For Carson Wentz, consistency has been elusive throughout coaching camp


Within the Washington Commanders’ 10 coaching camp practices thus far, quarterback Carson Wentz has been constantly uneven, typically throwing unbelievable darts and different instances inexplicable geese. He has hit arduous throws deep and missed straightforward ones brief and so they’ve sometimes come shut sufficient collectively to immediate the query: How?

“[His accuracy] is a lot better than you give him credit for, just because of the way things happen in practice,” Coach Ron Rivera mentioned Saturday night time after the group’s exercise at FedEx Subject. “There’s a lot of little nuances that we see and that we look at and get to review. There are some inaccuracies, but it’s nothing that we are overly concerned about.”

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The issue, Rivera argued, is circumstantial. Wentz remains to be adjusting to a brand new scheme with new terminology and new progressions, in addition to a quick group of receivers who resemble “a 4×100 track team.” Give him sufficient reps, Rivera mentioned, and the offense will likely be good.

For now, although, even die-hard followers appear cautious. Throughout introductions for the stadium observe, Wentz ran down the home-team tunnel for the primary time and heard loud cheers — louder than for many anybody save defensive finish Chase Younger and receiver Terry McLaurin. However there was additionally a trepidation, a hesitancy bred by Wentz’s previous two years and Washington’s previous 20 years, and over the subsequent 90 minutes, Wentz did little however affirm the optimism and concern of these in attendance.

“Feels good, could definitely get better,” Wentz mentioned of the offense. “But it’s still early. We’re only two weeks into camp, and [timing and rhythm] are the things that particularly we’re working on. … Far from perfect, but it’s fun developing chemistry with those guys.”

Early on Saturday, Wentz appeared set as much as thrive. He had his beginning offensive line — Wes Schweitzer was in at proper guard for Trai Turner (quad) — and a full complement of talent gamers minus receiver Dyami Brown. However he struggled as he had Friday, airmailing a number of throws and skipping just a few others within the grime. He appeared significantly uncomfortable beneath strain, which superior statistics recommend is part of his sport that has worsened significantly over time.

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However then Wentz threw a laser between three defenders to receiver Jahan Dotson. It was a decent window throw with timing that few Washington quarterbacks post-Kirk Cousins may have made — and it appeared to get him in a little bit of a rhythm. He hit a tunnel display screen and a fast out earlier than entering into a protracted bomb to depth receiver Marken Michel, who got here down with it in the long run zone.

In one of many ensuing drives, as Wentz seesawed, Rivera noticed an ideal instance for his argument. On one play, receiver Curtis Samuel ran a brief route throughout the center and Wentz threw too excessive and too arduous for him to deal with. Proper there, Rivera mentioned, Wentz was getting used to the way in which Samuel runs these brief routes and his velocity (Samuel has clocked a 4.31-second 40-yard sprint).

Rivera additionally blamed unfamiliarity for Wentz and McLaurin’s inconsistent connection. McLaurin mentioned it’s taking a bit of longer to regulate as a result of he missed all of offseason exercises whereas holding out for a brand new contract. He’s studying how Wentz needs routes run, similar to whether or not a receiver ought to run the route excessive or low if a defender performs inside leverage.

“We are doing a good job of really working through those things … even when we miss some of the deep balls,” McLaurin mentioned. “It’s still good to get those reps to see it run against our defense and get a feel of what it is supposed to look like.”

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Lastly, on third down over the last interval of observe, they related. Close to the purpose line, Wentz stepped again and lofted a fast, back-shoulder fade to McLaurin, who turned at simply the best time to snare it over the pinnacle of nook Danny Johnson. It was the primary time Wentz and McLaurin had run the fade in camp, McLaurin mentioned, and so they dapped excitedly a number of instances strolling again to the sideline. McLaurin cherished the ball placement and timing and later likened the play to “a game rep.”

Later, a reporter requested Wentz if he may play greater than a sequence or two subsequent Saturday within the group’s first preseason sport towards the Carolina Panthers in hopes of smoothing out wrinkles.

“That’s something I always leave to the coaches,” he mentioned. “There are some new pieces, there are some new things, so I know we want to get out there [and] we’ll trust them to make the call in terms of how much.”

Perhaps Rivera is true. Perhaps Wentz, two years on from a traumatic finish in Philadelphia, can recapture the magic he as soon as had. Or possibly Rivera is improper, and Wentz is the participant who typically struggled the previous two years, and the examples the coach cites are simply affirmation bias. Or possibly the reality, like Wentz’s play thus far, will bear out someplace within the muddy center.

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