Warning: Story contains coarse language
The Philadelphia Eagles looked like a different team this season with Nick Foles under center rather than Carson Wentz, and issues surrounding the former No. 2 overall pick's leadership, attitude, and inability to consistently play within the team's scheme may have been the cause.
Sources within and outside the Eagles organization paint Wentz as a complex personality who, while "incredibly hard-working" and "intelligent," is seen in the team's locker room as "selfish," "uncompromising," "egotistical," and lacking in accountability, according to the PhillyVoice's Joe Santoliquito.
Foles, meanwhile, is apparently "universally loved."
"Carson Wentz's biggest enemy is Carson Wentz," one source told Santoliquito. "He's had his ass kissed his whole life, and sometimes acts like he's won 10 Super Bowls, when he hasn't played in, let alone won, a playoff game yet. Everyone around him wants good things for him. He did more thinking on the field than he did playing (in 2018). You don't have to be a brain surgeon or a football expert to see how differently this team plays and reacts with one guy as opposed to the other."
New offensive coordinator Mike Groh bore the brunt of the criticism for the Eagles' struggles this year, as the offense scored a league-best 29 points per game in 2017 compared to 22.1 in 2018. But Wentz apparently created friction by overcomplicating the offense and failing to play within the structure that helped lead the Eagles to Super Bowl glory.
Santoliquito pointed to the departures of former OC Frank Reich, now the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, and John DeFilippo, who recently joined the Jacksonville Jaguars as their OC, as a major reason for the issues surrounding Wentz.
The young passer, who was one of the leading MVP candidates in 2017 before tearing his ACL, reportedly "bullied" Groh and didn't want to run the same concepts the team did under Reich because he felt they were "Foles' stuff."
Wentz was also criticized for over-targeting tight end Zach Ertz, who set an NFL single-season record for tight ends with 116 catches. However, Wentz and Foles actually threw to Ertz at around the same rate (9.6 to 9.3 times per game), according to Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation.
The Eagles got of to a 1-1 start with Foles under center before Wentz made his season debut. They went just 5-6 over the next 11 games before Wentz's back injury forced them to go back to Foles, who rattled off three straight wins to secure a playoff spot and then upset the Chicago Bears in the wild-card round.
Several members of the Eagles quickly came to Wentz's defense Monday on Twitter.
The Eagles have committed to Wentz as their quarterback of the future, and he is reportedly expected to be healthy for the team's offseason program in April.
Foles, meanwhile, will likely attempt to hit free agency. He has a $20-million team option which he can buy out of by paying back $2 million. However, it's possible the Eagles could try and orchestrate a trade with the use of the franchise tag.