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June 07, 2019

Eagles Mailbag: Where does Carson Wentz rank among other quarterbacks around the NFL

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Carroll - Eagles Stock Carson Wentz Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz could be back on the practice field at the NovaCare Complex in June.

In our Eagles chat this week, there were a lot of questions that we could not get to in time or other questions we did answer but could use more color. And so, let's do a mailbag post to answer some of the overflow.

Question from Chumbo: If anyone thinks that Carson Wentz is a "top five" quarterback, then they would have to have him over at least one of Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes, or Russell Wilson. Do you think he's a top five quarterback?

Is he outright better than any of those guys? Accomplishment-wise, no, except for Mahomes. Is he a better quarterback than them, case-by-case? Maybe. When healthy, it's debatable with all of them.

In terms of would various teams trade their starter for Wentz, considering age, contract status, etc., I'd tier it like so:

• List of teams that would unquestionably take Wentz in half-a-heartbeat over their current starting quarterbackBills, Dolphins, Jets, Ravens, Bengals, Jaguars, Titans, Broncos, Raiders, Giants, Washington, Bears, Lions, Vikings, Panthers, Buccaneers.

• List of teams that might pause momentary, but would ultimately decide Wentz is better for them, unless they're moronsSteelers, Texans, Colts, Chargers, Cowboys, Falcons, Cardinals, Rams, 49ers.

• Teams that have quarterbacks who are probably better right now than Wentz, but would take Wentz because their current quarterbacks are nearing the ends of their careersPackers, Saints.

• List of teams that would probably continue to ride with their guy over WentzPatriots, Browns, Seahawks.

• List of teams that wouldn’t consider Wentz over their guyChiefs.


Question from Hinkie: The red zone offense is going to be fun. Alshon, Ertz, Goedert, Arcega-Whiteside. Who has the size to cover that?

There's obviously a lot more to defending in the red zone than just height, but looking at the division (using Ourlads' depth charts), the Cowboys have the best size at CB-S-LB:

 PositionCowboys Giants Washington 
 CB1Byron Jones (6'1) Janoris Jenkins (5'10) Josh Norman (6'0) 
 CB2 Chidobe Awuzie (6'0) Deandre Baker (5'11) Fabian Moreau (6'0)
 S Jeff Heath (6'1) Jabrill Peppers (5'11)Landon Collins (6'0) 
 S Xavier Woods (5'11) Antoine Bethea (5'11) Deshazor Everett (5'10)
 LB Leighton Vander Esch (6'4) Alec Ogletree (6'2) Mason Foster (6'1)
 LB Jaylon Smith (6'2) B.J. Goodson (6'1) Jon Bostic (6'1)

The Giants are obviously going to have difficulty matching up with four sub-6'0 starting defensive backs, though obviously they have bigger problems on their hands.

Question from Brian: Hello, Jimmy. Please help me make sense of this. Jim Schwartz basically said that Sidney Jones was a healthy scratch for the playoff game against the Saints. When Rasul Douglas got hurt in the second quarter, Josh Hawkins came into the game. Hawkins was a player who never played a snap for the Eagles before. Hawkins was then roasted in that game. Why in the world would Schwartz make that decision with the season on the line?

That's a good question, and deserves to be second guessed. It is worth noting, however, that the Saints basically built their entire game plan around specifically attacking Jones earlier in the season, when he was coming back from a hamstring injury. Obviously, that plan worked, and then some, in what was one of the worst Eagles blowout losses I can remember.

I can certainly understand Schwartz not wanting history to repeat itself. Ultimately, the Eagles gave up 20 points to arguably the best offense in the league. The Eagles' offense is the unit that didn't come through that day.

Based on what I saw from Avonte Maddox last year, I’d rank how he did at his three positions, from best to worst: (1) Safety, (2) Outside CB, (3) Slot CB. Personally, I thought he was terrific at the first two, and was just OK in the slot. Do you have any idea why it seems like the Eagles are putting him in the slot? Could it be that they think the same way as me and just want him to get more work there to improve?

To begin, I'd really have to look at cutups of Maddox playing at each spot, to see if I'd agree with your conclusions about where he played best. That said, if you are indeed correct that slot corner was his worst position, that would make sense, as a lot of NFL people believe that the hardest position to play on defense is, well, slot corner. 

For example, while Jeff Fisher isn't exactly a bastion of coaching excellence, watch him (rightfully) tell Lamarcus Joyner that very thing, when Joyner was disgruntled about his role in the Rams' defense because he didn't view slot corner as a starting spot.

Another example I'll give is Malcolm Jenkins. When the Eagles signed Jenkins as a free agent back in 2014, Eagles fans were piiiissssssed because the team chose him over Jairus Byrd. At the time, Jenkins had a bad grade from Pro Football Focus. The reason why? Because guys like Byrd had the relatively easy task of playing deep middle, while the Saints were asking Jenkins to cover stud receivers like Larry Fitzgerald man-to-man in the slot. 

Maddox is 5'9, 184, with outstanding quickness measurables.

He's also a tough, physical player who is not afraid to stick his nose in and make tackles. He is made to play slot corner.

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