason busts are not earmarked for starting in year 5, if they are at all.

Ok, maybe we are going in circles on this but I again will reiterate: Carson Wentz having a bad year shouldn't be a shocker. I grant you that. But the fact that he is on pace to be the worst starting QB in DYAR history is without a doubt something I don't you, I, or anyone else could have anticipated. 

Beyond that, I have watched him in multiple games. Only the 49ers game(where he still had issues btw) was he not abjectly awful. The Dallas "win" is one of the least inspiring QB victories I can remember. 

 

29 Maybe Wentz is going to turn…

Maybe Wentz is going to turn out to be like Fitzpatrick, except instead of alternating between FitzMagic and FitzTragic quarter-by-quarter, he's going to alternate between WonderWentz and BlunderWentz on a season-by-season basis?

32 If that's the case, he can't…

If that's the case, he can't be a starting qb anymore. QBs need to be consistent. The hall mark of a game manager is the consistency. As long as the circumstances don't skew too far in the wrong direction, you know what you're going to get week in and week out. 

Even if Carson Wentz yoyoed between elite qb and below average starter, that would still be an issue. He'd be like Jay Cutler who was effectively a coach killer. But if instead you are yoyoing between goodish starter and bottom tier street free agent; then you are never going to rise above 5 wins unless you are playing in a crappy division. 

41 "If that's the case, he can…

"If that's the case, he can't be a starting qb anymore."

Well, not one that you wouldn't want to replace. Obviously. But it's kinda insane for Philly to toss Wentz and spend resources to acquire a new QB. That's insane - they'll just be even worse for the early portion of the new QB's career, and start the perpetual coach/QB/GM churn.

They need at least 2 starting-quality OL, 2 starting-quality WRs, 2-3 starting-quality linebackers and 3-4 starting quality DBs. They were never going to be a good team this year as soon as Brooks/Dillard went down. Oh, plus they're hamstrung with at least 3 overpriced contracts. Joy.

They're a bad team, and they are going to be a bad team for the next two years. There's no reason to even consider replacing Wentz until 2023 (maybe 2022) unless you can somehow trade him for actual value. 

"then you are never going to rise above 5 wins unless you are playing in a crappy division."

I'd say more like a ceiling of 8-9 wins, yeah.

33 Ladies and gentlemen ...

... the best passing performance against the 2020 San Francisco Forty-Niners belongs not to Aaron Rodgers, or Russell Wilson, or Kyler Murray (in either start), or even the legendary Beardy Fitzmagick, whose 342 yards were not only a season-high before last night, but also the only 300+ figure of the year to date. No, that performance belongs to ... Mr. Josh Allen.

38 Allen was very good last…

Allen was very good last night.  The biggest thing I noticed, however, was how little pressure SF was getting on him.  He had time to think and made good decisions.  And when he did get some pressure, he coolly rolled out and made more good decisions. All-in-all, it was an impressive performance.

58 Buffalo's O-Line has been…

Buffalo's O-Line has been pretty mediocre in pass-protection and downright awful at run blocking this season.  

Their receivers are quite good, however, especially considering that 2 years ago they were lining up with colossal bust Zay Jones, UDFA Robert Foster and full-Lebowski Kelvin Benjamin.  Allen wasn't great his rookie year by any means but his receivers were also doing him zero favors.

61 New OL combination

This was the first time the Bills have played Dawkins-Boettger-Morse-Feliciano-Williams due to injuries or leaving Brian Winters in there. Definitely looks like their best possible combination. Brian Winters has been a liability in nearly every game.

60 Stunning, right?

I'm shocked... shocked!  to find that blocking and catching is going on in here and might have any impact on a quarterback's success. This is a quarterback discussion after all, no?

Next thing you'll tell me that a veteran RB who can pick up the blitz is valuable.  Balderdash!

75 SF has had terrible pressure…

SF has had terrible pressure this year, have to rely on blitzes to generate much, and that defense has had trouble with mobile QBs ever since Shanahan & Lynch & Saleh arrived in town.  If they could play pocket passers every week, they'd have a great defense. 

42 Comparison to Other Sports

This is a great read. I wonder if there was any way to make a parallel to other sports, perhaps using WAR in baseball? Chris Davis has to be in the same ballpark as Wentz right?

