One thing I appreciate about the community we’ve built here is that it’s grown into a place where I feel comfortable sharing personal anecdotes. For instance, I’ll own up to issues with (1) identifying red flags and (2) avoiding them. And when it comes to the Bears’ quarterback evaluation process, I fear that they might do the same things in brushing aside obvious red flags for the sake of a perceived right fit. More specifically, I’m talking about red flags that continue to pop up regarding Carson Wentz.
The PFF team has been flooding Twitter with Wentz-centric stats, nuggets, and info since trade rumors began heating up. And I’ve hit a point where I can’t ignore the obvious any longer. Because while I like Wentz’s potential and acknowledge his past excellence, PFF throwing a bucket of red flags out into the Twitterverse should make anyone pushing for a deal to pump the brakes.
I hope you’re sitting down for this:
I don’t know what’s more concerning: That Wentz’s 13 turnover-worthy throws came in 12 games, or that Trubisky’s 14 came in 8-and-a-half games while facing – by far – the easiest defensive matchups among all QBs.
A breakdown of Wentz’s league-leading 15 interceptions:
Carson Wentz INTs this season:
♦️ Under Pressure – 5
♦️ Kept Clean – 10 pic.twitter.com/tC3lX4kLoV
— PFF (@PFF) February 10, 2021
I get it. Interceptions happen. But he threw interceptions at a 3.4 percent clip in 2020. In other words, he was throwing them at a rate in which Bears fans chided Jay Cutler for when he was the team’s quarterback. Wentz’s 2020 numbers put him on a 20-INT rate per 16 games. That’s just unacceptable.
The collection of quarterbacks in the tweet below includes three Heisman Trophy winners and two quarterbacks selected with the second overall pick in their respective draft classes. And yet, here’s a whole bunch of cringe:
Lowest % of accurate passes thrown from a clean pocket over the past three seasons (2018-20), per @PFF's ball location charting:
30. Mitch Trubisky (59%)
31. Jameis Winston (59%)
32. Lamar Jackson (58%)
33. Cam Newton (58%)
34. Carson Wentz (57%)
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) February 6, 2021
OH COME ON:
Lowest accurate pass % on throws beyond the line of scrimmage in 2020:
♦️ Carson Wentz: 45.4%
♦️ Mitchell Trubisky: 46.2% pic.twitter.com/KX3JW4vkmA
— PFF (@PFF) February 6, 2021
Wentz literally took a beating in 2020:
Most sacks taken this season:
🔸 Russell Wilson – 51 (17 games)
🔸 Carson Wentz – 50 (12 games)
🔸 Deshaun Watson – 49 (16 games) pic.twitter.com/HwIJ1k1zHI
— PFF (@PFF) February 11, 2021
Wentz took sacks on 10.3 percent of his drop-backs last season. For comparison’s sake, Trubisky took them on just 5.7 percent of drop-backs. Nick Foles? Just 5.5 percent. Hmmm … maybe that’s a point in the column of the Bears being in a better place to protect Wentz moving forward? Stash that away for a rainy day, if necessary.
I don’t want to get bogged down in every stat, but there’s more. And if you’re still interested, PFF’s Sam Monson uses data to explain why Wentz isn’t worth the dice roll.
Of course, none of this is to say I’d run away from Wentz as a Bears quarterback option. There’s still talent, a unique prospect pedigree, and a track record from before 2020 that suggests Wentz isn’t who we saw in 2020. But that there’s no shortage of numbers to back it up is enough of a red flag that even I couldn’t ignore.