On Wednesday, Carson Wentz began training camp in his third city in as many years. The veteran quarterback hopes he has found a home in Washington, a place he says feels wanted.
“It builds confidence within myself,” Wentz said after his first day at training camp. “Hearing it from somebody else, from the head coach, those types of things definitely instills that confidence even more to just go out there and don’t put pressure, don’t put expectations.”
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Considering that Wentz was traded during the previous two offseasons, Rivera said he made it a point to welcome him when he arrived at the facility on Tuesday.
“I just wanted to reiterate, more so than anything else, he was wanted here,” Rivera said. “That was one of the first things I told him when he came into the building. When I shook his hand, when he came through that door, I said, ‘Hey! You were wanted here.’”
For Wentz, entering the training camp in Washington in what will be his seventh season, was rewarding enough.
“Just that realization … was cool,” he said. “Just a surreal thing, every year. You kind of get goosebumps again, thinking you grew up wanting to play this game — and you’re still playing it.”
After watching the first practice with his new quarterback, Rivera said he was happy with what he saw carrying over from the spring.
“He’s hyper. He’s excited. He really is,” Rivera said. “Real happy with his retention, the way he’s handling the huddles, breaking the huddles.”
Wentz says that, early on in camp, his main focus is to “find the timing and chemistry with the guys.” That was also the main focus of workouts in California earlier this month.
Terry McLaurin led a group of receivers that went out west to work with Wentz and backup Quarterback Taylor Heinicke to start that process. Something that Wentz said was beneficial on AND off the field.
“Going to dinner with each guy, going to breakfast, lunch — getting to know each guy,” Wentz said it was an opportunity for the group to share “where we’re from, what we like.” Especially for since the “guys are in different seasons of life.”
“I got two kids and [am] married and [there are] a lot of single guys,” he added. “There’s just a different kind of atmosphere. To come together and build a relationship … it was a lot of fun.”
Wentz passes to McLaurin at training camp
What did he learn about his teammates?
“Terry’s big into golf now, I learned, which I am too,” he said. “Jahan Dotson doesn’t do anything but play video games.”
Rivera said he noticed the chemistry between Wentz and McLaurin on the field right away.
“It was kind of cool to see,” Rivera said. “He threw one out there, Terry went out and got it. And then … he threw a little behind Terry and, you know, I’m thinking to myself, ‘Wow, he missed it.’
But then, Terry came over and told him, ‘Hey, I came outta that too soon.’ So there’s that. You can see they’re already communicating with each other.”
McLaurin is just one of the weapons at Carson’s disposal.
Heincke passes to Sims at training camp
This offense has a chance to be pretty good and put up some points. The two main factors in that are going to be the play of Wentz, and if the revamped offensive line can protect him. The playmakers are there.
As far as the overall practice on Wednesday, Ron Rivera wasn’t too pleased with the effort.
“We’ve got to practice better than we did today,” he said.
The only injury concern on day one was that running back Antonio Gibson was working the side field. During the Spring OTA’s, Gibson had injured his hamstring, and the team is choosing to be cautious.
“He’s fine, but we’re gonna ramp him up,” Rivera said. “We’re not gonna throw him out right away and have something happen. We wanna make sure there’s nothing lingering. I almost called that an abundance of caution.”