I will readily admit that I did not expect Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles to be this good this quickly. Wentz burst on the scene last year and had all the East Coast media hyperventilating. He came crashing back to earth in the second half of the season but the buzz had been built and the media declared him one of the up-and-coming Quarterbacks to watch in 2017. For once, the media was actually correct. At least, the signs appear to be pointing in that direction.
Through six games, Wentz has thrown nearly 1,600 yards, 13 touchdowns, and only 3 interceptions. He has a passer rating of 99.6. If you look a little more closely at his numbers, his improvement seems to be pretty easy to pinpoint: He protects the ball better than last year and he is making his completions count more. His completion percentage is actually almost 2% points lower than his rookie season, but he is throwing for a much higher TD% and a much lower INT%. Also, his Yards Per Attempt is substantially better in 2017. Eagles’ fans have to be excited about the future with the growth they have seen in year two for Wentz.
On Monday Night Football, Marcus Mariota played on one leg and had one of the best games of his young career. It was the type of performance that if he played for a team like Dallas, New York, or some other perennial media darling, it would be the talk of every NFL writer in the country. Instead, it mostly got ignored because of the Titans.
That’s fine. The fans in Nashville, the smart ones that is, know what they have in Mariota. His teammates know what they have. His running ability was completely non-existent on Monday night due to a hamstring injury. He had to be a pocket passer in the most strict sense of the term. He had less mobility than Tom Brady. In a must-win game, against a division opponent that the Titans have not beaten since 2011, Marcus Mariota threw for over 300 yards with a 72% completion percentage.
He led the team on three touchdown scoring drives in the second half. He carried the offense on his back and his one good leg. It’s was a defining game for a young QB. In a perfect world, it would have received much more attention than it has.
What is going on in Atlanta? Matt Ryan looks like he has a bad case of the Super Bowl hangover. He has not played up to his usual standards at any point this season. And now, the Ryan lead Falcons blew a 17 point first half lead to the lowly Miami Dolphins led by the most hated QB in America, Jay Cutler. Evidently, Atlanta is not that great and Miami is not nearly as bad as people think. Ryan has to get things on track or this season will be a perpetual series of one lackluster game after another. The Falcons might still end the season with a winning record. But for a team that was as good as they were in 2016, that is not nearly good enough.
Deshaun Watson is a freak. I had a strong suspicion he would be good in the NFL but I never expected this. He has taken over the starting Quarterback position for the Houston Texans and in just a handful of games, has thrown for a league-best 15 touchdowns. It’s not all sunshine and roses with his game yet – he still throws a good number of head-scratchers every game – but what he has done so far is nothing short of amazing.
My guess is, he will take a step or two back down the stretch of the season, as most rookie QB’s do once defenses get some tape on them, but that won’t take away what he has accomplished so far. And for what its worth, REO saw the rise and stardom of Watson quite some time back. Read about it here. (This is in the bad category because he plays for the Texans and they are division rivals with the Titans – my team. I am rooting for Watson but his success hurts my team.)
The NFL is a lesser thing without Aaron Rodgers. Every game he plays is must-see TV. He is the most impressive Quarterback I have ever seen play the game. He does things no other QB can do. And now, he is probably going to miss the rest of the season. That sucks. It sucks for Green Bay fans. It sucks for NFL fans. Hopefully, he can heal and come back this season. If Brett Hundley can keep the Packers in the mix, maybe Rodgers can return and add another chapter to his legend with an improbable playoff run.