Washington Commanders to rely on Carson Wentz in more ways than one to open season

New Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz played the first five seasons of his NFL career under Doug Pederson with the Philadelphia Eagles. Set to start his first regular-season game in a Commanders uniform, it all comes full circle for the former No. 2 pick.

Wentz and his Commanders will open the 2022 campaign against the Pederson and the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday in what promises to be an interesting matchup.

Knowing full well that Wentz’s experience in Pederson’s offense could be a competitive advantage here, Commanders head coach Ron Rivera is leaning a bit on his new quarterback.

“For us, the insights that Carson can give us (into Pederson) and has already given us is huge. We’ll take that to heart, but we’ll take it for what it’s worth. It’s more about what they’ve got planned for us than what they’ve done.”

Ron Rivera on Carson Wentz heading into Week 1

Indeed, Wentz’s primary focus has to be on having success against a Jaguars defense that finished last season having yielded the fifth-most points in the NFL.

In addition to the hiring of Pederson, Jacksonville brought in a new defensive coordinator in the form of Mike Caldwell. He was with Pederson in Philadelphia, but that pre-dated the Wentz era.

Related: Carson Wentz and NFL’s top QBs of 2022

Carson Wentz looking for statement in Washinton Commanders debut

Carson Wentz, Washington Commanders
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It was just a few years ago that Wentz was considered one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL. He was a major part of Philadelphia’s run to the Super Bowl title as a sophomore in 2017 despite being injured for the postseason. Throughout his first four NFL seasons, Wentz put some pretty eye-opening numbers.

Unfortunately, it has been completely downhill from there. Wentz was ultimately “benched” by Pederson with the Eagles in 2020 before being dealt to the Indianapolis Colts the following spring. His one year run in Indianapolis did not go swimmingly with continued drama behind the scenes.

“One of the things that bothers me about this offseason, when it comes to Carson Wentz, I can’t believe how sour Indianapolis was on him after one year. It’s unbelievable when you talk to people in the organization about the move in retrospect.

People in that franchise, decision-makers and it wasn’t just a Jim Irsay thing. I don’t even think it was just a Chris Ballard thing…it was like they knew in the middle of the season…I talked to a guy and he was like, ‘Look, we knew in the middle of the year we were done with him, it wasn’t going to work.’”

NFL insider Charles Robinson on perception of Carson Wentz from Indianapolis Colts

Acquired by Washington this past spring, Wentz now has a new lease on life. His goal is to utilize a change of scenery in order to jump start what is a fledgling career. It seems as if Wentz’s new Commanders teammates are fully supportive of him despite issues in both Philadelphia and Indianapolis.

Related: 3 important matchups to watch in Washington Commanders vs Jacksonville Jaguars opener

“What he does on a day-to-day basis will tell me everything I need to know about him. He came in, he worked, he involved himself with the team and he’s exactly what we want from a quarterback. So, I have no questions,” Commanders defensive lineman Jonathan Allen on Carson Wentz.

Will this new lease on life lead to a statement game from Wentz in his Commanders regular-season debut? It’s an open question. But a clean slate can’t be seen as a bad thing for a quarterbac who has fallen on hard times. If it includes some sort of revenge against Pederson, so be it.

This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.

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