National Post (Latest Edition)

Wentz now a losing factor for Eagles

Perhaps Philly should have kept Foles around

- John Kryk Postmedia News

Two years and eight months ago, many of us wondered the same thing after the Philadelph­ia Eagles won Super Bowl LII, thanks largely to the insanely great play of temp- QB Nick Foles.

That is, shouldn’t the Eagles give at least Some considerat­ion to sticking with Foles as starter, once Carson Wentz returned later in 2018 from a torn ACL?

The club time and again that off- season immediatel­y shut down such talk. It was understand­able. The Eagles had surrendere­d a small trainload of draft picks for the right to select Wentz No. 2 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. And before he blew out a knee just one season later, in a December 2017 game at Los Angeles, Wentz had performed at an MVP level all season.

At that point, Wentz’s backup, Foles — who had bounced around from Philly to St. Louis to Kansas City since 2014 — had impressed no one anywhere, other than for a time in his early days in Philadelph­ia.

Yet Foles took the baton from Wentz and shockingly willed the Eagles to their first NFL championsh­ip of the Super Bowl era with one of the greatest, three-victory post- season performanc­e by a QB in NFL history.

Fast- forward to the last couple of days ...

Wentz is stinking it up worse than ever in Philly. He ranks 33rd in the NFL in passer rating ( 63.9), 33rd in average gain per attempt (5.6 yards), 32nd in intercepti­ons ( six), 29th in percentage of passes for touchdowns (2.3), 29th in completion percentage ( 59.8) and 36th in fourth-quarter passer rating ( a horrible 48.9). He seems to be regressing by every possible measure.

Lamely tying the winless Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday was the nadir of Wentz’s career. He’s now the first Philly QB since 1961 to throw multiple intercepti­ons in each of his team’s first three games.

“Carson’s our quarterbac­k,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson insisted. “We’re going to get it fixed. He’s going to get it fixed.”

Meantime, Foles — after a forgettabl­e year in Jacksonvil­le — jumped off the bench on Sunday to rescue the Chicago Bears from certain defeat in Atlanta, then on Monday was named by Bears head coach Matt Nagy as the team’s starting quarterbac­k this week against Indianapol­is, in place of ever- struggling Mitchell Trubisky.

You have to wonder. What might have happened to the Eagles had they stuck with Foles as starter in 2018, and traded away Wentz? Or just kept Wentz around for when Foles ran out of steam?

As it was, Wentz in 2018 played in only 11 games, from Weeks 3-13. He wasn’t fully recovered from his ACL tear to start the season (Foles started), and a fractured vertebra ended his season for the second straight year in December. Foles then led the

Eagles to an upset wild-card playoff win at Chicago, before losing narrowly to New Orleans a week later.

With Foles gone via free agency to Jacksonvil­le, the Eagles last season made the playoffs again, but Wentz was knocked out on the second drive of a wild- card playoff loss at home to Seattle.

So, from 2017- 19, Foles was 4-1 in the playoffs and won a Super Bowl for the Eagles. Wentz started one playoff game and completed one pass in a meek firstround exit.

Did the Eagles make the right choice in the days and months following Super Bowl LII in 2018?

It’s getting harder and harder to say yes.

Sorry to haul out this old cliche, but it’s really true. The more the Dallas Cowboys change, the more they stay the same.

They have a new head coach this year in Mike McCarthy. And they boast ( oh, do they boast) about having even more talented offensive playmakers on hand, especially sizzling rookie wideout Ceedee Lamb.

Yet the Cowboys for the life of them this season still cannot grab an early lead and hold onto it. They’re 1-2 on the season and are extremely fortunate to be that.

In their last 16 games over the past calendar year, the notoriousl­y slow- starting Cowboys have trailed 12 times either after the first quarter or at halftime. Three of the four exceptions came against awful teams last season: the New York Giants, Los Angeles Rams and Washington.

No matter, Cowboys owner/gm Jerry Jones surely will keep trying to convince us his team is Super Bowl ready. He just doesn’t get that when you’re lifeand- death just to make games competitiv­e again by the last 10 minutes, you’re not.


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