Before the Rams came calling and gave him an opportunity to back up Matthew Stafford, Carson Wentz had been a free agent for about 10 months. He was cut by the Commanders in January after being benched last season, and he was unable to find the right opportunity with another team until now.
He won’t get the chance to start in Los Angeles unless Stafford gets injured again, but he’s just grateful to be in an NFL locker room again and working with a coach like Sean McVay.
“Being in the league long enough now and seeing the landscape, always had a lot of respect for Coach McVay and how he’s done things from afar without personally knowing him,” he said. “Just knowing how he is as a coach and everything, and I felt like the pieces were in a good place and it’s the middle of the season. Time was ticking at some point, too. So when it made sense, I said, ‘Let’s do this thing.’ Been kind of craving to get back in the locker room, back in the football environment. Never really knew what the situation would be like all offseason. It’s been weird waiting and seeing the landscape of everything, but when I had the chance to come here, it just felt right.”
Wentz undoubtedly struggled last season as the Commanders’ starting quarterback, going 2-5 in seven starts and throwing nine interceptions with just 11 touchdown passes. He was benched and relegated to the No. 3 spot on the depth chart, which hurt his chances of landing a job with another team this season.
He understood that after the way he played in 2022, it might be hard for him to land another starting job. It’s not out of the question for Wentz to become a starter again in the future, similar to the way Baker Mayfield has, but he’s focused on the task at hand, and that’s helping the Rams win as many games as he can – even if it’s just as Stafford’s backup.
“I would say, the NFL has a way of humbling everybody. It’s a process. But at the same time, I’m no dummy. I’ve seen it all. I know how this league works,” Wentz said. “And I know kind of how last year ended and I didn’t play good enough. I was aware of what it could be. We all desire to be the guy playing. Don’t get me wrong. And I think everybody would be lying to you if they said differently. But we all know this is a hard business. It’s a hard league. And just to be on a team, to be around the guys is a blessing regardless. So I’m thankful for the opportunity and I’ll help in whatever way I can and be ready. I don’t have to worry about next year, I don’t have to worry about the following years. I can just be where my feet are and have as much fun as I can and help as much as I can.”
Being on his fourth team in as many years, Wentz has had to learn a lot of playbooks. This is a unique situation where he has to learn it mid-season, but he says Stafford and the Rams’ coaching staff have all been helping in getting him up to speed in Los Angeles.
“The hardest part is just learning the playbook as quick as humanly possible. I’ve been in weird situations the last couple of years. I’ve had to learn a new playbook every year,” Wentz said. “Never in-season like this, so sometimes I feel like I’m drinking from a fire hose at times just trying to accumulate what I can. But Stafford has been awesome help. The coaches have been great and I’m just trying to soak it up as best as quick as I can.”
Wentz is the only quarterback on the roster besides Stafford, so if No. 9 goes down at any point, it’ll be the newly signed Wentz taking the field for Los Angeles.