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Carson Wentz: Weaknesses could keep Commanders from playoffs

By Lee Cleveland - December 31, 2022

Following their loss to the San Francisco 49ers last week, the Washington Commanders (7-7-1) announced Carson Wentz will start at quarterback on Sunday in its must-win game against the Cleveland Browns (6-9).

Wentz, the team’s original first-string quarterback, started the first six games of the season and led Washington to a 2-4 record before fracturing his ring finger on his throwing hand and subsequently being placed on injured reserve on October 22. He was re-activated on December 12, 2022, but did not regain his starting duties until this week.

Taylor Heinicke, who took over for Wentz, had led the team to a 6-1 record prior to Washington’s tie with the New York Giants on December 4 and consecutive losses to the Giants and 49ers later in the month.

Washington can still secure a playoff birth by winning its last two games, against the Browns and Dallas Cowboys. But, should they lose one or both, they’ll likely need help elsewhere in order to play in the postseason.

It’s not surprising the team was on a roll with Heinicke, losing just one game of eight in a two-month stretch. His quick reflexes and scrambling ability gave the offense a new dimension. And that’s what leads us to Carson Wentz’s biggest weaknesses as it relates to the Commanders.

He is not a good runner and his reflexes are average.

No, Wentz isn’t immobile either. In fact, he boasts satisfactory scrambling ability for an NFL quarterback. However, given the Commenders’ pass blocking is SO poor, the team needs a legitimate runner at quarterback – or someone with high-level reflexes – in order to perform like a playoff-caliber offense.

Wentz was sacked 9 times in Week 3

In sum, Wentz, working behind an all-pro offensive line, is arguably one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the league – But behind weak pass blocking, he’s a bit of a liability.

… And that might be the difference in Sunday’s match-up. Wentz could find himself a sitting duck in situations that Heinicke would have scrambled his way out of. And that problem could lead to additional issues. Because Wentz is more likely to be sacked, he’s more likely to fumble. And because he’s not a runner, he will be hurried more often thus increasing the likelihood of interceptions.

If the Browns’ defense can get good pressure on Wentz, it’ll be a long afternoon for the Commanders.


Tags: NFL Football