44 Maybe the real question about Wentz

How bad was the concussion he suffered from the cheap shot by Jadaveon Clowney in the wildcard game? 

To be successful as a quarterback you have to be able to override your natural fear response, knowing you are going to be hit by a 285-lb man with some momentum [which I am certain really hurts] in order to "stand in there" and complete a pass.  What I see when I watch Wentz is a player that often is in panic, rendering his mechanics and decision-making terrible.  He didn't do that before this season.

He had plenty of (non-brain) injuries prior to that concussion.  It's not hard to believe a brain injury could be much more difficult to "forget", especially if he had complications or a difficult recovery.  Because the Eagles' season had ended, a slow recovery/complications/lingering symptoms would not have been in the public eye like they would have been if the Eagles had more games to play.  I can't help but notice that one group who would have known about his recovery (his employer) made the curious decision to invest a 2nd-round draft pick in a player that would only play when Wentz was hurt, rather than using the draft pick on a more generally useful player and just spending some money on a re-tread as a back-up.  Almost like believed they may have a need for a long-term replacement at QB...

66 RE: Maybe the real question about Wentz

I think that there's a chance that the concussion may also have something to do with this. I may make a longer post regarding Wentz and the Eagles soon (I'm an Eagles fan, by the way), but what I have seen from Wentz between 2018-2020 is someone who may have not only never fully recovered, both physically and mentally, from the 2017 injury, but someone who very desperately wants to be "the man" (this could be the supposed Foles factor), but without the total and complete confidence (and, arguably, ability) to be "the man". He has seemed slow and hesitant since his return from the 2017 injury. For what it's worth, I am also of the opinion that Wentz came back too fast during the 2018 season, which may have also had an affect on his play, and development as a quarterback.

The deterioration of Wentz's supporting cast has also certainly hurt his cause. The Eagles may have assembled their roster during 2020 thinking that Wentz will be an MVP-caliber quarterback, and that he can make up for any shortcomings at offensive line and receiver, and with coaching. However, it may be possible that Wentz's disastrous season has caused everything to collapse.

62 Feedback

Jim Everett got 589 DYAR on a season with 11 TDs and 20 INTs?

Man, the past is a different country.

Yup. Different era, big boost in opponent adjustments, good at moving the ball (11th in net yards/attempt), and plenty of plays (fourth in attempts).

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/1991/passing.htm

I mean, you look at the drop in DYAR and say "wow this is unprecedented" and then you ask, gee, I wonder what else is unprecedented this year?

The flaw in this thinking is that passing numbers around the league are way up. Completion percentage is up. Touchdowns are up. Interceptions are holding steady, but sacks are way down. There's definitely something going on in Philadelphia that isn't going on anywhere else.

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/NFL/passing.htm

The concerning part of this group is that essentially all the rejuvenated years came on different teams than the down years. 

I agree with this. If Wentz is ever a good starter again, I think it's going to come after he moves on from the Eagles (and they move on from him). 

He had plenty of (non-brain) injuries prior to that concussion.  It's not hard to believe a brain injury could be much more difficult to "forget", especially if he had complications or a difficult recovery. 

There's no way to discuss this without sounding morbid, but ... lots of quarterbacks have suffered severe concussions before. Most of them, probably. Some of them retired, but none of them returned to the field and played as badly as Wentz has.

67 Trent Edwards looked like a…

In reply to by Vincent Verhei

Trent Edwards looked like a promising young QB in 2007 and early 2008.  Then he was concussed by a brutal hit from Adrian Wilson, came back 2 weeks later to play a great game against a very good Chargers team and then the bottom fell out on his career from that point forward.  He just looked broken from that point on - refusing to hang in the pocket or throw the ball more than 5 yards downfield.

The sample size on him at that point was fairly small to it's hard to say definitively that it was the concussion but, well, he just seemed like a completely different player after that hit.

72 "There's definitely…

In reply to by Vincent Verhei

"There's definitely something going on in Philadelphia that isn't going on anywhere else."

Or the effects of a pandemic vary from place to place and team to team.

Anyone would've guessed Wentz would regress this year, due to the OL injuries. It's just the degree that's surprising. Which, again, is the same thing you could've said about Lamar Jackson, too.

