PHILADELPHIA — Jalen Hirst really tried to be diplomatic when asked about Carson Wentz.
But the reality was that their season together in 2020 was painful for both.
Wentz was clearly upset that the Eagles drafted Hearts in the second round, and he went on to have a terrible season. He was rated one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL until he was replaced by Benches and Hurts in the final 4½ game of the 4–11–1 season.
The pain made it appear that Wentz didn’t do much to help her. In fact, he didn’t. Wentz had checked in on the bench, both literally and figuratively, allegedly asking for a trade even before the season was over.
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Instead of competing with the Hurts for the starting job in 2021 under new coach Nick Siriani, Wentz got his wish and was traded to Indianapolis.
This went on for a playoff-less season, after which Colts owner Jim Irsay traded him to the Washington Commanders, saying, “I think the worst thing you can do is make a mistake and let it go ahead.” Try to live together.”
This is where revisionist history stops.
The mistake was not that Wentz is not a good quarterback. His stats with the Colts backed this up. Wentz threw 27 touchdown passes for just seven interceptions. And he’s off to a strong start with the Commanders, tied for the NFL lead with seven TD passes and a passer rating of 100.3.
But there is much more than that. A successful quarterback goes beyond the numbers, and Wentz still hasn’t got it.
Just listen to what Harts said when asked what he learned from Wentz in 2020: “I just noticed he has a great hand. He’s a big guy, hard to deal with. He just makes crazy plays in the pocket , so I definitely noticed him when I was a rookie. And he still does. Kind of ducking and dodging and weaving and doing those things.”
Hurts didn’t say anything like Wentz was a mentor, or that Wentz helped him get through a tough season, or that he and Wentz developed a close relationship.
In fact, when asked to describe their relationship, Hurts replied: “There’s definitely a mutual respect between the two of us. When he went to Indy and now (Washington), there’s definitely a mutual The honor was there, and I wish them all the best.”
Then, Hurts could say that he and Wentz developed a bond, that they still keep in touch, or more.
Yet Hirts chose his words carefully and then shut down any questions from Wentz when asked if Wentz had given him signs while Wentz was benched.
“I’m just going to say, I think we’re focused right now,” Hurts said. “I’m just focused on that now.”
In other words, no.
It was largely the same as when Wentz answered a question from reporters covering the commanders, if it meant anything extra against Hearst.
“I don’t put a lot of stock in that,” Wentz said. “It’s a new team. There’s a lot of new faces out there. So yeah, it’s going to be fun.”
Look at it another way.
Granted, it’s only two games, but Hurts has used his right hand and his feet to give the Eagles two wins. He has scored pinpoint passes on the run. He threw it in the middle. And he has outperformed opponents, as he did on his 26-yard TD run against the Vikings on Monday night.
He is clearly better than last season when he completed just 61.3% of his passes and was often hesitant to throw in the middle.
So far, Hurts has completed 69.8% of his passes after an impressive performance against the Vikings, in which he completed 26 of 31 passes for 333 yards and a touchdown. Hurts also went for 57 yards and two more TDs.
However, Eagles coach Nick Siriani was not what impressed him most about the Hearts.
It did: “We talk about all his abilities as a player, but the thing that gets you to your destination as a player is when you have other things – toughness, football. Love, Football IQ.
“The people who get to that roof, that’s what’s inside Jalen, and that’s what’s so special and that’s why you’re seeing him grow in my opinion.”
Siriani said he still doesn’t know what the sealing of Hearts is.
Doesn’t hurt either.
“I never put a roof over myself, and I’ve always felt that way,” Hurts said. “So nothing changes. I try to climb every day, learn from my mistakes and keep moving forward. That’s the mindset.”
Sure, Wentz also wants to improve every day. But he will turn 30 in December. Last summer he had a torn ACL, a stress fracture in his back, a concussion and had leg surgery (he didn’t miss any sports).
But Wentz is still trying to play as he would have been MVP in 2017 when he didn’t tear his ACL.
Wentz is no longer that quarterback, at least to everyone but Wentz.
So when Wentz makes “crazy play in the pocket,” as Hirts describes it, he often gets dismissed or throws an interception.
Sometimes, frustration is evident among his teammates and coaches. This was with the Colts last season, and there are stints with the Commanders this season as well.
In a conference call on Wednesday, head coach Ron Rivera was asked about Wentz’s rumored stubbornness and inability to take on hard coaching, such as with the Eagles in 2020.
Rivera seemed to stammer somewhat before replying: “I don’t get that. It’s a two-sided thing. It’s not just about the person but the people there. You want to work with people.” You don’t want to fight with people.
“This dude has been nothing but an ally and is exactly the man we hoped for.”
But it is all relative. Commander went down 22-0 to the Lions last week before making the final score of 36-27 somewhat respectable.
“We started very poorly, myself included,” Wentz said.
Wentz played better in the second half, but it was not enough. If he’s “exactly the guy we expected,” then it’s going to be a long season for Commanders.
Contact Martin Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @Mfranknfl.
This article was originally published in the Delaware News Journal: Unlike the Eagles’ Jalen Hirts, Carson Wentz Is Getting It Wrong