Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz received a fresh start this season, provided with a shot to turn things around after a disastrous 2021 season with the Indianapolis Colts. While the Commanders are high on Wentz, the quarterback’s reputation around the league remains unfavorable.
Things have swung dramatically in recent years for Wentz. Just a year after being selected with the 2nd pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, he finished third in the 2017 NFL MVP voting. By June 2019, he was one of the highest-paid NFL quarterbacks. It seemingly all fell apart a year later with a downward spiral that burned bridges with the Colts and Philadelphia Eagles.
Many thought landing with the Colts would turn things around. Wentz enjoyed his best seasons in Philadelphia working with Frank Reich and was suddenly reunited with a head coach with who he had a great relationship. Indianapolis gave up a first-round pick for the veteran quarterback, betting on an improved situation and a stronger relationship with the coaching staff putting what happened in 2020 with the Eagles in the rearview mirror. Instead, Wentz’s reputation took another hit.
The Colts regretted trading for Wentz after only a few months. Before the team’s late-season collapse that cost it a playoff spot, Indianapolis wanted to move on. The need for a divorce only became more apparent when owner Jim Irsay went public with the organization’s frustrations.
Heading to his third NFL team in three years, Wentz arrived with a negative reputation in the NFL among several coaches and players. It was based on previous reporting indicating that Eagles’ teammates criticized Wentz privately for being selfish and not taking accountability for his own mistakes. He also clashed with coaches in Philadelphia and Indianapolis, reportedly ignoring coaches more frequently.
The Commanders believe the issues are behind Wentz and the problems are exaggerated. However, a survey of NFL agents conducted by Ben Standig of The Athletic shed light on how the Commanders’ signal-caller is viewed by his peers.
There is a theme among the feedback from agents, there is an unusual amount of negative sentiment towards Wentz in the NFL. Irsay’s public criticism raised eyebrows, with a player rep telling The Athletic that they’ve “never seen an owner actively bash a player after trading him like that.” Yet, those who’ve worked with Wentz in the past seem to have real issues with him.
It also doesn’t appear to be tied entirely to his poor play. As one agent told Ben Standig, there were negative reports on Wentz as a player and leader during his best years in Philadelphia. While his current team would always cling to the hope that he could regain that MVP-caliber form, those days seem far behind him.
“Even when he was having success, the things I would hear about him in the locker room in Philly did not endear me to him. With that said, there was a time when he was just a supremely talented quarterback. He’s not that anymore, and I think people are still clinging to that (stretch).”Anonymous NFL agent on Carson Wentz’s reception
The numbers speak for themselves. Despite working with two great coaching staffs in Philadelphia and Indianapolis, Wentz’s play plummeted the past two seasons. He keeps repeating the same mistakes and with coaches unable to get through to him, things progressively got worse over time.
|Carson Wentz splits||Games||Completion %||TD-INT||YPA||Pass YPG||QB Rating||GWD|
It’s possible things change in Washington. The Commanders’ coaching staff and locker room have offered glowing praise of the quarterback since he arrived. Although, it’s important to note that the same style of praise came out of the Colts’ organization in the first few months following Wentz’s arrival.
The 2022 NFL season will be a pivotal point in Wentz’s career. If he plays well, the whispers about his attitude and coachability might go away. If the Commanders fail to make the playoffs and Wentz’s bad habits reappear, NFL teams might decide a quarterback who already went through three organizations isn’t worth a fourth chance.
Related: Washington Commanders schedule