Confidence is the most important mental quality a quarterback can possess. When your team trades you two years into a massive four-year deal, then your next team only keeps you around for a season before shipping you off again, your confidence can take a hit.
That’s the exact situation Commanders QB1 Carson Wentz found himself in mere weeks ago. After the Philadelphia Eagles signed him to a huge four-year, $128 million deal in 2019, they shipped him off 28 games into the contract to the Indianapolis Colts. There, a late-season collapse saw the Colts lose interest in Wentz as well, which is part of the reason they ultimately decided to ship him to Washington.
Despite two teams souring on the former MVP candidate in a matter of a year, one thing in Carson Wentz’s life remained constant: his faith, both in himself as a player and in his religion.
“The world’s crazy. The league is a crazy business. There’s a lot of things and a lot of people—there’s things outside of your control,” Wentz told NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay in an exclusive one-on-one interview Thursday. “But I’ve also learned that, for me as a man of faith, there’s a lot of surrender. ‘Alright, God, this is your plan,’ a lot of that and growth in my faith.”
Adaptation is also part of life. Especially as a quarterback, going from team to team can be jarring to the system. In Philadelphia, Wentz never had the running game he enjoyed in Indianapolis. As a Colt, Wentz didn’t have the receiving core he once paired with as an Eagle.
So, Wentz could have either stuck with his style and hoped the team around him would adapt, or he could have changed himself to fit his surroundings. He chose the latter.
“But also as a player, [I’m] just trying to always re-fine tune my game and trying to always get better,” Wentz said of his journey. “If you’re trying to stay the same, it’s not gonna work. It’s not gonna work. And you learn, ‘Alright, this offseason I just want to get a couple nuggets of info and little things that are gonna help me take the next step.’”
Wentz arrives in D.C. a seasoned, six-year veteran of the NFL. He’s enjoyed the highs of his 2017 campaign in Philadelphia, in which he came third in MVP voting amid an Eagles’ Super Bowl run. But he’s also seen the depths of what a down season can look like—like when he threw for 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 2020 before getting benched for Jalen Hurts.
The good news, though, is that both the highs and lows of Wentz’s career have provided him with opportunities to learn and improve.
“For me, now I’m 29 and [when] you start to get older and you’ve played for a while, you see the game differently,” Wentz said. “You know there’s gonna be ups and downs and you try, as a leader, to stay the same and stay right here and not let the roller coaster of a season get the best of you or your teammates.”
Now, Wentz dons the Burgundy & Gold with that knowledge in tow. He’ll hope to discontinue the quarterback carousel the Commanders have endured for decades, even if he has one year left on his contract. Washington’s front office is sure excited for him to take the field, and Wentz is too.
“For most guys, there’s a window of time. So for me, it’s ‘Let’s do everything I can for as long as I can to be the best I can,’” Wentz said. “And I look forward to doing that.”