Through the first few weeks of the 2016 NFL season, there were two incredibly impressive rookie quarterbacks leading teams in the NFC East. After 12 weeks of games, there is only one.
While Dak Prescott continues to helm the 10-1 Cowboys en route to a likely NFC East title and first round playoff bye, Carson Wentz seems to have fallen off a cliff. He's become mediocre.
The second overall pick started September with three wins, five touchdowns and no interceptions — a 103.8 quarterback rating.
Over the last two months since, he's thrown six touchdowns, eight interceptions and was sacked 21 times. His total QBR is 30th of eligible quarterbacks, while fellow 2016 draftee Prescott sits firmly on top with an 86.0 rating compared to Wentz' 47.1
Prescott has had a relatively healthy offensive unit all season long, with fellow rookie phenom Ezekiel Elliott a revelation running the ball and arguably the best offensive line in football protecting him.
Wentz, in Week 12's loss to the Packers, was playing with eight different starters from Week 1 with Ryan Mathews, Jordan Matthews and several offensive linemen out with injuries.
The immediate future is a little gloomy. But look at the long game.
"I think he'll definitely be in front of the curve, and it's still a work-in-progress, Doug Pederson said of Wentz. "If you look kind of fast forward to this upcoming offseason, we get a chance to really work with him and spend time more so on his mechanics and obviously the details of that. But he's working on it every day. It's definitely improved."
Wentz was injured a few times in college — and even when he was the North Dakota State slate was no where near as rigorous as the NFL's schedule. Is the quarterback just getting fatigued?
"He's a little different, and the reason I say he's different is because of where he's been from a college standpoint," Pederson said, responding to questions about an earlier answer he gave about players being tired down the stretch. "He's always been in the playoff system in college, so he's still playing this time of year. So, he understands that.
Everybody at this time of the season is tired, they are fatigued. And so the best I can do to keep them fresh, and obviously with quarterbacks, and that's minimizing the number of throws that we do in practice."
And perhaps in games too. Wentz has thrown 52 more passes than Prescott in the same number of games. There's a lot of wear and tear and hopefully Wentz will continue to progress. With Prescott likely to be under center for years to come for the Eagles' biggest rival, the rivalry between the two will continue — with Prescott clearly boasting more immediate successes.
"We're grown men playing the game we played as kids," Wentz said. "How cool is that."