During the Washington Commanders' training camp this summer, a number of videos have gone public showing new quarterback Carson Wentz appearing to struggle with his accuracy.
During an interview with Scott Abraham of 7News DC, Wentz addressed those missed throws:
Scott Abraham @Scott7news
Me - "Carson, there's a growing narrative that you've been inaccurate in training camp. Is that a fair characterization?<a href="https://twitter.com/cj_wentz?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@cj_wentz</a> - "For one, it's camp. I didn't know that, so thank you."<br><br>Watch the entire back and forth. Good stuff from the <a href="https://twitter.com/Commanders?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Commanders</a> QB1.<br><br>More on <a href="https://twitter.com/7NewsDC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@7NewsDC</a>! <a href="https://t.co/LR9Yr2TQeY">pic.twitter.com/LR9Yr2TQeY</a>
"I'm my biggest critic, so I come back after practice and I kick myself over one, two three, four, five plays. But at the same time, there's usually things we can learn from it. There's usually like, 'OK here's what I was seeing, this is what I was feeling,' and then go talk to the receiver. 'Hey Terry [McLaurin], what were you feeling on that one?' Maybe shutting it down in that zone, or ripping through that zone. Different things that opens up conversations.
"So I'm definitely bummed when I miss them, but at the same time, let's use them as learning opportunities because it is a lot of our first times together. There's been OTAs, but a lot of it is new and more or less 'live reps' against our defense. Just seeing things different, so trying to be as clean as I can be. Hasn't been perfect by any means and I can continue to get better and I will. But at the same time, I try not to beat myself up over it and say, 'Hey, how can we learn from it so it doesn't happen the next time, but especially on Sundays this year.'"
Washington head coach Ron Rivera has defended his quarterback this week, telling reporters he believes the accuracy concerns are overblown.
"It's a lot better than you give him credit for, just because of the way things happen in practice," he said. "There's a lot of little nuances that we see that we look at that we get to review. Yeah, there's some inaccuracy. But it's nothing that we are overly concerned [about]."
Rivera also said he wasn't worried about anything that happened between Wentz and his two former organizations, the Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts, who each gave up on the veteran quarterback.
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"He's here because we want him here"<br><br>Ron Rivera on Carson Wentz and the opportunity he has with the <a href="https://twitter.com/Commanders?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Commanders</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HTTC?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HTTC</a> I <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLTrainingCamp?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFLTrainingCamp</a> <a href="https://t.co/i3PM6iW47W">pic.twitter.com/i3PM6iW47W</a>
"The narratives are all unfair," he said. "I mean, obviously he left each place for their reasons. OK, great—that's their reasons. He's here for our reason. He's here because we want him here. He's here because we see what he can do, we see what he's done. And based on what we do, we see there's an opportunity. And that's why he's here."
"And we have a lot of confidence in what we've seen so far," he continued. "The guys have all assimilated to him. They've rallied around him. And that's a huge plus because, again, based on what we went through for the last couple of years—and probably before I got here—trying to find the quarterback."
But despite what Wentz and Rivera say, it's hard to note that some of the quarterback's throws in camp and decisions have been downright poor:
Granted, what happens in the games is far more important than what occurs on the practice field, as players get back into the swing of things. But accuracy has been an issue for Wentz, as evidenced by his 62.6 career completion percentage and 57 interceptions in 85 career starts, including an NFL-worst 15 in the 2020 season.
That and the tendency to hold onto the ball too long have always been knocks against Wentz. And dating back to the 2018 season, his teams have gone just 26-29-1 in his starts.
Washington will be hoping to rediscover the version of Wentz that looked like an MVP candidate in 2017 (33 touchdowns, seven interceptions in 13 games) before he tore his ACL. That player looked like a burgeoning superstar. In the years that followed, Wentz showed flashes of that level of play but struggled to consistently perform.
The Wentz that shows up for the Commanders in 2022 will ultimately determine the fate of their season.