76 Has anyone done road/home…

In reply to by Vincent Verhei

Has anyone done road/home splits this year, compared to previous seasons? I definitely would have predicted better offensive performance and fewer sacks yielded for road offenses this year.

64 Philadelphia, you got Flaccoed

So much worse than getting Mossed.  Getting Mossed is just one play.  Getting Flaccoed  lasts for years.

Joe Flacco played 5 years under his rookie deal and was consistently mediocre.  His best passing DVOA year was 9.4%, his worst was -3.0% (ironically the 2012 Super Bowl Championship year).  His average passing DVOA during his rookie contact was 2.7%.

Flacco between 2013-2018 had an average year passing DVOA of -5.6% DVOA

Running adds nothing to his game.

Flacco was made the highest paid QB after winning the 2012 Super Bowl.  His team was so good that they won a playoff game all 5 years and made it to 3 AFC Championship games under his rookie contract.  With a 5 year track record of mediocrity, this contract was absurd.  This led to a 5 1/2 year period of Ravens mediocrity (credit to John Harbaugh for not being even worse), with the 6th year being salvaged by a Flacco injury forcing the start of Lamar Jackson.

Wentz cap hit for the next 4 years is $31-$34M.  Why on earth did the Eagles pre-empt and sign him?  Other than 2017, he has not been great at all (last years passing DVOA was near 0).  He declined dramatically from 2017 to 2018 and again from 2018-2019.  The decline this year is horrifying.  I will forgive his bad rookie year.

Wait out the entire 5 years of his rookie deal, he isn't going anywhere.  Now when you want him to go away Philadelphia must eat a ton of money.  Which is what I think that the Eagles must do.  Start over, their cap space is such a disaster that having no QB, dead cap Wentz money, and no money to sign players will lead to being able to start improving 3 years from now.

 

68 The Flacco contract is one…

The Flacco contract is one of the most interesting decisions at the time and remains relevant today.

I think it's easy to look at the surrounding statistics and conclude that the right decision was to cut bait on flaco and not give him his contract. But you have to remember a few things.

Prior to flacco's arrival, the Ravens had been sifting from miserable passing game to miserable passing game with one Steve McNair season being the loan exception. Flacco for his many faults was a clear upgrade over the prior motley Crew of failures. It's easy and maybe correct to say let him walk, but you're right back in the quarterback derby with no obvious replacement Solutions. Draft a bust or go through another run of free agents and you might get fired. The thinking at the time was Joe was a known quantity and represented a baseline level of competency that had eluded the Ravens for pretty much their entire history to that point.

 

The other angle is this. To this day Joe's playoff run might be the single best postseason run of any quarterback I've ever seen. He faced three ridiculously strong teams all on the road in the playoffs and he was a big reason they won all three of those games. it would have been flawed thinking but it was understandable thinking that perhaps Joe had discovered a new level of play and you'd be getting a lot closer value to the contract then what he had shown prior. 

If this situation recreated itself today, I am fairly certain most gmd would make the same mistake again. 

82 Your response is extremely interesting

You bring up so many relevant issues.  I agree that most GM's would sign Flacco today.  No one has yet to jettison a QB after 5 years.  Flacco had a large sample size of mediocrity, he is different from Wentz and Goff in that he never was over 10 DVOA in a season when signed long term.  Four games do not trump 5 years of mediocrity, but who would have the guts as a GM to start over?

Secondly, mediocrity never felt so good as a team that used the revolving door of QB for years, will look at Flacco as an enormous upgrade, which sadly he was.  

Had Philadelphia not signed Wentz, they would dump him (I think).

Goff  is turning very mediocre, if not signed it would be another decision.  You can not win a championship with a mediocre QB, unless he is on his rookie deal.  The team simply will not be good enough.

I do not understand other readers comments regarding Wentz.  Four more years at $31-$34M sounds like a disaster to me and very highly paid.

Flacco, Goff, Wentz, Cousins, Stafford, Carr, when you sign in to mediocrity there will be few playoff wins in the future.  Goff may still be good, but the Rams could have waited also.  

And then we have the short term absurd Osweiler deal.

