Why Commanders fans should be optimistic about Carson Wentz

May 24, 2022; Asburn, VA, USA; Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz (11) passes the ball during drills as part of OTAs at The Park in Ashburn. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
May 24, 2022; Asburn, VA, USA; Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz (11) passes the ball during drills as part of OTAs at The Park in Ashburn. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /
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The discourse surrounding Carson Wentz on social media is unavoidable for Washington Commanders fans, and it can be difficult to make an informed decision of what the Commanders should be expecting to get from Wentz. By looking at the statistics, we can get an unbiased view of Wentz and what he could bring to the table in 2022.

A former No. 2 overall pick by the Eagles back in 2016, Wentz’s career has had its peaks and valleys already. From a 2017 campaign where he was top three in MVP voting before tearing his ACL, to a 2020 season in which he threw the most interceptions in the NFL (15) while only playing in 75% of the teams games. Unsurprisingly, what Commanders fans should expect is something in between these two versions of Wentz.

It is not hard to see why NFL fans would be pessimistic about Wentz, when the last taste of him was a disappointing performance against Jacksonville in Week 18 of the 2021 season. Wentz turned the ball over twice in a must win game for the Colts and they lost to a Jacksonville team that held the league’s worst record.

It is also not hard to see why Commander’s fans would be optimistic about Wentz. From 2017-2019, Wentz faced Washington five times and led the Eagles to victory in each meeting. He threw 14 touchdowns and only three interceptions in those games. Wentz’s dominance against the team, combined with the subpar quarterback play the franchise has endured since Kirk Cousins’ departure, has Washington fans feeling that they have their best QB in years.

The statistical reasons as to why Commanders fans should be excited about Carson Wentz.


The quarterback rating (QBR) stat that we will be looking at today comes from Football Outsiders. Their QBR stat, as explained by the hyperlink, shows how much value a quarterback adds to their team on a scale of 1-100. It is adjusted for opponent and situation making it a valuable stat for comparing players.

Wentz was among the league leaders in QBR finishing ninth out 34 quarterbacks with at least 200 pass attempts during the 2021 season. Wentz finished ahead of notable QB’s such as: Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, and Kirk Cousins. He also finished ahead of any qualifying NFC East quarterback including Dak Prescott and Taylor Heinicke and ranked 14 spots higher than Matt Ryan, the Colts replacement for Wentz, who finished 23rd in the same metric.

Offensive Line Play

When Carson Wentz was traded from the Colts to the Commanders this offseason people were quick to point out that a large part of Wentz’s success came due to the excellent offensive line play of the Indianapolis Colts. It is true that Carson Wentz has benefited when playing behind a talented offensive line, however that may be a good thing as the Commanders boast a very talented offensive line themselves.

Looking at Carson Wentz DYAR, a stat from Football Outsiders that shows a quarterback’s level of performance compared to a replacement level player, and comparing it with Football Outsiders pass protection ranks it is easy to see how important good offensive line play is for Carson Wentz to be successful. The below chart that I created in Excel shows just how critical offensive line play has been to Wentz’s output on a year-to-year basis since his torn ACL in 2017.

When looking at the chart it is obvious that there is a trend going on, and by using Excel’s correlation function we can determine that Wentz’s DYAR RK has a 92% correlation to his Pass Protection RK. This means that theoretically his DYAR can be 92% explained by his offensive line’s success.

Using stats to determine offensive line talent can be difficult and confusing, but my favorite stat to look at is ESPN’s team and player pass block win rate stats, explained below:

"“Our pass rush win rate metric tells us how often a pass-rusher is able to beat his block within 2.5 seconds. Likewise, our pass block win rate metric conveys the rate linemen can sustain their blocks for 2.5 seconds or longer.”"

I would have used this metric when making the table earlier but I could not find the data for years before 2020. Nonetheless, when comparing the Colts’ offensive line to that of the Commanders the general public might favor Indy, but Washington’s line may be just as good.

After all, the Commanders were ninth in pass block win rate at 63%, and the Colts were 20th at 60%. Additionally, Washington finished first in run block win rate, which is not necessarily important, but does go to show the prowess of the offensive line.

Washington did lose Brandon Scherff in the offseason, but signed Andrew Norwell and Trai Turner to replace his production. These two proven veterans should be able to make up for the impact lost from Scherff’s departure.