Welcome, Nick Sirianni: Now please go fix Carson Wentz originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Hi Nick. Welcome to Philly. Now go fix Carson Wentz.
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OK, maybe put together a coaching staff, take a walk around the NovaCare Complex and meet some of your new coworkers in Philadelphia first. You can certainly do those things and probably should. (Congrats on the job, by the way.)
But then go fix Carson Wentz.
If you’re putting together a to-do list, please put that at the top. Because here in Philly, we’ve watched an MVP candidate suffer injury after injury after injury and the one season he didn’t get hurt, he regressed worse than any quarterback in NFL history. Your new bosses know Wentz is talented; they think he’s fixable. And I’m guessing they hired you, in part, for this reason.
I’m sure you have a plan. You have to. You probably laid it out for Jeff Lurie, Howie Roseman and the rest of the Eagles’ brass during your interview in Palm Beach, Florida, this week. You don’t have to tell us the whole plan, just please have one and make it a good one.
Surely, you heard what Lurie said publicly about the topic:
“On the quarterback situation, we've got two really interesting asset,” Lurie said. “They are both young. They are both hungry. They are terrific people, very different and terrific people. A coach is going to have options. A coach is going to have an ability to fix what he feels is necessary in our offense and have a potential star in Carson and a potential star in Jalen (Hurts). That gives us an asset, also, so that if we end up deciding on one some day, the other is a really good asset.”
Yeah, he called them assets. And while it might sound like the Eagles are open to going forward with either quarterback, just follow the money to find their real preference. Even if the Eagles trade Wentz this offseason, he’ll count as $34 million in dead money — a new record — against the cap. If it’s really unfixable, that’s an option. But it’s probably the last resort.
And if Wentz were to be traded, there’s a good chance his landing spot might be with your former boss Frank Reich in Indianapolis. Are you a prideful guy, Nick? Wouldn’t you rather be the guy to fix Wentz?
Go into your first meeting with Wentz with an open mind. He’s a nice, Christian guy with an affinity for the outdoors, but he has an ornery side as well. You might have read about that. The first job you’ll have is to figure out how to get through to Wentz and get him to admit he needs help; that’s a major step forward.
Even if you convince Wentz he needs help and begin working to repair his relationship with the Eagles, you might need to repair some relationships in the locker room. It’s not that Wentz doesn’t have allies, but it definitely seems like some of his teammates and some of the (former? current?) coaching staff didn’t like the lack of accountability and coach-ability Wentz has shown in recent seasons.
So to recap: You have to convince Wentz he needs help, boost his confidence, repair his relationship with the Eagles, the Eagles’ relationship with him and, oh yeah, make sure all that leads to him playing wayyyyy better than he did in 2020 when he was benched after 11 1/2 games. Got all that? I didn’t say it was going to be easy.
But you’re built for this, right Nick? I mean, after all, you’ve worked with some pretty good quarterbacks before. And you’ve helped them rebound from rough patches.
Remember in 2013 when you arrived in San Diego as a quality control coach? Philip Rivers was coming off a down year in which he threw for just 3,600 yards with 26 touchdowns and a passer rating just above 88. But in 2013, he went back to the Pro Bowl and finished off his career with eight more seasons with 4,000+ yards. Here’s a look at Rivers’ average season as a starter with you coaching him and without you coaching him:
6 season with you: 65.5%, 4,438 yards, 29.5 touchdowns, 14 interceptions
9 seasons without you: 64.5%, 4,074 yards, 27 touchdowns, 14 interceptions
Or how about the time you arrived in Indianapolis in 2018 and helped Andrew Luck rebound after missing the entire 2017 season with a shoulder injury. Some thought Luck would never play again, but you were able to help build back his confidence and in his final NFL season, Luck was tremendous. He threw for over 4,500 yards with 39 touchdowns and had the highest passer rating of his six-year NFL career. He chose to retire but if he kept playing, you would have helped him continue to succeed.
Even in 2019, you took Jacoby Brissett and on short notice had him playing fairly well. The team took a step backward that season but it was a great effort with the backup quarterback who was suddenly thrust into the starting role.
Try to bring some of that magic with you to Philly. Because there’s a quarterback here who could definitely use it.
No, Nick, the Eagles didn’t hire you just to fix Carson Wentz. But if you do it? You’ll be a hero in this city.
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