In 2016, WalterFootball.com released their scouting report on quarterback Carson Wentz. His strengths included decision-making, leadership, and good character. However, in the last two seasons, these characteristics have led him out the door for the Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles. How did we get here? Can he reset his career with the Washington Commanders?
Making Sense Of Carson Wentz’s Exit With The Colts
A five-time NCAA FCS national champion in a weak conference. A number two overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft for a team with one of the most toxic fanbases in the league. Let’s be honest, expectations were unreasonable for the former Bison. His rookie year was abysmal, however, he exploded in 2017 before tearing his ACL in Week 14. He was on pace to throw 40 touchdowns and was a clear MVP favorite. Nick Foles took his place and delivered one of the most inspirational campaigns in Philly since the fictional boxer Rocky Balboa.
The Eagles won a ring but Wentz was reportedly furious. Wentz would have to look at a Foles statue outside of Lincoln Financial Field while also pleasing a crowd who would immediately call for his replacement after a three-and-out or interception. It didn’t statistically impact him until 2020 when he was sacked 50 times and completed a near league-worst 57.4 percent of his passes. He also felt the pressure from potential replacement Jalen Hurts who was drafted in the 2nd round and eager for playing time. Wentz was benched after 12 games and began showing some of his character flaws.
Several unnamed Eagles called Wentz “selfish, uncompromising, egotistical, and unwilling to take accountability”.
“…sometimes acts like he’s won 10 Super Bowls”, said another player.
While players took to social media to deny the reports, the damage was already done.
Internally, there were relationships fractured beyond repair within the Eagles organization. Most notably were coach Doug Pederson and Wentz. Wentz could have attempted to win back the starting job during the offseason but wanted a change of scenery instead. He ran from adversity and requested a trade.
He couldn’t have been put in a better situation. He was going to reunite with former offensive coordinator Frank Reich in Indianapolis.
Colts owner Jim Irsay demands success. Still searching for their first Super Bowl appearance since 2010, his impatience has only been growing. The hope was that Wentz could provide a similar turnaround that Matthew Stafford did with the Los Angeles Rams this year. The season didn’t look promising until a mid-season shift that left them 9-6 in Week 16.
However, it is worth noting that the Colts were 1-4 when Carson Wentz was asked to throw for more than 240 yards. That one win was against the New York Jets who were playing their third-string quarterback Josh Johnson. Simply put, Wentz was not the one responsible for the success of the team, and if anything he almost put the team in jeopardy for refusing to get vaccinated and contracted the virus heading to Week 17. He was ineffective yet again and their playoff chances were slipping away as they lost to the Raiders.
They were headed to Jacksonville to take on a team with an interim head coach and no identity. Easy, right? However, history wasn’t in their favor. The Jaguars haven’t lost to the Colts at home since 2014. The streak stayed alive thanks to a major upset. Could it have been that Irsay’s critical comments got to Wentz similar to when he was in Philly? Was it the lack of commitment? Either way, it was clear that the Wentz era had ended before it even got a chance to start as the Colts had missed the playoffs.
Carson Wentz has become a dysfunctional player. He is headed to an organization that is also dysfunctional starting with the front office. It doesn’t appear to be a match made in heaven but crazier things have happened in the NFL.
On paper, they have a talented defensive starting with edge rushers Chase Young and Montez Sweat. They have a clear number one wide receiver, Terry McLaurin, who is coming off a second 1,000 yard season. Besides that, there are no real weapons on this roster. Running back Antonio Gibson is no Jonathan Taylor. Taylor nearly out-scrimmaged Gibson by 900 yards, has 11 more touchdowns, and has two fewer fumbles. Wentz will undoubtedly be asked to do more in the offense, and we haven’t seen him do that since 2019.
Washington should be favorites to draft from the loaded receiver class with the 11th overall pick, but there is not enough cap space or draft capital to make this team a true contender. They should be considered as nothing more than a first-round exit that benefits off of a weak NFC East division. Who knows if that will be enough to keep Carson Wentz as a starting, franchise quarterback? Time will tell.