Tue. Sep 29th, 2020

Dan Orlovsky sat down with the Eagles Wire to talk…

7 min read
Dan Orlovsky sat down with the Eagles Wire to talk...


Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has been under the microscope all season. The 2016 No. 2 overall pick has had his ups and downs in his career, but 2019 has been its own roller coaster. Wentz entered the season with many, including myself, predicting that Wentz would win the NFL MVP award when the 2019 season ended. However, as we enter Week 15, somehow the conversation has shifted to whether Wentz is a franchise quarterback. It is bizarre how quickly the narrative has shifted, but welcome to 2019.

It is well known that I am the driver of the “Wentz Wagon.” During Wentz’s draft process, we had him as the No. 1 player in the entire class, a “can’t miss prospect.”

One thing is for sure, the Wentz Wagon has gotten lighter this season. Before my wife and I got married last weekend, I asked her in my vows if she is on or off of the Wentz Wagon because she was teetering the line of not believing in the Eagles signal-caller. Luckily, she is on (which meant I actually married her).

She is my co-pilot in life, but on the Wentz Wagon, it is clear that former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky is riding shotgun with me.

Orlovsky has made a name for himself in the media world because of the fire and passion he brings while talking about the game. His knowledge is evident and he isn’t falling victim to the hot take media world that has sadly taken over. Orlovsky would rather have the correct take than the hot one, and when he talks about Wentz on national television, he couldn’t be more spot on.

“I love his game,” Orlovsky told The Eagles Wire. “I love the game, the talent, and the skill set he has. I always like guys that can do things that you can’t coach. I think Carson has some natural talents and gifts that you can’t coach. His creativity is not something you can drill into guys. It is a very natural thing, an innate thing. The different arm angles he can throw from, are things again, you can’t just be like ‘hey let’s do this drill to teach this stuff.’ I always like that stuff. I think he is very bright. I think he is a really good competitor. There is creativity to his game that is very unique.”

Orlovsky has become known as a Wentz defender, but what makes his evaluation on Wentz even better is the fact that he has a spot-on criticism of Wentz.

“It doesn’t always have to be a wow play,” said Orlovsky. “We see that sometimes with guys, guys who have the crazy arm strength, they think they have to make every ‘wow’ throw. That is not needed. Not every play needs to be a ‘wow’ play. He is such a talented kid; he feels like he can make that play and he thinks he can make every single play.”

“That is why I made the Clark Kent, Superman analogy. You can play a boring brand of football at times, check downs, easy throw, or simple stuff. There are 65-70 plays in a game. There are going to be plenty of opportunities for you to be different, to be special. It is a fine line to figuring it out to feel when those are and to figure out when to take them and when to not. My criticism is part of him maturing, it doesn’t always have to be the home run, hitting singles works sometimes too.”

After his 2017 season, many felt if he did not tear his ACL, he would have been the NFL MVP.   However, since 2017, another season-ending injury in 2018 and the up and down season this year has led to some uncertainty from fans and analysts. A big question surrounding Wentz is how good can he be? Orlovsky thinks he can be great, saying, “I absolutely think he can become one of the great quarterbacks of the game. Again, there is a talent level there. There are only 32 starters on the planet, and there are not a lot of guys that have the raw talent that he has, even out of that group of 32.”

Some of the people who have jumped off of the Wentz Wagon have jumped off because the Eagles have been losing, which they put on Wentz. However, a lot of people have lost the idea that there is context when talking football and it isn’t as simple as heads or tails.

Orlovsky and I talked in-depth about the Eagles’ lack of weapons due to injuries this season and how not being on the same page with the new targets impacts the quarterback. I asked Orlovsky how big of a deal the lack of weapons and trust is on a quarterback’s confidence and he said, “That is massive! That is a big deal, yeah. You’re the person who has the football in your hands. You’re the person who is either going to be cheered or booed, really.

If you throw the ball and the guy isn’t there or not looking and it ends up being intercepted, they’re not going to boo the receiver, you’re going to get booed. It is a massive deal. It is one of those things that are important to me, making sure people understand it is a big-picture thing. There is a macro and a micro view of this.”

A lot of Wentz’s criticism has led to some debate on whether the Eagles should have kept Nick Foles, as well as the famous Dak Prescott vs. Carson Wentz Twitter debate. When asked about who he thought was better between Foles vs. Wentz and Prescott vs. Wentz, Orlovsky said the following, “Nick Foles was outstanding at the moment and had an outstanding run. He should be commended for that and he obviously has. Do I think that Dak does things better than Carson? I think that Dak probably has a little bit more natural leadership than Carson does.

Again, this is from an outsider’s perspective. I think Carson is learning about leadership. I think Carson can do things talent-wise and physically that Dak just can’t. Who is better? I like Carson better as a player. I think they are good players, but I think Carson is a much more talented and better player.”

Wentz faced a big moment in his career last week on Monday Night Football against the 2-10 New York Giants. Down 14 in the second half, Wentz took over. He was 22-31 for 228 yards and two touchdowns in the second half and overtime. Wentz threw a walk-off touchdown pass to tight end, Zach Ertz, in overtime to cap off what Orlovsky called, “The biggest and most needed win of his career.” Orlovsky also added, “Has there been better statistical, or eye-popping stuff? Yeah. But it was because he didn’t and couldn’t do that. Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback ever in this regard.

He is like, ‘Okay, I have this game, this is my team, this is the team I am playing against, how do I beat their team with what I have?’ And going into that game you have to have this mindset, ‘We are beaten up, how do we beat this team?’ You don’t just go out and play. You have to be tactical with the variables around you. And then when the injuries happened, I literally said to myself, ‘Okay, this has to be a game where Carson has to get the ball out of his hands, you have to make sure you do not take sacks, and then you’re going to have to let other people do some stuff and hopefully they do.’

I think he threw more check-downs in that game than he has all year. To do that, and reap the benefits of it, you can change as a player because you finally have proof. You finally get it. It is like you tell your kid, if you want this, you have to do this. To do what you want to do, you have to do what you need to do. Carson, to do what you want to do, which is to win the football game, you have to do what you need to do, which is don’t turn it over and don’t take sacks, and don’t try to do too much. Once you experience that, you’re like, ‘Huh, okay.’ And I think that can have a really big impact on him.”

Not only did the win have a big impact on Wentz, but there seems to be new energy found by the Eagles. A win over the 2-10 Giants may sound like nothing on paper, but this may be the spark the Eagles needed. The spark may push the Eagles into the playoffs by winning the NFC East. How impressive would it be for Wentz to lead the Eagles to the playoffs? “It is just as impressive as the MVP season,” said Orlovsky. “It is not going to feel the same, but it is just as impressive as the Nick Foles run, in a way. I am not saying it is to that magnitude, but it will be impressive to get this team to the playoffs when everyone has written you off.”

Wentz is doing everything he can to will his team into the playoffs, but the task is a lot tougher than most realize. However, if Wentz and the Eagles win the NFC East and sneak into the playoffs, Orlovsky thinks the Eagles could catch fire, saying, “I had them going to the Super Bowl, so if they get some of those pieces healthy and Lane is healthy, and DeSean is healthy, and the corners can cover somebody; they could become a dangerous football team.”


Former NFL QB and current ESPN Analyst Dan Orlovsky talks Carson Wentz: "I love his game."

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