Commanders

One of Wentz's most basic attributes should help Commanders

Commanders

The yellow jacket that Carson Wentz sported last week during his introduction to the Washington media received a lot of attention, and in doing so, it might've overshadowed a basic yet important fact about the quarterback.

He is, to be as concise as possible, rather huge.

The Commanders' website lists Wentz as a 6-foot-5, 237-pound passer, which makes him four inches taller and 27 pounds heavier than the team's starter from last season, Taylor Heinicke. Wentz's rangy frame was quite evident at his debut press conference, both as he stood behind the podium and posed with his new coach, Ron Rivera, who's got a physical presence of his own right.

Considering the position Wentz lines up at, that upgrade in size should prove useful.

Take, for example, an early fourth-down failure by the Washington offense in their Halloween matchup with the Broncos. Offensive coordinator Scott Turner called a play that required Heinicke to sprint out toward the right sideline and attempt to connect with tight end Ricky Seals-Jones, but a Denver defender stepped in front of Heinicke's vision, which ruined the rhythm of the sequence. Heinicke's pass was ultimately knocked away.

"I tried to outrun that leverage and give him a shot and he tipped it," Heinicke said about that particular incompletion. "I wanted to get the ball out there quickly but again, when that linebacker is just looking at me right in my lane, it’s tough."

 

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Though that's one snap in a season with more than a thousand of them, it was an instance where Heinicke's lesser stature cost Turner and the offense in a crucial scenario. Wentz, based on his size, should have far fewer throws impacted by opponents, which will allow Turner to expand his playbook and trust his quarterback more.

"I believe it’s what we’re looking for," Rivera told reporters last week. "His skill set speaks very well for us, especially for what we want to do and how we want to attack our opponents."

Rivera later added that Wentz "throws very well into the tight windows."

In addition to the height advantage Wentz possesses over Heinicke, Wentz also has a much more ideal, powerful arm. That isn't just going to show up on the deeper shots, however; it'll also be key for those "tight windows" Rivera referenced.

Thanks to the combination of those two traits, Wentz will be able to zip one outside the numbers to Terry McLaurin or chuck one from the right hash to the left boundary to Cam Sims. When it's third-and-4 and Logan Thomas boxes out a linebacker beyond the sticks, Wentz will have an easier time spotting him and then fitting one into the tight end's arms. Heinicke deserves credit for his entertaining stint as starter, yet those types of situations are where he struggled.

Being tall doesn't necessarily equate to more production, of course. The impressive Trevor Lawrence, Cam Newton and Ben Roethlisberger all came up short in 2021 despite being larger options, while Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson have done fine for themselves as smaller quarterbacks. 

Furthermore, most of the questions about Wentz have to do with qualities that aren't visible, such as his leadership and how much he can elevate the supporting cast that's placed around him. His talent and his measurables aren't typically discussed when analyzing his flaws.

Still, for a franchise that could benefit from doing something different under center, plugging Wentz in after signing the 6-foot-2 Ryan Fitzpatrick and then having to play the 6-foot-1 Heinicke is an interesting adjustment. Wentz must come up big in clutch moments for the Commanders this year, and him literally being big should only help on that mission.