Joe Theismann believed Wentz needed out of Philly, not sold on Hurts

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Ryan Homler
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Theismann believed Wentz needed out of Philly, not sold on Hurts originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Carson Wentz is now on the move, as the quarterback has reportedly been traded to the Indianapolis Colts.

Given where Wentz was at in 2017 -- nearing an MVP award prior to a season-ending injury -- it can be hard to believe the former No. 2 overall pick is being shipped away. Yet when evaluating his recent struggles and the money he's owed, many saw a trade as a move that made sense.

That included former Washington quarterback Joe Theismann. To him, it was all about getting a change of scenery for Wentz. Speaking with the Washington Football Talk podcast a couple of weeks before the trade was announced, Theismann explained that a fresh start was needed.

“I think Carson’s got to get out of Philadelphia," Theismann said.

Pressure had a lot to do with why Theismann felt Wentz was better off getting a second chance somewhere else. The criticism he was facing from the media and fans was harsh, and it would only grow if he remained with the Eagles and continued to flop.

RELATED: Why Wentz deal only helps Washington in their QB search

Theismann had a feeling that the fear of making more mistakes and facing more backlash was directly impacting how Wentz was playing on the field. Seeing a lot of hesitation in his game, Theismann believed that the quarterback didn't fully trust himself. It was something that only a new beginning could fix.

“Probably, maybe in Carson Wentz's case, he’ll get his confidence back," Theismann said. "He just had no confidence. He wouldn’t cut the ball loose.”

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Confident that a trade would benefit the passer, Theismann likened it to the rejuvenation of Ryan Tannehill's career. Though the talent was always there, Tannehill struggled to live up to his potential in Miami leading many to believe he was destined to be a career backup and a bust.

However, the quarterback has been able to change the narrative after joining the Tennessee Titans. A trip to the AFC Championship in 2019 followed by a strong statistical 2020 season has allowed Tannehill to develop into the best version of himself. All it took was a change of scenery and a chance to start over.

Looking at what Wentz can do and the flashes of brilliance he's shown so far in his NFL career, Theismann is confident that the quarterback is not beyond repair.

“I think everybody can be fixed," Theismann said.

Wentz will not have an opportunity to do that in Indianapolis, and there are factors there that should allow him to thrive. He'll be reunited with Frank Reich, and he has a strong offensive line, running game and defense to aid him.

As for the other side of the equation, the Eagles, Theismann wasn't sold that all of Philadelphia's problems would be solved if Wentz were to depart. Many see Jalen Hurts as the future, but Theismann isn't sold just yet.

“I’m not sure Jalen is the answer," Theismann said.

His worries stem from what Hurts has had to work with throughout his football career. At both Alabama and Oklahoma, the quarterback played with top-level offenses and had some of the best support systems possible. Looking at the Eagles roster, that isn't exactly the case anymore.

So while the early returns toward the end of the 2020 season were promising, a larger sample size is needed. What happens when NFL defenses begin to figure out Hurts' game and work to slow down what he does well? Theismann is unsure that the quarterback truly has what it takes to reach a higher level.

“Will he be better sort of being the guy starting the season? I don’t know what his upside is," Theismann said. "It could be better than what we saw... I think there's questions in Philadelphia at the quarterback position."