The measure of a true superstar quarterback is if he makes everyone better around him.
One of the biggest defenses for former Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford is that he’s “never had help.”
It’s true, Bradford never really had a star receiver or a great offense around him, and as such he posted fairly average numbers. A really, great quarterback like Tom Brady makes everyone around him better. How many no-name wideouts has Brady turned into potent weapons seemingly out of nowhere?
Carson Wentz, the Eagles rookie QB who lit up the lowly Browns in his NFL debut looks like he has that quality — much like Donovan McNabb did when he was making NFC title games with the likes of James Thrash, Freddie Mitchelland Todd Pinkston.
Are Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor better than aforementioned Thrash or Pinkston? Or than Julian Edelman, Deion Branch, or Wes Welker — who were on nobody’s radar before Tom Brady was throwing to them?
With Wentz Sunday the Eagles’ duolooked like pro bowlers, hauling in perfectly thrown long-ball touchdown passes en route to a 29-10 victory to start things in South Philly.
Pro football focus ranked the Eagles receivers 29th out of 32 team groups prior to the season, citing Agholor (who had four catches for 57 yards in Week 1) as the worst rated WR in the entire league in 2015.
Matthews had 997 receiving yards and eight touchdowns on 126 targets and 85 receptions last year. Can he keep the pace of catching seven passes for 114 yards all season? Who knows— Sunday was too small a sample size. But the poise the rookie showed in the pocket and the protection he was given behind center made him look like a seasoned veteran.
“I think some of the best quarterbacks in this league have a chip on their shoulder,” Matthews said of Wentz Sunday. “So when they go out and go play the game – whether its practice, regular game, us just going and throwing routes when nobody is looking – its game reps for him. He has a maturity about him that even if it’s not crunch time, he’s always treating it like it is. So then when you come out into a game, he just goes and plays and it’s easy for him.”
To be a champion a team really doesn’t need hall of fame receivers or tight ends. But it needs either a hall of fame defense, or a hall of fame quarterback.
The Eagles have a solid defense — but Wentz making the players around him better could be the catalyst for the next era of success at Lincoln Financial Field. Just ask tight end Zach Ertz.
“The thing that everyone doubted us on was whether or not he was a good quarterback, but we knew what we had in the building all along with Carson,” Ertz, who is likely out with a rib injury Monday, said.”He is a special, special player. He didn’t play like a rookie today by any means. To go out there in your first start with pretty much eight days’ notice and to not have any turnovers speaks volumes about his play.”
But lets put on the breaks. There are 15 more games this season and countless more in what will hopefully be a long and healthy career in the NFL for Wentz.
That being said, there’s no harm in pontificating just a little bit.
“Obviously, enjoy it,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said earlier this week when asked what his advice was for Wentz following Sunday.”This business is short-lived. You get a chance to watch the film and make the corrections, and then we’re right on to the next opponent. It’s a different set of circumstances. It’s like every one of our golf games in here: one day you shoot 75 and the next day you shoot 85. You just have to take each game in stride.”