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Stud or Dud? Is Carson Wentz The Washington Commanders Savior?

Carson Wentz arrives in Washington with seemingly as many question marks as his predecessor Taylor Heinicke.

Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz is on his third team in three seasons and was the subject of two controversial trades during that time. He arrived in Indianapolis from Philadelphia a year ago where there were rumblings of him being a poor teammate. 

Those whispers have quieted a bit as he now joins the Commanders. With other options available at quarterback even after the Aaron Rodgers contract in Green Bay and Russell Wilson trade to Denver, the decision to seek out Wentz is certainly a head-scratcher.

His past is well-documented, and his short-lived success is still in recent memory. Drafted second overall from North Dakota State in the 2016 NFL Draft just behind Cal's Jared Goff, Wentz had the prototypical build for a franchise quarterback at 6-5, 237-pounds.

He led his college squad to back-to-back FCS Championships. And his success continued in Philadelphia when, in his second season, he led the Eagles to an 11-2 record before being lost for the season with an ACL injury. The Eagles would win the Super Bowl behind backup quarterback Nick Foles while Wentz was recovering.

Carson Wentz Drafted
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Wentz quickly wore out his welcome in Philadelphia with poor play and Alabama's Jalen Hurts supplanted him as QB1. Wentz was traded to Indianapolis to reunite with his former offensive coordinator Frank Reich, now the head coach of the Colts.

Wentz had a good season in Indy statistically, throwing for 3,563 yards, 27 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. But a poor showing in Week 18 against the Jacksonville Jaguars - a game Indy needed to win for a playoff berth - seemingly sealed his fate with the Colts.

After Rodgers and Wilson were off the market, Washington seems to have settled on Wentz, who is not a popular choice among fans.

Despite his lack of popularity among the Commanders' faithful, Wentz deserves a shot. Last season he performed like a better-than-average quarterback, regardless of his shortcomings. Is he the guy fans were looking for? No, but remember this team made the playoffs with Alex Smith as recently as 2020.

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Taylor Heinicke

Wentz has all the tools that Taylor Heinicke doesn't. A pro arm and the ability to throw the deep ball. And with an electric wide receiver corps in Terry McLaurin, Dyami Brown, and Curtis Samuel, Washington needs someone who can throw the ball deep.

If Wentz can make some of the same deep throws he made last season with the Colts, Washington fans will forget all about Heinicke. Along with the deep ball, Wentz can still extend plays with his feet. While not as agile as Heinicke, he's still mobile, with a solid average of 4.1 yards per rush last year. With everyone healthy, including McLaurin and running back Antonio Gibson, this could be one of the most talented offenses Wentz has been a part of.

But along with the good, there's obviously bad with Wentz. What stands out as the biggest negatives?

We'll start with history. If Wentz were a legitimate franchise quarterback, would he be on his third team in three years? Having his former offensive coordinator stick his neck out to bring him to Indy and give up on him just a season later isn't a good look for Wentz.

But it seems as though Wentz's attitude may have gotten better during his time. in Indy as many of his Colts teammates showed him respect when he left the team, shouting him out on social media when the trade was announced.

Maybe the biggest question mark for Wentz is his durability. He played all 17 games for Indy last season, which is a good sign. He's started every game in an NFL season just three times. But since being drafted in 2016, Wentz has dealt with the torn ACL in 2017, a back injury in 2018, a head injury during the playoffs in 2019, and foot surgery in 2021. But at least if Wentz has to miss time, we'll get to see Heinicke again.

Is he the franchise savior that will lead the Commanders for years to come with overflowing success and a Super Bowl win? There's only one way to find out.