One of Carson Wentz’s former teammates believes the Eagles were too easy on the quarterback season in an effort to protect his ego.
Malcolm Jenkins played with Wentz for four seasons in Philadelphia before spending last year with the Saints, but he kept his eye on Philadelphia and Wentz’s dreadful season.
“As a teammate and friend of Carson, I think that it always starts with performance, and he hasn’t performed up to the expectations that everybody’s had for him,” Jenkins said Friday on “The Rich Eisen Show.” “I don’t think he would say he’s played up to his own expectations, but some of the other issues I felt when I was in the locker room was that there was just too much leeway, and it didn’t make him a better player.’’
Wentz played poorly enough that he was benched in favor of second-round pick Jalen Hurts, who sparked the team. Still, the Eagles finished 4-11-1, and head coach Doug Pederson was fired following the season.
Wentz’s status is unclear heading into the offseason, as he’s still guaranteed around $70 million on his contract.
As bad as Wentz played, Jenkins — who won Super Bowls in Philadelphia and New Orleans — also laid blame on the Eagles’ coaching staff.
“I don’t think they did him any favors by trying to … protect his ego or trying to really protect him as a player as opposed to — just like every other player — keeping it performance-based and really being real about what he needed to improve on,” Jenkins said. “But also adjusting to putting him in places that can make him successful. That’s a little on the coaching staff and some on the player.”
The Eagles recently hired Nick Sirianni to replace Pederson and Sirianni said during his introductory press conference he “can’t answer” whether Wentz will remain with the Eagles.
“What we need to do is evaluate the entire roster,” Sirianni said. “We have two quarterbacks in Carson Wentz and Jalen Hurts that are top-notch quarterbacks. A lot of teams don’t have any. So just really excited to work with both of them.’’ Nick Foles did the same thing in 2017-18 and led the Eagles to a Super Bowl championship
Jenkins noted Hurts was able to “ignite a little bit of juice into the team — and that’s not the first time that that’s happened from a backup quarterback obviously in Philly — so it’s one of those things where something has to change. Whether you put that onus on the coaching staff or you put that onus on the players that are there, but I mean there’s obviously going to be a lot of work to be done there.”