And now for the comment for which I always get disagreements.  Lamar Jackson has not proved enough yet to be signed to a huge contract.  His game is totally dependent upon his own ability to run.  If the Ravens sign him to a large deal, they may be doomed.  I hope they wait the full 5 years.  The offense went from number 1 DVOA last year to below average this year.  Dallas is not on the schedule every week.  Somehow they did not get the memo that on 3rd and 6 and 3rd and 10 the most likely way that the Ravens get a first down is with Jackson running.  The Ravens had two passing first downs yesterday, fortunately for them they were both TD's.  

 

83 "I do not understand other…

"I do not understand other readers comments regarding Wentz.  Four more years at $31-$34M sounds like a disaster to me."

They're not stuck at 4 more years. If he continues on the current track he'll be cut before the 2022 year, with $24M dead (but freeing ~$7M). So it's one more year, and 2021's so screwed his effect on that year doesn't matter in the slightest. And eating $24M in dead money due to a QB not working out is practically par for the course nowadays.

Realistically the dead money doesn't matter: the team's going to be garbage in 2021/2022 anyway due to the free-agency disaster of 2019 and the draft disaster of 2020. The "worst case scenario" would be that Hurts turns out to be a viable QB and you end up burning the "rookie deal" window, but given how bad the team's going to be, Hurts isn't going to end up playing so lights-out that an extension for him would probably be reasonable.

I get the feeling that a lot of people's surprise regarding the Eagles and Wentz is that people expected them to be NFC East champs this year (I totally didn't, that's well recorded) and probably expected them to be decent for the next few years since they didn't know about the giant time bomb they face next year (much like the Saints, although for the Eagles it's worse).

100 I understand they can dump Wentz and have the dead cap space

I understand the Eagles can cut him before 2022.  At this point, barring a dramatic change they should just bite the bullet in 2021 and 2022.  Between 2020, 2021 and 2022, (2021, 2022 and 2023 drafts) there will be a lot of draft capital to rebuild. 

Yes you are well documented in seeing the Eagles as not a division champion, clearly you were right.  Now you have a lot of company.  This is spiraling downward but can be turned around by 2023.  At least be on the upswing by 2023; Miami started their upswing before Tua ever started a game, if he is the real deal they become a very interesting team (I believe they were in the neighborhood of -80% DVOA through 5 games last year).  As bad as the Eagles are, they are not the early 2019 Miami Dolphins.

 

101 In 2021 Wentz will either be…

In 2021 Wentz will either be on the team or traded - they can't cut him. 2022 is the first viable option as a cut.

"This is spiraling downward but can be turned around by 2023.  At least be on the upswing by 2023; Miami started their upswing before Tua ever started a game"

Miami didn't have Philly's current cap situation. It's impossible for them to get under the cap in 2021 without pushing some costs forward, and with slow cap growth from 2021-2022, they'll be carrying a significant dead cap charge until 2023. They're completely different situations. Go play with Philly's situation at overthecap's calculator. It's beyond awful. At best they're going to need to push ~$30M forward to 2022, which will leave them basically against the cap and unable to add anyone until 2023.

That's the situation Philly's in. And this isn't just my opinion, it's pretty well covered by reporters.

80 It's pretty similar to Goff…

It's pretty similar to Goff. Little smaller, but not a lot. But honestly I think there's a reason for that - I don't think either the Rams or the Eagles were convinced about the quarterbacks long term. It's a short-term contract for both of them, and cost-wise, it's pretty reasonable.

It's very, very different than the contract KC gave Mahomes, obviously. And I think that's the thing that's hard to understand - at least to me it feels like we've been getting lots of "total lock franchise QBs" for a while now, and people have kinda gotten overly used to it, whereas I think it's kinda clear that of the most recent batch of young QBs hitting the end of their contracts (Mahomes, Goff, Wentz, Watson, Prescott) only Mahomes is really in the "yeah, absolute slam dunk" category.

79 RE: Philadelphia, you got Flaccoed

You might be on to something. Giving Wentz that big extension early may prove to be a cautionary tale going forward. I think that the Eagles may have given Wentz the contract at the time to not only validate their commitment to him, but out of a fear that Wentz would be even more expensive to extend and keep in the future.

If one of the goals of giving Wentz his contract early was to say to him "You're our guy, and our one and only guy, going forward" after what happened with Foles, then it makes the Jalen Hurts pick even more perplexing.