Carson Wentz has another opportunity to salvage a once-promising NFL career with the Washington Commanders, even though the early returns haven't been promising. Wentz is having an inconsistent training camp, hindered by the accuracy issues that plagued him with the Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts over the past few years.
Wentz has a lot of pressure on his shoulders thanks to the way things ended at his two previous stops. The Commanders are trying to make sure Wentz isn't feeling the heat, as head coach Ron Rivera defended his quarterback over the accuracy issues.
"The narratives are all unfair. Obviously he left each place for their reasons. OK, great -- that's their reasons," Rivera said on Sirius XM NFL Radio on Wednesday. "He's here for our reason. He's here because we want him here. He's here because we see what he can do, we see what he's done. Based on what we do, we see there's an opportunity. That's why he's here."
Wentz is set to make some history if he starts Week 1 for the Commanders, as he'll line up under center on kickoff weekend for his third different team in three years. If Wentz starts Week 1, he'll become the first quarterback since 1950 (when the records were first tracked) to start on opening weekend for three different teams in three years before turning 30. (He doesn't turn 30 until December.)
The accuracy issues in camp are alarming with Wentz, even though they are training camp practices for a reason. The glass can be magnified with Wentz based on how his 2021 campaign with the Colts ended. Wentz completed 62.4% of his passes for 3,563 yards with 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions for a 94.6 passer rating, a bounce-back season after he was one of the worst quarterbacks in football in his final season with the Eagles.
Wentz wasn't as good in the second half as he was the first half, however, completing 61.1% of his passes for for 1,365 yards with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions (87.1 rating). He averaged just 170.6 yards per game compared to 244.2 in the first half of the year during which he completed 63.3% of his passes for 2,198 yards with 17 touchdowns to three interceptions (100.1 rating). Wentz played a huge role in the Colts' collapse, completing just 58.9% of his passes for 333 yards with two touchdowns and an interception (80.6 rating) in the final two games -- losses to the Las Vegas Raiders and league-worst Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Commanders aren't concerned with last year or how Wentz's tenure ended in Philadelphia. Rivera is more than willing to give Wentz a fresh start in Washington after the Commanders had seven different starting quarterbacks over the past three seasons.
"We have a lot of confidence in what we've seen so far," Rivera said. "The guys have all assimilated to him. They've rallied around him. And that's a huge plus because, again, based on what we went through for the last couple of years -- and probably before I got here -- trying to find the quarterback.
"Let's get behind him. Let's give him every opportunity to succeed. And that's what we're gonna do."