Carson Wentz downplays last-chance take: 'I don't try and play those types of games'

Readying to lead his third team in as many seasons, Carson Wentz might well have his third and final chance at proving he's a franchise quarterback. At least that was Hall of Fame quarterback and Monday Night Football color commentator Troy Aikman's take in May.

Wentz, who apparently wasn't even aware of Aikman's comments, isn't putting much stock into such expansive takes, though.

Regardless of how important the 2022 campaign could be for his career as a whole, Wentz is sticking to the age-old mantra of "one day at a time."

"I didn't know that was said quite frankly. That I'm fine with it. You know, everyone's got their own opinion," Wentz told reporters Wednesday, via team transcript. "I'm just excited to be playing this game, have this opportunity. I think we have the ability to do something special here and then we have a really good skill set offensively to be dynamic. It takes one day at a time, obviously, but for me, I don't try to put too much pressure on myself. I always have high expectations for myself and for the offense, but I don't try and play those types of games. I don't have enough mental space to kind of process all that and it can wear on you. So for me, I just show up to try and be the best I can be, go home and be the best I can be as a father and as a husband, come back and do it again."

During a news conference in mid-May introducing Aikman and Joe Buck as the new MNF commentators, Aikman was asked for his opinion on Wentz, a former Philadelphia Eagle and Indianapolis Colt, who will return to Philly on Monday Night Football on Nov. 14.

"This is probably his last opportunity, just being blunt about it, to prove that he can be a franchise quarterback in the NFL," Aikman said.

It's difficult to argue that point with Wentz, a former No. 2 pick of the Eagles, having been traded in consecutive offseasons and failing to rediscover the promise and form of his early seasons.

As Wentz dives into his latest reclamation project, he offered little in grand, sweeping overtures of what lies ahead. He's just trying to improve on a daily basis -- in every which way on the field and off.

"I mean, you're always trying to learn, always trying to be a better teammate, a better friend," he said. "Trying to be a better husband every day, a better father every day. I'm always trying to learn and grow and be reflective and say, 'OK, I missed that opportunity.' I missed that opportunity to kind of make an impact on a younger guy or be involved with that teammate or whatever that looks like. So, I'm always trying to learn and just build and grow as good of relationships as I can with everybody, both sides of the ball, coaches, equipment staff, training staff. I'm gonna make mistakes. You know, I'll be the first to admit it. And so always trying to grow and be self-reflective and be a better person in every way, shape and form."

If all goes well for Wentz and Washington, he'll be the Commanders' QB1 for seasons to come after they spent a pair of third-round picks to get him from the Colts. Wentz is hopeful of settling in with Washington, but again, he's not looking that far ahead.

"I wouldn't say I feel that in the building by any means or in practice or anything," Wentz said when asked if he feels more of a need to be solidified as the long-term franchise QB. "You'll hear things from fans when you're out in public and those sorts of things. Listen, I'd like nothing more than to play here for a long time and have a lot of success, but I'm going to take one day at a time, you know, and not put that extra added pressure on myself like we were talking about earlier and just enjoy it and make the most of it."

So, at this point with June heating up, there's not much to judge as to how Wentz is carrying along with the Commanders. Nonetheless, head coach Ron Rivera likes what he sees so far.

"I really like his command of our offense," Rivera said, perhaps (hopefully) pun intended.

Rivera and Wentz are at the helm of the Commanders' hopes to turn things around following the club's fifth consecutive losing season. The veteran head coach is pleased with what he's glimpsed of Wentz's intangibles so far.

"When you listen to him in the huddle, you listen to him talk to his teammates about certain aspects of the play," Rivera said. "He gets it and seeing him getting his teammates lined up and communicating is I think a real positive for us. I know it gives me confidence, but when he is in the huddle calling the plays the way he does, I know his teammates can feel the confidence."

Wentz is downplaying any focus on being his newest team's franchise QB or any notion that this is his last chance to be one. But it will be a prevailing theme for Washington in 2022. In the franchise's first season as the Commanders, will Wentz be the right QB to lead the club into a new era?

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