Hey, guess which quarterback the Eagles play on the road Sunday? Tall, reddish hair, looks like former rugby player Prince Harry?
Yep, it’s Carson Wentz, the first of two scheduled meetings this season. Wentz’ odyssey has him in Washington this season, after an unsuccessful season in Indianapolis.
You know Wentz’ story:
- Eagles traded up to take him with the No. 2 overall pick in 2016
- Had an MVP-type of season in 2017 before being injured in the 13th game
- Put the Eagles in position to get the NFC’s top seed in 2017 — the Super Bowl-winning year
- Injured again in 2018
- Benched in 2020 for poor performance
- Left town via trade with Indianapolis with a bad taste in his mouth … and vice versa
At a news conference Wednesday with Washington-area reporters, Wentz said:
“There’s always things I look back on, ‘Man, I could’ve been better here, better as a person, better as a teammate.’ ”
Of the 17 games on the schedule, the first meeting with Wentz is one Eagles fans are eagerly awaiting, although the home game on Monday, Nov. 14, certainly will be interesting.
The Eagles are playing nice with Wentz — no criticism about their former quarterback, no bulletin-board material.
“I think he’s doing a nice job over there,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said. “Obviously, he’s thrown for a bunch of yards, and we know that he can get hot, and be really on.
“We know he’s powerful with the ball in his hands and he can make a play at any time. So, we’re going through our process to get ready for him and we know he can make a lot of plays.”
WENTZ, HURTS TEAMMATES
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts replaced the benched Wentz in 2020 and started the final four games of the season. Hurts said there is mutual respect between them.
- “I think anytime you have an opportunity to be on a team like that with a player like him and coaches as we had with their experience — it’s always a learning and teachable moment,” Hurts said.
- “I learned a lot. That’s something I preach to my teammates now, the younger guys — take advantage of the opportunities you have while you’re not playing because it pays dividends in the end. You just have to be patient, be a sponge and soak it all in.”
Wentz is having a decent season. He has completed 57-of-87 passes for 650 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions. Washington rallied to win its opener against the Jaguars and lost at the Lions.
Hurts has completed 44-of-63 passes for 576 yards. He also has rushed for 147 yards and three touchdowns. Led by Hurts, the 2-0 Eagles have the NFL’s top-ranked offense.
Hurts was asked if he learned anything specifically from Wentz during their one season together in Philly.
- “He has a great arm,” Hurts said. “He’s a big guy, hard to tackle and he’s just making kinda crazy plays in the pocket.
- “I took notice of that when I was a rookie. And he still does it now, kinda ducking and dodging and weaving.”
When Sirianni was hired in January 2021, Wentz was coming off a benching at the end of the season.
When the decision was made to make Hurts the starter, Wentz was dealt to Indy. The trade was less than a month after Sirianni arrived.
- “Obviously, I was thinking about all the guys on the team and what the team was going to look like [when he was hired], what we were going to build and how we were going to build with [general manager] Howie [Roseman],” Sirianni said.
- “Obviously, he [Wentz] was on the roster when I first got here, so I reached out to a lot of different guys, but it was the same process at every position. Trying to get to know the guys first, the connection, and then trying to get to know what the guys could do when I was watching the tape.
- “But then everything is going to come back to, all right, I have to get my hands on the guys and figure out what they can do in person.”
Sirianni is a modern-day coach, in tune with more than just his immediate surroundings. He seeks out as much information as he can about opponents, including Wentz.
“I think somebody asked me … did you watch ‘Hard Knocks?’ ” Sirianni said.
“Yeah, we were looking for information when we played them [the Lions were the focus of the HBO show]. Did you listen to [Vikings coach] Kevin O’Connell’s press conference? Yeah, I was looking for information.
“Are you going to ask the people in the building that are familiar with Carson about him? Yeah, I’m looking for information.”
Sirianni was asked if he talked to his former boss Frank Reich, the Indy coach, about Wentz.
“Again, I talk to Frank all the time, but I haven’t necessarily talked to Frank about Carson,” Sirianni said.
“Obviously, I’ve talked to some other guys there I’m close with about it. Just some small talk … But of course, anything I can get, we’re trying to get with information on him.”
Kickoff is 1 p.m. Sunday. Stock up on popcorn.