Eagles NFL
092916CarsonWentz Chris Szagola/AP

"If you throw anything other than a checkdown today, you're cut."

September 29, 2016

Carson Wentz should not get credit for the Eagles' success because he 'dinks and dunks'

If you're an Eagles fan and you're excited about the early success of rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, I'm sorry to inform you that Wentz should not be given any credit because he doesn't take shots down the field.

According to Scott Kacsmar of Football Outsiders, Wentz has the third-shortest average "air yards per throw" (average distance the ball travels past the line of scrimmage per throw) in the NFL, at 6.86 yards.

In other words, sorry Eagles fans, but your new quarterback is a Checkdown Charlie dink-and-dunker.

Now, I know what your rebuttals are going to be, Eagles fans.

  1. The Eagles' heavy usage of screens serve as glorified running plays, therefore wildly skewing Wentz's numbers here. In other words, every time the Eagles run a screen, Wentz is chalked up with a big fat zero on yards traveled past the line of scrimmage. And maybe, just maybe, screens shouldn't be included in this metric as a measure of how often a quarterback will take shots down the field.
  2. The Eagles have had huge second half leads, so why on Earth would they continue to take risky shots down the field?
  3. The Eagles don't exactly have much in the way of vertical threats at the wide receiver position.

All of those rebuttals are wrong, and if you use them, you're dumb. Wentz is a dink-and-dunker, and should not be given undue credit for the Eagles' success so far:

To be sure, I went back to the tape to see if Kacsmar has a point. Indeed he does. The following is a clinic in garbage checkdown quarterbacking.

Dink...

Dunk...

Dink...

Dunk...

Dink...

Dunk...

Dink...

Dunk...

Dink...

Dunk...

Dink...

Dunk:

At some point, Carson Wentz is going to have to take a shot down the field, and when he does, I suspect the Eagles season will be over immediately.


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