Jason Peters Chooses His Words Carefully When it Comes to Wentz
This week, another former teammate of Carson Wentz with the Eagles has spoken up and again guys are trying to be nice in their commentary about the former Franchise Quarterback for the Birds. On NFL Network's Good Morning Football, Nine-time Pro Bowl selection Jason Peters was a guest on the show wearing a Philadelphia Eagles hoodie; While most media outlets focused on Peters proclamation that he "still got some in the tank" and wants to continue playing in the NFL, the real eye opener is what he said about his former teammate.
After five rollercoaster years in Philadelphia with significant highs and lows, Carson Wentz was traded to the Indianapolis Colts after the worst season of his NFL career. Jason Peters was the teammate of Wentz for all five seasons in Philadelphia and when the conversation turned to the former Eagles Quarterback, this is what Peters said:
"Carson (Wentz) is a great player, nothing really went wrong on that. He just was in Philadelphia, it's a hard city to play for, man. They're critical of every play, inch, foot, year. You gotta bring it every year or Philadelphia will eat you up, man."
Now it is very possible that Peters is choosing his words careful because he wants to play in the NFL this upcoming season and the Colts starting Left Tackle for a decade, Anthony Castonzo, retired after the 2020 NFL season. Maybe Peters is hoping the Colts are one of the teams that give him a call this offseason. But Peters is making the same mistake other players have made when talking about Carson Wentz: these guys are conflating and blurring the lines between Wentz the Football Player and Wentz the Human Being.
Anyone who knows anything about Carson Wentz knows that he is great Human Being who spends his free time doing charity work and raising money for worthy causes. Even after his trade out of Philadelphia, Wentz jumped on a Zoom call to surprise Eagles fan Giovanni Hamilton, the young boy who became famous after the video went viral after meeting Wentz in person. Carson Wentz is a devoted family man who is upfront about his Christian faith and he is well known for avoiding using any curse words at any time.
But none of those qualities make up for or should cover up who Carson Wentz is and how he has performed on and off the field as a professional. After finish the 2017 and 2018 seasons top ten in the NFL in Passer Rating (101.9 in 2017 and 102.2 in 2018), Wentz had the dubious distinction of leading the NFL with 15 Interceptions during the 2020 season. Wentz is 19th among active NFL Quarterbacks in Comeback wins over the last five seasons with Nine, but he is also has finished each of those seasons top ten most Fumbles in the league. Also, there are numerous reports about Wentz being difficult to coach and that he is stubborn; Wentz has said multiple times since 2018 that he won't change his playing style despite on the field injuries and poor play.
So the reality is that Carson Wentz is not a "Great Player" as Jason Peters said. In reality, Wentz is a player with great talent and potential who is also from all reports a phenomenal Human Being. But when Eagles Owner Jeff Lurie referred to Wentz as an "Asset" back in January, the writing was on the wall about the Quarterback's future in Philadelphia and sent a message to the rest of the NFL that perceptions about him may be closer to reality than some want to admit. While Jalen Hurts has participated with interviews on CBS Sports and with NFL Network's Kay Adams in Instagram Live since the end of the 2020 NFL season, Carson Wentz silence for two months (outside of one tweet) was disconcerting in comparison to Hurts staying visible.
Peters is not the only former Eagles teammate to go out of their way to not criticize Carson Wentz: A few weeks ago, Eagles Defensive Back Jalen Milles was asked about the Quarterback situation after the 2020 season and Mills said this about Wentz and Hurts:
"We know that (Carson Wentz) didn't play up to (expectations) this year and he know's that; You know he's a fiery competitor, a guy who wants to be perfect at everything he does. And then you got a guy like (Jalen) Hurts who is a leader, a guy who has won at Alabama, he won at Oklahoma, and then he came in and he had a really, really good rookie season even though he started late in the season."
Wait a minute, so Wentz is a "fiery competitor" and Perfectionist but Hurts is "A Leader" and Winner? Like Jason Peters, in Jalen Mills attempts to compliment Wentz he gave out key information:
*When Peters says that Philadelphia is "a hard city to play for" when talking about Carson Wentz, doesn't that mean that the young Quarterback didn't have the mental fabric to play in a tough market? Why would it matter if "Philadelphia will eat you up" if that wasn't possibly an issue for Carson Wentz?
*When Mills describes Hurts as a Leader and Wentz as a Fiery Competitor, that contrast makes me wonder which player I would rather have at Quarterback: A Winner (Hurts) or a Perfectionist (Wentz)?
As I stated earlier, I understand that some of these active players want to be careful what they say about a former teammate who could potentially be a future teammate, but we can still hear what they have said and line it up with other things we know about Carson Wentz. When I gather all the information from players, NFL Insider Reports, along with Wentz own words and actions all bring me to the conclusion that Carson Wentz is better off not in Philadelphia and the Eagles are good to move on without him.
Wentz grew up in a social environment that was shelter on some levels and sterile on others in North Dakota. He didn't grow up in a multicultural environment or spend his teenage years around many people who think, look, or act differently than him. His time playing at North Dakota State was the most time that he spent in his life up to that point traveling outside of his state. So when Carson Wentz was drafted by the Eagles, Philadelphia was a culture shock to a young man who grew up in a part of the Midwest that is isolated from most of the United States. When Fletcher Cox says that Carson Wentz is his "best friend", that's coming from a guy who like Wentz loves hunting and fishing. That does not mean Wentz was beloved or good friends with the full locker room or a guy that guys viewed as their leader.
Wentz could never galvanize the Eagles' Locker Room the way that Nick Foles did in 2017 and 2018. Wentz is not a magnetic leader like Jalen Hurts has proved himself to be at Alabama, Oklahoma and now in Philadelphia. But all of that is no longer Carson Wentz problems, he can leave all of that in the past as he gets a fresh in a city with a third of the media coverage as Philadelphia with the Colts. Maybe Wentz will finally live up to the potential that made him the second overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft or maybe Wentz will sustain another injury that will derail his development as an NFL Quarterback.
No matter what happens, let's relax with the Carson Wentz superlatives and stop worrying about what words we have to say about the former Eagles Franchise Quarterback. Being a Great Human Being is very different than being a Great NFL Player. Wentz has proven his worth outside of football but he still has a lot to prove on the football field. Jalen Miles, Jason Peters, and Jalen Hurts can be as careful as they want with their words but anyone with eyes wide open know the truth about Carson Wentz.