The Philadelphia Eagles seem intent on fixing Carson Wentz, but it’s a complicated task and one he has to be an active participant in. The franchise cannot continue to coddle the one-time Pro Bowl quarterback and expect different results. That’s the definition of insanity.
Wentz may or may not find himself in an open competition for the starting job at training camp. New head coach Nick Sirianni was non-committal about the situation. According to former Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, “something has to change” in Philly before it’s too late.
Their long-time leader put some of the onus on the coaching staff and some on Wentz who should want to improve. Jenkins was commenting on the Eagles during an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show where he spoke honestly for almost five minutes.
Jenkins left Philly after the 2019 season after the team didn’t meet his contract demands. But the 33-year-old still has his pulse on the Eagles’ locker room and knows the issues with Wentz. The organization gave him “too much leeway,” according to Jenkins, and chose to “protect his ego” versus coaching him hard. Jenkins considers Wentz a friend and calls himself an “Eagles fan” but Sirianni is inheriting a ton of work in the coming months.
“As a teammate and friend of Carson’s, I think that it always starts with performance, right? And he hasn’t performed up to the expectation that everybody has had for him,” Jenkins said. “And I don’t think he would say that he’s played up to his own expectations but some of the other issues that I felt when I was in the locker room was that there was just too much leeway, and it didn’t make him a better player.
“I don’t think they did him any favors by trying to protect his ego or trying to, you know, just really protect him as a player as opposed to keeping it performance-based, and really being real about what he needs to improve on, but also adjusting to put him into places that can make him successful.”
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What’s the Definition of Insanity Again?
Jenkins, borrowing an old line from Joe Banner circa 2009, referenced an insane person doing the same thing over and over again. He wouldn’t put all the blame on Wentz but it’s definitely a two-way street.
“And I think that’s a little bit on the coaching side, that’s some onus on the player,” Jenkins continued. “You know, every player should go into every offseason evaluating what they did well, what they didn’t do well and you look to see improvement year after year. But if that’s not the case and you don’t see it and there are changes and it’s not being addressed, then you almost feel as a player like what are we doing?
“To do the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity — and, unfortunately, I think a little bit of that has taken place over the last few years and obviously this offseason showed that something had to change in a major way and Carson’s still there and regardless of who they bring in to coach him, he’s still going to have to improve as a player in order for that team to have success.”
He also brought up team owner Jeffrey Lurie who mentioned the Eagles were in a rebuilding phase earlier in the offseason. While it’s true the franchise has some tough decisions on the horizon — Zach Ertz is probably gone, Jason Kelce might retire, what about Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox? — the players in that locker room don’t ever want to hear that. Neither do the Philly fans.
“Look, they got a situation where obviously all that went down with Carson Wentz this year, a lot of money invested into him and then you had Jalen Hurts come in and really take command of the offense,” Jenkins said. “It ignited a little bit of juice into the team and that’s not the first time that has happened from a backup quarterback in Philly. It’s one of those things where something has to change, whether you put that onus on the coaching staff, or you put that onus on the players that are there but there’s obviously going to be a lot of work to be done there.”
Getting Back to Football Fundamentals
Sirianni was officially introduced at a press conference on Friday and the reactions were priceless. Whatever your opinion on how the 39-year-old coach handled himself, it was important to hear a little bit about his philosophy. One thing that stood out was the way he described getting back to football fundamentals. Sirianni even referenced Philly’s favorite lost son, Kobe Bryant.
“I remember a quote. I like to study great players and great athletes and great coaches. Kobe Bryant is one person I’ve loved to study more than anybody,” Sirianni said. “He talked about how, yes, he was extremely talented, but at the core of his game was the fundamentals. When you can combine the fundamentals and you combine that with the talent, that’s when you get a player to reach the level of excellence. Those are the core values that I’d like to bring here and build upon here of the Philadelphia Eagles.”