Reading the local perspective of city’s new quarterback is one thing, but what do the people in the national media think about Carson Wentz? With the help of NFL insider Field Yates, we open the floor for discussion about Wentz’ first year in the NFL, his future and if the Eagles are on the upswing for the 2017 season.
Field Yates is the new and fresh star in Bristol, Connecticut, roaming the ESPN campus. Since his arrival in 2012, Yates’s popularity has soared through shows like “Fantasy Football Now,” “NFL Insiders,” “NFL Live,” and “SportsCenter.” His insider knowledge of what’s happening behind closed doors of NFL franchises have helped him climb the ESPN ranks and now, he co-hosts one of the most popular fantasy football podcast in the country with Matthew Berry called “Fantasy Focus.” Yates spent two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs in the front office and four summers interning with the Patriots. He knows talent when he sees it.
Were you surprised Wentz started in the beginning of the season last year and how hot he was out of the gates?
Field Yates: “No doubt about it. I don’t’ think anybody who says otherwise is being forthright. This was a player—who, if anything—I would have expected to struggle out of the gate. It’s hard for any rookie quarterback to play well in the NFL, and then you couple that with a basically last-minute change to quarterback where he went from expecting to be second—maybe third—string quarterback last season to all of a sudden being catapulted to the starter. It was 10 days before the regular season last year, sure, I would have assumed trouble would have ensued, not the opposite. Now I understand that the slate coming out of the gate was not the most difficult thing with the opening game against Cleveland in his debut weren’t the ‘85 Bears, but still, they played very effectively and it hit its crescendo in the massive win over the Steelers when they won by over 30 points.”
What is it about Carson Wentz that could potentially propel him into the top tier of quarterback in the NFL?
FY: “Guys who were a part of that offense last year and saw that when the storm picked up and the waves were mounting, this wasn’t the guy who lost control of the ship. He was someone that powered through adverse times and that’s impressive for a guy that wasn’t even 25 years old. It’s something that we see with a Derek Carr in Oakland and certainly Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay, and Carson Wentz fits that same bill in Philadelphia.”
Wentz worked out with a throwing coach in the offseason. Is the Eagles organization okay with that?
FY: “First of all, he wants to get better. If that’s an issue with the coaching staff maybe the issue is something deeper rooted. Second of all, NFL players have so little access to their coaching staff during the season that they have to find alternative methods and options. Going to a mechanics coach during the time of year when you can’t even talk football with your own head coach, as crazy as that may seem, is in many ways pertinent. So many of the best quarterbacks in the league have worked with mechanic coaches in the past, Tom Brady is the most notable example of his work with throwing coaches in the past, and it has probably had some level of influence on what he’s done with the Patriots. I don’t think the Eagles coaching staff has any issue with Carson Wentz, especially because I think everyone would agree that down the stretch of last season, it just wasn’t good enough from a mechanics standpoint.”
You’re in a 12-team, snake-style fantasy football draft. Where do you take Wentz?
FY: “I think Carson Wentz is probably going to be drafted somewhere between rounds 12 to 15 depending on if it’s a two-quarterback league, if it’s a six-point passing touchdown league, but I’d certainly make the case that he’s a guy who could end up being a weekly starter this season based off of the receiving corps that Philadelphia has right now.”
Will the Eagles make the playoffs this season?
FY: “I’ll go with no, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be a successful second campaign for Carson Wentz. It’s a division I can see, at least two teams coming out as champs without having to stretch much—that would be the Giants and the Cowboys, of course. But I think right there with the NFC West, NFC South, and maybe one other as the most competitive in football.”