Photo by 1219171817 by 7beachbum via Flickr.
This year, the Philadelphia Eagles look quite similar, if not better than their Super Bowl year. However, there is one distinct difference from then and now – and his name is Carson Wentz.
When Wentz went down with a torn ACL in late 2017, Eagles fans and the media thought they were crushed and that the season was over. Nick Foles stepped in and finished the job against the Rams that week, before pushing the team into the playoffs and eventually going to Super Bowl LII, beating Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
After last season’s heartbreaking NFC Divisional loss in New Orleans, the Eagles said goodbye to Foles as he went south to Jacksonville. While all this happened, Wentz was on the sidelines helping the team forward during their playoff run to Super Bowl LII, and again in 2018 since he was shut down due to lower back issues. Now, with the shadow of Nick Foles’ playoff run over him and Foles himself out of the way, Wentz has had a full offseason to focus for the first time since his rookie year in 2016. He also changed his eating habits, which was difficult.
Besides a new nutritional diet, he gained plenty of new weapons in the backfield and within the receiving core. With big free agents like returning wide receiver DeSean Jackson from Tampa Bay and running back Jordan Howard from Chicago, the Eagles have shown that they have only gotten better, and that they want to see Wentz thrive under pressure in the pocket.
By having these big veteran names like Jackson show up and thrive, it not only is a big boost for Wentz, but for the young guys on the team like rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and rookie running back Miles Sanders. Arcega-Whiteside is a phenomenal talent coming out of Stanford, and Sanders is a fantastic addition from Penn State in the backfield. By having that veteran presence in both the receiving corps and the backfield, it will only make it easier on Wentz to make the big throws and plays he has to make. This year would have to be a year in which we do it again.
“This is our year,” we always used to say every year until 2017. Even last year, we had the talent to repeat, it just didn’t translate, thanks in part to injuries and then some. However, this year is a different year.
This year is a part of Carson Wentz’s story of redemption, his way to get out of the shadow of what happened in 2017. What happened back then was then, and what happens next will be told this season. To all the doubters who think Wentz is injury prone – he may have had injuries in the past, but ultimately when he is at 100 percent, he gives it his all out there and is an MVP-caliber quarterback.
This season is a test to see if Carson Wentz can step outside of the shadows, where he has dwelled for the past two years. This is the beginning of his redemption, and this is not only our year, but his year to shine.
Jeffrey Babcock is a third-year student majoring in communications. JB884128@wcupa.edu