Sports: How Carson Wentz fits in Commanders' offense, between Eagles best and Colts worst

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The Commanders turned some heads this offseason for their pursuit and subsequent landing of quarterback Carson Wentz, who was at the helm for the Colts last season.

  How Carson Wentz fits in Commanders' offense, between Eagles best and Colts worst © Provided by Sporting News

Wentz, who threw for 5,363 yards last year along with 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions, was acquired for nearly the same package the Colts got him for from the Eagles the previous offseason. Indianapolis missed the playoffs by a hair last year and moved on from Wentz, ultimately getting Matt Ryan, who wanted out of Atlanta after the Falcons' pursuit of Deshaun Watson.

All of that to say: It's been an interesting carousel for Wentz, who finished third in MVP voting in 2017 and was top five in Comeback Player of the Year voting in 2019.

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Hopes around the Commanders aren't particularly high, and that is exacerbated by struggles from Wentz in training camp, but Ron Rivera is downplaying the problems.

"There's a lot of little nuances that we see and look at and get to review," Rivera said, per NBC Sports Washington. "There are some inaccuracies, but it's nothing that we are overly concerned about. You see what's going on and how things are developing, you see the timing and just understand the feeling of what's going on with our concept. So, we will continue to grow and work on it."

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The thing is, the Commanders knew what they were getting when they got Wentz, so they probably shouldn't be concerned.

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Eagles Carson Wentz: The Good

With his name becoming synonymous with inaccuracy, it's easy to forget how good Philadelphia Wentz was.

Was he overshadowed by the Eagles winning the Super Bowl behind a backup? Absolutely. But his third-place MVP season showed a quarterback with a lot of poise, a huge arm, and some really impressive decision-making.

In fact, seven is kind of Wentz's magic interception number. He had seven picks every year from 2017 to 2019, and a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 3:1 or better in each of those seasons.

In 2017, the name of the game was efficiency, and in 2019, when he was able to air it out more, Wentz threw for more than 4,000 yards with a completion percentage of over 60 percent each year.

Wentz didn't always struggle in terms of making plays the way he seems to now, and you can really see it here in his 2017 highlights. Are they cherry-picked? Absolutely, they're highlights. But Wentz was confident and capable of making big plays.

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Eagles Carson Wentz: The Bad

Then you have 2020 Carson Wentz. In a year in which Wentz went 3-8-1 as the starter, he completed a hair over 57 percent of his passes and threw a career-high 15 interceptions.

It seemed like his recklessness was catching up to him, and it translated to troubles on the field.

Wentz was also sacked a career-high 50 times in 2020, so it was partially an offensive line problem. But all the same, he looked lost under center, and his turnover-worthy play percentage skyrocketed to 4.4 percent, a career high.

All things told, with a career-low QBR of 41.9, this was the season that helped the Eagles realize it was time to move on from Wentz.

Colts Carson Wentz: The Ugly

If you look at the numbers from Colts Carson Wentz, it might be a bit confusing why they moved on from him. His completion percentage was back up to 62.4 percent, he threw 27 touchdowns to just seven interceptions, and he threw for over 3,500 yards.

Wentz himself seemed confused about why the Colts moved on from him, and his feud with Jim Irsay was really Irsay making bizarrely vitriolic comments about Wentz.

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  Commanders president Jason Wright calls out local reporter for 'pompous, unprofessional' Carson Wentz interview Commanders president Jason Wright calls out local reporter for 'pompous, unprofessional' Carson Wentz interviewWentz was interviewed by DC-based reporter Scott Abraham of ABC 7 earlier in the week and was asked about his perceived struggles early in training camp, as well as the perception that his status as a starting quarterback in the NFL may be on the line if he doesn't perform to expectations in his first year with the Commanders.

"I didn't expect things to unfold the way they did," Wentz said in March, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I thought things were in a pretty good place there. I had awesome relationships with every single person in that building. I can't say enough good things about the people over there. It kinda came out of left field."

Irsay himself referred to Wentz as something the franchise "had to move away from" and he said "there's something wrong here" that "needs to be corrected."

Even with those numbers, however, Wentz's time in Indianapolis wasn't standout good, but one could be forgiven for thinking it was. Plays like this one, and this one, will be emblematic of Wentz's time in Indianapolis.

That's hard to work with, and it's hard to coach out of a guy.

Where does Wentz fit in in Washington?

The Commanders desperately need conservative Wentz.

Wentz at his best can move pockets and even scramble pretty well, but he got in trouble last year when he tried to innovate on the fly. That ended in the two disasters seen above.

The Commanders do have weapons in the fold. Terry McLaurin Jr., Jahan Dotson, and Curtis Samuel present a solid top three, and Antonio Gibson is a perfectly viable running back. But Wentz cannot try to make himself the focal point of the Commanders offense if they're going to succeed.

Rivera and the Commanders staff shouldn't be overly concerned about a lack of accuracy on Wentz's part early in training camp -- that's who they traded for. A low 60 percent completion percentage guy whose average depth of target (aDOT) is not to going to exceed nine yards per attempt. Trying to make him into something he's not is folly.

There's potential to make this thing work, but the Commanders have to embrace who Wentz is as a player. Wentz will have to do the same. Clearly that was part of the issue in his brief stint in Indianapolis.

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