ASHBURN, VA – Carson Wentz is no stranger to the rivalry between the Washington and Philadelphia NFC East.
Changing sides leave the center captain with perspective.
“My career has been a whirlwind,” Wentz said Wednesday at the leaders’ training facility. “I’ll tell you that much.”
Wentz, 29, is a veteran quarterback on his third team in three seasons. The Eagles, the team that drafted Wentz No. 2 overall in 2016, shipped him to the Indianapolis Colts for Jalen Hurts after the 2020 season. The Colts moved from him after one season. For the first time, Wentz plays for one of his former teams. Wentz said there will be mixed feelings.
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“I definitely cherish my time there,” Wentz said. “It was a wild ride in so many ways. I grew up as a man. He got married. He had a baby. So many things. So I am very grateful for my time there.
“But it surprises you. Things change. You have to learn to grow up and change and adapt. At the end of the day, I’m grateful for that, and I’m grateful for the changes life has made.”
In his second season with the Eagles, Wentz was voted MVP and Philadelphia was 11-3 when he suffered an AFC Champions League rupture that ended his season.
“He was solid,” said Washington coach Ron Rivera. “He has done very good things and he is a very capable football player. We are very fortunate to have him.”
Philadelphia won the Super Bowl less than three months after his injury. Wentz got his first job back, but his seasons are inconsistent.
“It was a lot of fun. We obviously had a lot of success there,” Wentz said. “Winning the Super Bowl was so special, and being a part of that was so amazing. It’s totally the city, totally the fan base, totally the experience, one I will definitely cherish my time there. But obviously it will be completely different from the other party now.”
Wentz led the way to the leaders. With two games, he threw seven touchdowns between a loss to the Detroit Lions and a first-week victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Wentz leads the NFC touchdown and passes two yards (650 yards).
His teammates don’t expect anything different in the third week simply because of the discount.
“Carson approaches the Games in the same way,” wide receiver Terry McLaurin said. “I really like the way he gets to the receivers and you start talking through the game plan and how we want to attack the defense. He does a really good job of talking to every receiver about certain plays they might be throwing each week and talking through the pickup point and release and what they’re thinking.”
Under coach Nick Siriani, who was appointed in 2021, the Eagles entered as one of the most impressive teams in two weeks, especially in attacking condition. The Eagles lead the league with 470.5 yards per game.
Hurts leads the league in total attack (709 yards) and has three touchdowns. The dual-threat approach makes defensive coordinators reach for Advil.
But Siriani will be looking at the building’s institutional knowledge to gain an advantage over Wentz.
“Never leave a stone without its heart,” Siriani said. “Are you going to ask the people in the building who know Carson about him? Yes, I am looking for information.”
Wentz wouldn’t overthink this aspect — even after a video clip of Seattle Seahawks’ wide receivers prompted a defense of Russell Wilson’s hand signals at the scrimmage line during their first-week victory over the Denver Broncos.
“Sometimes in the heat of battle, people think, ‘Oh, I got it,'” Wentz said. I know their signals.” “But there is a lot going on for both sides of the ball. Personally, I know a lot of guys don’t put a lot of stock into this stuff until you need to.”
In Washington, Wentz made a receiving unit that included McLaurin and Jahan Dotson (seven catches, 99 yards, three touchdowns). Curtis Samuel (15 receptions, 133 yards, two touchdowns) is in good health after a groin injury limited him to five games last season. Choices gave Wentz the opportunity to push the ball down the court, and he averages 7.5 yards per pass attempt.
“We know[Wentz]can get hot, and it really is,” Siriani said. “We know he is strong with the ball in his hands and can play at any time.”
That’s why Washington brought in Wentz, Rivera said. In a league with a quarterback market more competitive than ever, it was a top priority this off-season
“The analyzes we did on Carson and his study, I think really spoke to why he was so successful,” Rivera said. “You look at those numbers, he’s playing on those numbers.”
“This tells you who he is and why he is important to us.”
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