Carson Wentz had “mixed feelings” ahead of the Eagles game. But he is locked in

ASHBURN, Va. – Carson Wentz went to great lengths this week to “try not to make the game bigger than it needs to be.” But the more you talk, the more you try to hide your emotions, the more the reality of this game becomes apparent.

This thing is big.

Why can’t it? A year and a half later Philadelphia Eagles traded him, the 29-year-old Wentz will face his former side for the first time on Sunday afternoon. He was once an MVP contender in Philly, the full-back of their certain future. Now he is trying to revive his career with Washington commandershis third team in three years.

Of course he wanted to show the Eagles that they were wrong. Of course he wanted to show them what they had thrown away. And against a very good defense that turns off Minnesota Vikings Monday night and pick a midfielder Kirk Cousin three times, of course Wentz wanted to declare to the Commanders and everyone that he could still be a franchise midfielder.

“I heard where he said he was approaching this team like you would approach any other team,” said the Commander’s offensive coordinator, Scott Turner. “Obviously we know it’s not. I mean, you know, people are human.”

“When you’re playing with your old team, of course you feel something,” said Washington receiver Curtis Samuel. “I get it. But he’s locked in, focused. He’s always like that: Calm down.”

Maybe that’s true in practice this week, but it remains to be seen how calm Wentz will be on Sunday. This week has rekindled a lot of old feelings for him, which he admitted when talking about his “wild trip” in Philadelphia during Wednesday’s press conference.

The “myth” story of what happened to Wentz in Philly is well known, and still somewhat eerie. He was everything in that organization. They traded in the 2016 draft to get him a second overall pick. A year later, he showed everyone why, with an MVP-sized performance leading the Eagles 11-2. But then he injured his knee and had to watch it Nick Foles get the job done and take Philly to the Super Bowl title.

The next three years had ups and downs. Numerous reports show tension between him and his teammates, as well as the problems he has with the coaching staff. His game had its ups and downs, and the Eagles’ agency took notice. In the 2020 draft, they took back the quarter Jalen Hurts in the second round. And that season Wentz struggled, the Eagles won 3-8-1 under his direction, and by week 14 he was on the bench.

He then disappeared – being transported to Indianapolis on a off-season trip that he admits caught him “falling off guard”.

Wentz said: “I think any time in your life you get thrown such a curved ball, things change any time you think you know what life is going to be like. “I think that’s where my faith grew and just said, ‘OK, God, what do you have next for me?’ I definitely cherish the time that I had there (in Philadelphia).

“It was definitely a wild ride in many ways.”

Throw in a tumultuous year in Indianapolis and Wentz admits his entire career “was a whirlwind.” But he certainly seems to have found a home in Washington. The Commanders seem committed to him, not just for this year. They believe he can be their franchise’s quarterback for years to come.

And he played well through the first two games. He’s second in the NFL with 650 yards of passing, and leads with seven touchdown passes. He has thrown three interceptions in two games, but the fault of the Commanders is clicking. They are sixth in terms of total yards and are averaging 27.5 points per game.

However, this game will be different. Doing it in front of a top defense in what is sure to be an emotional match will say a lot about how far Wentz has come.

And what to do against the team that pushed him aside? That would have to be even sweeter.

“I’ve coached different teams in this tournament and I know how it feels to be ready to go up against some of the teams I’ve coached before,” Turner said. “I can only imagine it (amplified) when you’re a player.”

The Eagles know it too – especially those who remember Wentz as their man. Some of them admit to looking forward to this game against their old back four. Several of them said they called or texted him this week. They are aware, given the circumstances of his departure, that this is not just any other game, for them or for him.

“I know I could have played some midfielders who have been here, but unlike this situation,” the defense finished. Brandon Graham speak. “This situation was completely different, with him and the way it ended.”

So how will Wentz handle it? Eagles also want to learn. They know that he can be prone to failure and shaky in some big positions. Many Eagles defenders said they were concerned about whether Wentz appeared calm or confused as he lined up against his former team. They don’t think he’ll let his emotions do their job. And it certainly helps that his first game against the Eagles was at FedEx Field, not in Philly in front of a loud, angry crowd.

But even if Wentz admits, emotions will run high, no matter where the match is played.

“There will definitely be some mixed emotions,” he said. “But nothing crazy jumped out of my time there was a whirlwind. It was wild.”

How important will those “mixed emotions” be when he gets his first shot against the team he once thought he would play with forever?

“We’ll find out,” Wentz said. “We’ll find out.”

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