The Indianapolis Colts are taking a significant risk by deploying Carson Wentz as their starting quarterback after he endured alarming regression this past season, in which he produced a 57.4% completion percentage and tied for the league lead in interceptions despite starting just 12 games.
On top of being tasked with helping Wentz rediscover his confidence, the Colts will also have to navigate potential concerns about his ability (or lack thereof) to connect with teammates.
These rumors came to light amid his falling out with the Eagles in 2020, which reportedly began the moment they selected Jalen Hurts in the second round of last year’s draft.
It was alleged that Wentz struggled to gain respect of the locker room and that some of his teammates didn’t care for the way he carried himself.
Former Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins set the record straight on Carson Wentz.
Like any fan base trying to warm up to a recently-acquired quarterback, Colts fans didn’t take too kindly to these rumors.
Jenkins joined fellow former Eagles star Chris Long’s podcast on Tuesday, and the conversation eventually landed on Wentz and how he was perceived by the locker room.
"“All of these things that have happened to him, it may be hard to overcome those things in Philly, but now that he’s somewhere else, those lessons are going to be things that he will learn from and lean on and make him a better leader, especially the locker room stuff,” Jenkins said. “Because like you’ve said, he’s not a locker room cancer. We played with him, and that’s not it.”"
Jenkins continued to note that he would advise Wentz to reach out to teammates more often, because that’s essentially the job of a starting quarterback. Long basically echoed this sentiment and loudly dismissed the notion that the former No. 2 overall pick is some locker room cancer who’s impossible to get along with.
You might not read too much into these comments, but it speaks volumes that Jenkins and Long, who were unquestionably two of the leaders in the Eagles locker room during their respective tenures, were this outspoken in their defense of Wentz.
Though it would appear the 28-year-old could prove to benefit from rectifying his leadership intangibles, it’s encouraging to know that Jenkins and Long seem to think highly of his personality and potential in that department.
Luckily for Wentz, he’ll be entering a new locker room in Indianapolis that isn’t exactly crying out for the emergence of a free-spoken leader — that’s Darius Leonard, if you were wondering — and the fact that he’ll have to work from scratch to earn their respect bodes tremendously well for his future.