At Carson Wentz, leaders trust they have found the person

Suspension

Carson Wentz was in the backyard of his Indianapolis home pushing one of his young daughters on a swing when he got a call he never expected. The Colts traded a quarterback to Washington for a pair of third-round draft picks, one of which could become a secondary player depending on when Wentz played.

Suddenly, the peace of a spring day was filled with bewilderment and anxiety as he and his wife began planning a new life. second.

“That, frankly, surprised us,” Wentz said.

Wentz’s phone rang again. This time it was captain coach Ron Rivera who called to welcome him to Washington.

For the second time in about a year, Wentz was traded by a trading team at the beginning for for him. The Philadelphia Eagles applied in the 2016 draft to be selected, then shipped them to Indianapolis five years later to pick two drafts. The Ponies cut ties after one season that ended disappointingly.

Wentz’s periods at both stations became known for their bitter ends. In Philadelphia, his rapid rise to the top of the quarterback was met with an even steeper fall. A knee injury ended his MVP-caliber season in 2017, before the Eagles went on to win Super Bowl LII. There was the back injury that ensued, a then-scored contract extension that failed to match his production and then the arrival of Galen Hurts, a young quarterback who quickly replaced Wentz.

Wentz is reported to have had a relationship with the Eagles.deteriorated irreparably’, which led to his ordering trade and his eventual exit.

Despite an impressive 12-game stint in which he earned the third-best passer rating in the league and helped the Colts to a 9-3 lead, Wentz was let down after the team’s collapse late in the year. At week 18, the ponies broke up with the miserable Jaguar and watched their playoff hopes fade.

“I think the worst thing you can do is make a mistake and try to keep living with it,” Colts owner Jim Irsai told The Indianapolis Star. “For us, that was something we had to walk away from as a privilege. It was very clear.

“The fit just wasn’t right,” Ersay added.

Washington, desperately in need of a QB, came calling.

Wentz arrived at the team facility with his wife and daughters – Hadley, now two and a half years old, and Hudson, now 10 months. Rivera made it clear that Wentz was “wanted” and not the last quarterback Washington has settled on. The leaders agreed to take his entire paycheck and forgo the premium choices, they said, because they felt Wentz was the right fit — for their scheme, for their locker room, for their future.

“I can tell you that we kind of looked under every rock in this situation and evaluated every possibility of a man who might move,” said general manager Martin Mayhew. “So we did our due diligence, and Carson was the guy we had consensus on.”

Six months and one week before the season opener – against Jaguar, no less – coaches and players continue to preach the same message about Wentz, often painting a portrait of captain and player on the way back.

“You look at the last two seasons, where I played eight quarterbacks over two seasons, that position has settled for us,” Mayhew said. “And we’re excited about what he brings to the table in terms of his physical talent and also what he brings to the table as a person and as a leader.”

Compatibility with leaders

Since Rivera was appointed coach and unofficial assistant to Washington, he’s rebuilt a roster tailored to his vision. Rivera worked with former Carolina coordinator Norve Turner to carry out his version of the Air Coryell crime, and Scott hired Turner’s son to bring his copy to Washington.

But the attack has yet to be clicked as he still has to feature an experienced QB with arm strength to extend the field and volume that can be seen during the lunge.

Wentz, on paper, fits the bill. Rivera and Scott Turner cited plays in 2017 and 2021 as reasons for optimism, and both have praised his off-season improvement. Turner tailored his approach to better suit Wentz by moving from the booth to the sideline on game days to allow for more face-to-face communication.

Wentz, 29, believes the comfort he felt in his first encounter with Rivera and Turner was further enhanced.

“I’ve been in two different books, but they are very similar. The philosophies were very similar,” Wentz said. “This one is a little different, it actually helped me develop my understanding of the game because there is more than one way to do things, and whether we always agreed on every nugget Or not, it helped us grow, I guess. “

During the team’s organized activities in the spring and early camp this summer, Wentz’s play seemed erratic. The beat hadn’t even started yet, and his connection to top-of-the-range wide receiver Terry McLaurin needed to work especially hard. Due to McLaurin’s contract being suspended, the two met together just two days before camp during an off-season workout in California. By the end of the pre-season, the process seemed normal.

“I think he’ll continue to give us opportunities to put on performances on the field,” McLaurin said. “It gives us a chance to play a little football in the backyard, which I personally love about it.”

The leaders say they have noticed Wentz making a concerted effort off the field to build a relationship with his teammates, an area where he has been much criticized in the past.

“We just had a two-hour conversation on the plane,” Cornelius Lucas said of Wentz, who grew up in North Dakota. “He’s into the hunt, he loves popcorn, and the guy’s addicted to gluten-free biscuits.”

Center Chase Roullier thinks he deserves credit for the last part because he introduced Wentz to Buford’s Biscuits in Leesburg. Rollier saw firsthand how dedicated Wentz was to his gluten and dairy-free diet. During dinner with the attacking navigators, Wentz picks up on the appetizers he can touch.

Roulier, who said dinner parties – and invitations to Wentz’s house – are the midfielders’ ways of “establishing relationships with his teammates.”

Wentz has made time for more than just his streak. He and linebacker Cole Holcomb went to play golf, and Preakness attended together and regularly exchanged purposeful conversations. Compete with fellow QBs in golf shredder competitions between meetings. He even joined gambler Tress Way on outings to escape rooms.

“He’s running around in the escape room like he’s doing the offense,” Way said with a laugh. “…He doesn’t want hints. He wants to do everything himself….But we get out of the room every time.”

Wentz now plays more freely.

He admits that past noises tended to undermine his confidence, but he has learned how to cope. I have learned to be satisfied.

Wentz has social media accounts but he rarely uses them and says he avoids looking at them. Instead, he asks Washington’s head of public relations, Sean DeBarberry, to scrutinize the headlines and only alert him if something is important.

“I would be lying if I said it probably didn’t make me feel a certain way when I was younger in my career,” said Wentz, who is entering his seventh season.

Switching between injuries, deals, rumors on the outside, and stinging comments on the inside, Wentz admits he’s had to “fight” the times when the game was no longer fun for him.

Becoming a father to two young girls has a way of changing one’s perspective, but the NFL roller coaster has made its share.

Sometimes he thinks of that call in March and the whirlwind that followed. He now views it as part of his job’s “adventure,” with the move to Washington a “pleasant surprise” for his family.

But he often thinks of earlier years.

“I think of all the highs and lows,” he said, “and I can still think and say, ‘Dang, I was a kid in North Dakota, and that was my dream and I’m still fulfilling my dream.’ I’m living the dream I’ve had since I was a kid, and not many people get that chance.”