Quarterback Carson Wentz will start the 2022 NFL season on his third different team in three years. Back in 2018, after his his MVP-caliber season for the Philadelphia Eagles, no one would have expected his future to contain so much football-related failure. Now Wentz is the starting quarterback for the continually troubled Washington Commanders, and at least one analyst believes it’s his last chance to succeed.
During a conference call with the media on Monday, ESPN’s new “Monday Night Football” color commentator Troy Aikman was asked about Wentz, since he and his broadcast partner Joe Buck will be calling the MNF game between the Commanders and the Eagles in Week 10. Here’s the full question Aikman was asked:
Troy, this is mostly for you. One of the Monday night games will be Washington playing at Philly; Carson Wentz going back to Philly. I’m curious what you think Washington got in Carson Wentz. Can he get back to that trajectory where people thought he was on a couple years ago?
Aikman is a Hall of Fame quarterback, so he’s more than qualified to answer that question. Here’s what he said:
I think that right now, Carson had an opportunity; it didn’t end well in Philadelphia, of course. He then got traded to Indianapolis. Didn’t go great for him there. They decided to make another change at that position, and now he’s landed in Washington.
This is probably his last opportunity, just being blunt about it, to prove that he can be a franchise quarterback in the NFL.
I’m hopeful that he’s able to take advantage of that. Looking forward to that match-up between those two teams. But this is kind of a defining season, I think, for Carson Wentz and what his future is going to look like.
Washington could be Wentz’s ‘last opportunity’
Wentz has been on a roller coaster since his big season with the Eagles, and “it didn’t end well’ for him in Philly. His level of play took a steep nosedive, and after his relationship with then-head coach Doug Pederson fell apart in 2020, Wentz was traded to the Indianapolis Colts. That’s where he reunited with head coach Frank Reich, who had been Philly’s offensive coordinator during Wentz’s first two years in the NFL.
Things “didn’t go great” for Wentz in Indy, just as Aikman said. He wasn’t able to pull out of that nosedive and turned in a below average season for the Colts, culminating in an embarrassing Week 18 performance against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. In that game, Wentz made costly mistakes that gave the Jags their third win of the season and dropped the Colts out of the playoffs.
The Wentz experiment went so badly that Reich, who had vouched for Wentz before he was traded to Indy, reportedly apologized to owner Jim Irsay for endorsing Wentz. The Colts traded Wentz to the Commanders in early March.
After Wentz’s absolute implosion in Week 18, and all of the events that came before, the Commanders really could be his last chance to prove he can be the franchise quarterback that many once predicted he’d be. If his time with the Commanders is a disaster, it’s hard to imagine anyone signing him as a starter again.
Fortunately for Wentz, the Commanders probably haven’t set their quarterback bar that high. After years of iffy QB play, they may just be looking for a competent quarterback who doesn’t make massive, game-changing mistakes and can have a few brilliant moments here or there. Unfortunately for Wentz, he hasn’t been that kind of quarterback in years. As Aikman said, this is “kind of a defining season” for him and whether it’s a good one or bad one is entirely in his hands.