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Evaluating rookie QB Carson Wentz’s play so far

Expectations are high for rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, who the Philadelphia Eagles selected with the second overall pick in this year’s draft.

The Eagles haven’t had a franchise quarterback since Donovan McNabb, and fans and coaches alike are hoping Wentz can be that guy.

Wentz played the majority of the team’s first preseason matchup against the Bucs, entered the game with 1:19 left in the second quarter. Eagles fans chanted “We Want Wentz!” and they got what they asked for. We’re going to attempt to break down his play in the game from that point on.

Some good things, some bad things

It’s clear that Wentz needs to work on his accuracy, just like most rookie quarterbacks. That was the one glaring weakness.

However, he did do a lot of things well. He showed a great pocket presence and also displayed how tough he is, absorbing a ton of hits but bouncing back each time. Wentz’s arm strength was also noticeable, but unfortunately for him his receivers didn’t get much separation. And, as advertised, it’s clear that he’s very mobile and moves well both inside and outside the pocket.

Nevermind the box score: offensive line did him no favors

While Wentz’s numbers were pedestrian at best: 12-of-24 passes for 89 yards (1 interception), it’s important to note the offensive line looked sieve-like at times, a problem that has plagued the team in the past.

Wentz was hit plenty of times, and also was faced with the difficult task of worrying where a free rusher was coming from nearly every other passing down. That’s not easy for a rookie quarterback, as the speed of the game at the NFL level is lightning-fast.

An unfortunate series of events

Wentz suffered a hairline fracture in his ribs, and there is no timetable for his return at the current time. It happened during his second-to-last play in the fourth quarter, when he got drilled by Bucs LB Micah Awe.

Obviously, the timing here couldn’t be any worse. The plan was for Wentz to play as much as possible in preseason games (which you can bet on at http://oddsdigger.com) and get some reps under his belt, while he sits and watches veteran Sam Bradford once the meaningful games start. Now, it looks like the watching will start sooner than expected, which isn’t a good thing.

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