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Carson Wentz
Trevor Ruszkowski- USA Today Sports

Carson Wentz Isn’t the Answer for the Washington Commanders

Carson Wentz
(Trevor Ruszkowski/USA Today Sports)

Carson Wentz Isn’t the Answer for the Washington Commanders

The Washington Commanders traded for Carson Wentz earlier this offseason. They sent two third-round picks and took on all $28 million of his contract. Truly a miracle for Indianapolis to offload that contract and get two picks, especially after they were considering cutting the guy.

Washington has been a quarterback away for a couple years now. On the heels of the Packers bringing back Aaron Rodgers and the Broncos going to get Russell Wilson, the Wentz move looks so pathetic. Washington tried to get Wilson and ended up with Wentz. Hate to be that guy, but he just isn’t the answer.

Carson Wentz Has Flaws That Outweigh His Arm Talent

The Carson Wentz Offense benefits from defensive pass interference calls more than any other unit in the league. In the 2021 season, Wentz led the league in underthrown passes of 20 or more yards that ended in a DPI call. That’s not a sustainable way to pick up yards. Once the referees figure out how to accurately assess DPI, the only thing left will be underthrown balls.

Perhaps there’s an argument to be made that it’s smart to underthrow the ball when a defender’s back is turned in the hope of earning a flag, and in doing so, a QB is displaying a skill. If so, we might expect a great QB like Aaron Rodgers to actively exploit it. However, despite being second in the league in DPI calls with 12, the Green Bay Packers and Rodgers didn’t rely on underthrown passes to earn their flags. Most of Rodgers’s DPI calls came on well-placed passes where the defender impeded the receiver’s ability to catch the ball, and just two came on underthrown passes. But on video, Wentz’s pass attempts don’t appear to be the manifestation of skill. They look like bad throws.

Josh Hermsmeyer, FiveThirtyEight

Wentz has arm talent, but that’s not the problem. The problem is that his talent is concealed by a massive layer of poor decision-making and bad throws. He can do cool things with his arm, but he does dumb things with his brain. That can’t be ignored.

This Is Not 2017

In 2017, Carson Wentz was in the MVP discussion for most of the season before going down with an injury that cost him chance at the award. All the Wentz Truthers cite this season to defend him. It’s wild to me that the best evidence for him being anything close to a good quarterback is a season five years ago where he didn’t win MVP.

Go look at his splits from 2017. He was an average to below-average quarterback on first and second down, then an all-time great on third down. That’s not something anyone can keep up for a career. Case Keenum was in the 2017 MVP conversation too, and I don’t see anyone clamoring for that guy. I was told no one just starts playing poorly after the type of season Wentz had in 2017. Maybe we should confront the possibility that maybe he just wasn’t that good in the first place.

Over a year ago, I said that Wentz is way closer to Mitchell Trubisky than anyone wants to admit. I’m okay with going there if no one else is.

Honestly, the fact Philadelphia won the Super Bowl with a backup quarterback is a point against Wentz actually being the driving force behind that team. The Eagles just made the playoffs after getting rid of him, even though I was told they were completely broken and no one could be expected to win with that team. Stop living in the past. This is 2022, not 2017. Indy was supposedly a SUPER BOWL CONTENDER after picking him up?!? Not even close.

A Good Measuring Stick

A good way to determine whether a quarterback is bad or not is to look at how the fans of his team talk about him. If everyone including your own team’s fans is calling you bad, you’re probably not that good. I don’t see anyone in Indianapolis or Philadelphia going to bat for this guy, and that’s a bad sign. By the time Carson Wentz left each of those respective cities, no one was disappointed to see him go.

Doesn’t seem like people on the inside of either Philadelphia or Indianapolis respected Wentz, and that should say something. Relationships were strained in both places. The common denominator in that is Wentz. Donovan McNabb advocated for him to be traded from Philly. Rookie Michael Pittman Jr. wouldn’t give up his jersey number after the move was made. Jim Irsay went on the record and basically said he preferred a 36-year-old Matt Ryan to Carson Wentz for next season.

And for all the people who are gassing up Carson Wentz saying he’s sO uNDeRraTed, I don’t see any of you advocating for your team to go get him to be your next quarterback. That’s because everyone knows deep down that he isn’t the answer. He isn’t a guy that’s going to win you a Super Bowl.

No Closer to the Super Bowl

Washington’s Super Bowl odds didn’t budge after trading for Carson Wentz. It’s actually generous to say that, because at some books the odds increased. Is Wentz a better quarterback than Taylor Heinicke? Probably, but Heinicke at least has moxie and you can’t teach that.

At the end of the day, is Wentz a quarterback who can beat four playoff-caliber teams in a row? No. He’s not. We just saw what “playoff Wentz” looks like when the Colts went to Jacksonville with the season on the line and he absolutely folded. It was a disasterclass from Carson Wentz – who had an interception and a lost fumble – and Indy missed the playoffs because of it. I’m not going to sit here and act like the Colts had an elite cast of players, but they were in the driver’s seat for a playoff spot with two games left, needing to win one, and lost both of them. They had a 97% chance to make the playoffs with the Jaguars being one of the teams left on the schedule and missed out completely. That’s indefensible and a fair amount of blame goes to Wentz.

Theo Ash has a good take (highly recommend the video, it’s very fair) on Carson Wentz: he’s got arm talent but the “bozo gene” means he isn’t a reliable option. For every good Wentz throw, there’s something like this:

Seriously. What in the world is this???

I’m supposed to believe Wentz is a guy who gets Washington closer to the ultimate prize? No chance. I’ve seen enough.

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