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Donovan McNabb sees next two years as critical for Carson Wentz

Mike Florio

The Eagles have gone all in with Carson Wentz, as expected. But expectations remain high for a team that won a Super Bowl two years ago and got surprisingly close to a return in 2018, without Wentz under center for the postseason run.

With the guy who won a Super Bowl and took the team surprisingly close to a return in 2018 now gone, the pressure falls on Wentz to deliver. A former Eagles quarterback who took the team to four straight NFC title games (and one Super Bowl) has an opinion regarding the leeway that the second pick in the 2016 draft should receive.

“I think in the next . . . two years or so he has to find a way to get . . .  out of the second round of the playoffs,” Donovan McNabb told Zach Gelb of CBS Sports Radio. McNabb said that, if Wentz doesn’t do that, the Eagles should consider their options at the position, pointing out that the success of Nick Foles “proves . . . that some people can get into that offense and be very successful.”

“If [Wentz] can’t get out of the second round they should look to possibly draft another quarterback because you just don’t know about his durability,” McNabb said. “Staying healthy is very key in this league.”

Whether the Eagles share McNabb’s view isn’t known. The best evidence will come from whether, and when, Wentz gets a new contract. The Eagles undoubtedly will exercise his fifth-year option before the looming May 3 deadline. The bigger question is whether they’ll transform the remainder of his rookie deal into a long-term contract, or whether a year from now Wentz will be in the same position as the first two picks in 2015 (Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota), entering the option year with no commitment beyond it.

Plenty of Eagles fans remain skeptical of Wentz, and loyal to Foles. That same attitude apparently lurks in the locker room, given the leaks regarding Wentz (that weren’t decried by him as “fake news“) and the Jobu-style shrine that was built for Foles last season. If Wentz can’t stay healthy and/or can’t take the team to the same level of success that Foles did, maybe the long-term play for the franchise will be to resort to the drawing board, and look for a new franchise quarterback.

That said, Wentz has the ability to do everything Foles did, and more. The first key will be to stay healthy. The second key will be to operate within the confines of the offense, a burden that applies equally to Wentz and to the coaching staff, which can become sufficiently intoxicated by Wentz’s skills to stray from the plan. The third key will be having enough help around him to get the team to where it can go, and it can go very far with Wentz.