Advertisement

Chiefs announce QB Carson Wentz signing. Why 1 play in Germany might’ve played a part

Even four months later, the play stuck in Chiefs general manager Brett Veach’s mind.

Veach was speaking at the NFL Combine on Feb. 27 when asked, in general, about his backup quarterback spot for this coming season.

It started the Chiefs GM on a tangent toward a snap that still bothered him: A third-and-1 late in Week 9 against the Miami Dolphins in Germany.

The Chiefs needed to get to the 20-yard line — about two feet — to all but seal their victory. And the Dolphins countered by putting no defenders directly in front of quarterback Patrick Mahomes before a KC pass fell incomplete.

via GIPHY

“Like, you or I could’ve gotten a quarterback sneak,” Veach told reporters on Feb. 27 in Indianapolis. “We’re sitting there like, ‘Are you serious?’ We have got to be able to run a quarterback sneak.”

Miami, essentially, was daring KC to attempt a sneak with Mahomes, which the team has refused to do since the QB injured his knee on that type of play against Denver in 2019.

So fast-forward to Thursday, when the Chiefs officially announced the signing of backup QB Carson Wentz to a one-year deal.

Could that Miami play have impacted the transaction? Perhaps. According to Sports Info Solutions, Wentz has converted 47 of 53 QB sneak plays since 2016 into first downs for an 89% success rate. To compare, Philadelphia QB Jalen Hurts — considered the league’s best at that skill — was successful on 83% of his sneak attempts last season.

If the Chiefs plan to sub in Wentz for that particular situation, they haven’t talked much with him about it yet. Wentz told reporters Thursday that he had “no idea” if he’d be utilized in a potential short-yardage role while recognizing that he’d done well with the setup.

“I would credit a lot of my success to (Eagles center) Jason Kelce over the years there in Philly. He was the real secret ingredient to that one,” Wentz said with a smile. “But whatever capacity they need me to help in any way, that’s why I’m here. So looking forward to it.”

At 6-foot-5 and 237 pounds, Wentz certainly offers the Chiefs a different physical profile at QB than they’ve had in past years.

At the Combine, Veach said he often joked with coach Andy Reid about the team last year needing someday to find an athletic quarterback for its spot behind Mahomes.

“Pat is athletic enough to run the quarterback sneak, but we won’t run the quarterback sneak,” Veach said on Feb. 27. “We’ve just got to get some sort of athlete in there that can run the quarterback sneak.”

Wentz can potentially do more than that if needed in case of a Mahomes injury. The 31-year-old, who was the second overall pick in the 2016 draft, was the Los Angeles Rams’ backup late last season.

The Chiefs also had interest in Wentz during the 2023 offseason, but the QB remained a free agent until midyear while pursuing his best opportunity. He eventually signed with the Rams on Nov. 7 to be Matthew Stafford’s backup in L.A.

“It wasn’t necessarily the most fun, sitting out all year and waiting for a call every single week,” Wentz said. “So definitely just excited to be on the team (with Chiefs) and go through the entire offseason with the team. Build those relationships with coaches. Make some friends with players on the team, being in a locker-room setting again. It felt right, and it felt like the right decision.”

Wentz should feel comfortable with KC’s offense. The Chiefs’ scheme is similar to what Wentz had in Philadelphia from 2016-20, when he played for Eagles coach and Reid protégé Doug Pederson.

“Obviously, there’s always little intricacies and little differences, but I think a lot of it will make sense to me and resonate with me pretty quickly,” Wentz said. “And that part I’m looking forward to.”

Wentz also said he admired the Chiefs and Reid from afar during his previous eight years in the NFL. He said Thursday there was “big intrigue” about joining KC and being a part of the franchise’s culture.

“That was a big piece of the puzzle for me,” Wentz said, “and the desire to be here on a winning team in a good culture in a good community with a good fan base. Just seemed like a good fit.”