ASHBURN, Va. — Carson Wentz did his greatest this week to “attempt to not make the sport greater than must be.” However the extra he talked, the extra he tried to hide his feelings, the extra the truth of this sport grew to become apparent.
That is huge.
How may it not be? A yr and a half after the Philadelphia Eagles traded him, the 29-year-old Wentz will face his previous group for the primary time on Sunday afternoon. He was as soon as an MVP candidate in Philly, their no-doubt Quarterback of the Future. Now he is making an attempt to resurrect his profession with the Washington Commanders, his third group in three years.
In fact he needs to point out the Eagles they have been improper. In fact he needs to point out them what they threw away. And in opposition to an excellent protection that shut down the Minnesota Vikings Monday evening and picked off quarterback Kirk Cousins 3 times, in fact Wentz needs to make a press release to the Commanders and everybody that he nonetheless generally is a franchise quarterback.
“I heard the place he mentioned he is approaching this as you’d method another group,” mentioned Commanders offensive coordinator Scott Turner. “Clearly we all know that is not the case. I imply, , everyone seems to be a human being.”
“If you’re taking part in in opposition to your previous group, in fact you’re feeling one thing,” mentioned Washington receiver Curtis Samuel. “I get it. However he is locked in, targeted. He is how he at all times is: Calm.”
Possibly that was true throughout observe this week, but it surely stays to be seen simply how calm Wentz shall be on Sunday. This week dredged up numerous previous emotions for him, which he admitted when he spoke about his “wild journey” in Philadelphia throughout his press convention on Wednesday.
The “wild” story of what occurred to Wentz in Philly is well-known, and nonetheless a bit weird. He was as soon as every part in that group. They traded up within the 2016 draft to take him with the second general decide. A yr later he confirmed everybody why, with an MVP-caliber efficiency main the Eagles to an 11-2 begin. However then he injured his knee and needed to watch as Nick Foles completed the job and led Philly to a Tremendous Bowl title.
The subsequent three years have been up and down. Stories surfaced of pressure between him and his teammates, in addition to issues he had with the teaching workers. His play was up and down and the Eagles’ entrance workplace took discover. Within the 2020 draft they took quarterback Jalen Hurts within the second spherical. And that season, Wentz struggled, the Eagles went 3-8-1 underneath his course, and by Week 14 he was on the bench for good.
Then he was gone — shipped off to Indianapolis in an offseason transfer he admitted caught him “off guard”.
“I believe anytime in life you get thrown a curveball like that, issues change anytime you assume what life’s going to seem like,” Wentz mentioned. “I believe that is the place my religion kicks in and simply saying, ‘OK, God, what do you’ve got subsequent for me?’ I positively cherished my time that I had up there (in Philadelphia).
“It was positively a wild journey in lots of, some ways.”
Throw in his turbulent one-year keep in Indianapolis and Wentz admitted his entire profession “has been a whirlwind.” However he certain has appeared to discover a dwelling in Washington. The Commanders seem like dedicated to him, not only for this yr. They imagine he could be their franchise quarterback for years to come back.
And he is been good by the primary two video games. He is second within the NFL with 650 passing yards, and tied for the lead with seven landing passes. He has thrown three interceptions by two video games, however the Commanders’ offense is clicking. They rank sixth in complete yards and are averaging 27.5 factors per sport.
This sport could be completely different, although. Doing it in opposition to a top-tier protection in what certainly shall be an emotionally charged division sport would say loads about how far Wentz has come.
And doing in opposition to the group that solid him apart? That must be even sweeter.
“I’ve coached completely different groups on this league, and I understand how I really feel once I get able to go in opposition to among the groups that I’ve coached for earlier than,” Turner mentioned. “I can solely think about it is (amplified) whenever you’re a participant.”
The Eagles comprehend it, too — particularly those that bear in mind when Wentz was their man. A number of of them admitted to trying ahead to this sport in opposition to their previous quarterback. Just a few of them mentioned they referred to as him or texted him this week already. They’re conscious, given the circumstances of his departure, that this is not simply another sport, for them or for him.
“I do know I’ve most likely performed some quarterbacks that is been right here, however not like this example,” defensive finish Brandon Graham mentioned. “This example is completely completely different, with him and the best way it ended.”
So how will Wentz deal with it? The Eagles wish to discover out, too. They know he could be turnover-prone at instances and shaky in some huge spots. A number of Eagles defenders mentioned they’re anxious to see if Wentz seems calm or rattled lining up in opposition to his previous group. They did not assume he’d let his feelings get the most effective of him. And it’ll definitely assist that his first sport in opposition to the Eagles is at FedEx Discipline, and never in Philly in opposition to a loud, offended crowd.
However even Wentz conceded the feelings shall be heightened, no matter the place the sport is performed.
“Undoubtedly could have some combined feelings,” he mentioned. “However nothing loopy jumps out apart from my time there was a whirlwind. It was wild.”
How important will these “combined feelings” be when he takes his first snap in opposition to the group he as soon as thought he’d play with endlessly?
“We’ll discover out,” Wentz mentioned. “We’ll discover out.”
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