Carson Wentz never made it a secret this offseason that he wanted the Philadelphia Eagles to trade him. The organization eventually gave in, landing a strong haul, and might have rid themselves of an even bigger problem in the process.
Wentz was one of the worst NFL quarterbacks in 2020. He threw a league-high 15 interceptions and took 50 sacks, before head coach Doug Pederson finally benched him for Jalen Hurts. The decision’s domino effect led to this offseason’s blockbuster trade, but the disconnect between Wentz and the Eagles’ organization goes back even further.
NFL rumors: Carson Wentz clashed with coaches, didn’t connect with teammates
Issues between the Eagles and Carson Wentz seemed to start after the team’s Super Bowl victory. Nick Foles brought a championship to Philadelphia, with an improbable run as Wentz recovered from a torn ACL. Unsurprisingly, this made Foles a favorite among fans and inside the locker room.
A few years after the celebration, anonymous teammates said Wentz was selfish, played favorites with his teammates on offense and caused problems for the team’s scheme. But the organization, namely owner Jeffrey Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman, remained incredibly high on their franchise quarterback.
Another factor at play, the departure of offensive coordinator Frank Reich. Credited with his role in Wentz’s phenomenal 2017 season, the Indianapolis Colts scooped him up as their head coach. Since his departure, Wentz hasn’t looked like the same quarterback and there’s now further clarity on the problems that went on in Philadelphia.
According to NBC Sports’ Peter King, Wentz didn’t respond well to coaching and often tuned out much of the advice and instruction he was given. He also didn’t do a great job connecting with teammates and at times rejected responsibility for his in-game mistakes.
Needless to say, Philadelphia’s decision to draft Hurts with its second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft didn’t help matters. While Aaron Rodgers handled a similar decision by winning NFL MVP, Wentz seemingly made things worse for himself and the team. There was reportedly a greater disconnect between him and the organization.
Wentz was angered by being benched, but his play left the coaching staff with no other choice. He was awful this past season. He hung on to the football far too long at times, didn’t recognize blitzes and made baffling decisions under pressure. But even when things were ideal, Wentz had the second-worst quarterback rating (82.5) and most interceptions (10) in a clean pocket, per Pro Football Focus.
The 28-year-old will have to accept tough coaching and criticism in Indianapolis. The Colts expect to be competing for the Super Bowl. If Wentz can’t handle being under the microscope or fails to perform behind a great supporting cast, he might get benched again and his reputation will worsen.