This Sunday, Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz will battle the team that drafted him with the second overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the team where he had the most success, the Philadelphia Eagles, in the first of two matchups between the two teams.
The first matchup will take place at FedExField as Wentz, and the Commanders(1-1) will battle the Eagles(2-0) for the time since he was traded to the Colts by the team after the 2020 season.
It’s a divisional game, so winning is important, but what might be bigger for Wentz is the opportunity to show Philadelphia he can still get it done; he did acknowledge on Tuesday that he’s excited about the game.
“Yeah, exciting. It’s an exciting time,” he told the media. “Obviously, a division rivalry, you know, been a part of this one for a while. Things look different this year, but it’ll be fun. It’ll be fun. Obviously, it looks a little bit different over there from when I was there. New faces, new coaches, new everything, but it’ll be a fun one.”
During his time with the Eagles, Wentz received a lot of love from the Philly faithful, especially in 2017, where he had his best season as a pro and helped lead the team to the best record in the NFL before tearing his ACL late in the season. Ultimately, the Eagles would win the Super Bowl with Nick Foles at quarterback,
Wentz battled injuries in 2018, and ultimately, Foles would again lead the Eagles to the playoffs. However, in 2019, Wentz would get paid as he signed a four-year, $128 million extension with the team and would lead Philadelphia to the postseason, but he would leave the team’s playoff loss to the Seahawks with a concussion.
Unfortunately, 2020 was Wentz’s worst year as a pro, where he led the league in interceptions in only 12 games, and he would lose his job late in the season to Jalen Hurts.
After five seasons, Wentz’s time with the Eagles had to come to an end.
Wentz discussed his time in Philadelphia.
“I mean this league, my career has been a whirlwind,” he said. “I’ll tell you that much. A lot of really good memories from my time there. I’m not going to lie—a lot of great friends. A lot of great relationships that I made, you know. Definitely will have some mixed emotions in terms of those things, but nothing crazy jumps out other than my time there was a whirlwind. It was wild. The NFL is a whirlwind, but I’m grateful to still be playing, and I’m excited for this one…
“It was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun. Obviously, we had a lot of success there. Winning the Super Bowl up there was pretty special. Being a part of that was pretty cool. It’s quite the city, quite the fan base, quite the experience. I’ll definitely cherish my time there, but obviously, being on the other end now, it’ll look a little different. It was a fun couple years there while I was up there. I definitely cherished my time there.”
Things did not end the way he wanted them to in Philadelphia, but according to the seven-year veteran, he grew as a person.
“I mean, I think anytime in life you get thrown a curve ball like that, things change anytime you think, you know what life’s going to look like,” he said. “You know, sometimes I always think God’s up there saying I’m in control, and for me as a man of faith, I think that’s where my faith kicks in and just saying, okay, God, what do you have next for me? I definitely cherished my time that I had up there. It was definitely a wild ride in many, many ways. I grew a lot as a man, you know, got married, had a child, a lot of things. So, I’m very grateful for my time there, but it definitely does catch you off guard things change, and you gotta learn to grow up and change and adapt. At the end of the day, I’m thankful for it. I’m thankful for the changes that life has brought, and I’ve grown a lot from it.”
Wentz is off to a decent start for the Commanders, and there’s probably nothing more he would want but to defeat Philadelphia on Sunday. It won’t be easy.
The Washington Commanders fired defensive line coach Sam Mills III, head coach Ron Rivera announced on Tuesday.
Assistant defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina will take over the position.
“I made a change on the coaching staff. I relieved Sam Mills III of his duties,” Rivera said. “Just a difference in philosophy for the most part, and we’ll go from there…
“Just some observations, and to me, it was I just felt it was a change that I needed to make, feeling there was a little bit of difference in the philosophy.”
When asked what the differences in philosophy were, Rivera said, “I’m going to keep that to myself.”
Mills is the son of Hall of Famer Sam Mills Jr., who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last Saturday in Canton, Ohio. He has been with the Commanders since 2020. Mills held a few coaching positions with the Panthers since 2005 and was with Rivera when he became the team’s head coach in 2011.
The 44-year-old was named defensive line coach in Carolina in 2018 and held the job until Rivera was fired in 2019.
The Washington Commanders continued mandatory minicamp on Thursday. However, Washington was without one of their best players in wide receiver Terry McLaurin, who is hoping to get an extension with the team.
Entering his fourth season in the NFL, McLaurin has put up big-time numbers for the Commanders. In his short career, the 2019 third-round pick has been very productive. The former Ohio State product has accumulated 222 receptions for 3090 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Despite McLaurin not being at minicamp, Commanders coach Ron Rivera says there’s no concern, and the team and McLaurin’s representatives have been in contact.
“Give you guys a little tidbit, we’ve been talking with his folks, probably the last week and working on some stuff, and hopefully it’ll be taken care of in a matter of time,” Rivera said Thursday. “How much time? I don’t know. But it is never contentious. I can promise you that much. So, we’re feeling pretty good and pretty confident at some point, this will get done…
“I think that’s important is that when a player like this does make the impact, he’s made and not just on the football team, but you know, around the community and everything you have to be able to take care of that guy, so everybody understands this is the type of player we want. So that’s why, and I’ve said this, you know, we’re not trading Terry; everything we’re doing is we’re trying to get this done. And like I said, just to tell you guys, we’ve been talking with these guys for over probably the last seven, eight days. And we intend to do this because we believe in who Terry is for us and what he can bring to the table.”
McLaurin has one year left on his contract and can be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the 26-year-old McLaurin is continuing to seek a contract extension consistent with other comparable WRs that recently signed; that would mean guys like Rams’ Cooper Kupp(three years, $80 million), Eagles’ A.J. Brown(four years, $100 million), and Tyreek Hill(four years, $120 million).
In the end, it appears McLaurin, who clearly has outplayed his contract, will get paid; it’s just a matter of when.