Carson Wentz’s curiosity and communication impressed the Commanders’ coaches

Complacency leads to failure, as the old saying goes.

One thing Washington Commanders coaches don’t need to worry about about quarterback Carson Wentz is that he’s in danger of becoming complacent. It’s not going to happen, at least judging by his first few weeks at Ashburn over the course of on-field activity this off-season.

“He’s intuitive, he’s curious, he’s hungry for football — that’s the part I enjoy,” said Commanders quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese. “We have certain technical things that we’re working on, he’s making those adjustments.”

Zampese has coached football for over three decades. He started as a research assistant at USC before rising to become the offensive line coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2016-2017 and eventually to Washington as QBs coach in 2020.

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Zampese, like many others at Ashburn, has been impressed with what he’s seen of Wentz so far. After all, the 29-year-old has a lot to prove this year, as some pundits have dubbed 2022 as Wentz’s last chance to prove he’s worthy of a starting role in the NFL.

Wentz hasn’t shied away from working on the fundamentals, either, despite his resume that includes an MVP bid in 2017 and a 3,500-yard, 27-touchdown season last year in Indianapolis.

“We’re just trying to get him to finish his throws, get his hip out of the way, get his left side out of the way so we can get more of his arm,” Zampese said. “Line up where you throw, just general things.”

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Wentz’ move to Burgundy & Gold came during the absence of his WR1 Terry McLaurin, who is seeking a long-term extension of his rookie deal, which he is competing in his final year.

Commanders have reiterated their eagerness to keep McLaurin close, with Ron Rivera bluntly stating last week, “We don’t trade with Terry.”

McLaurin’s absence has opened the door, among others, for rookie wide receiver Jahan Dotson to develop chemistry with Wentz. With OTAs and minicamps over the past few weeks, it seemed like whenever Dotson and Wentz were on the field together, Dotson would be outspoken and Wentz would target him.

“He fits in with the guys in the room and the guys in the receiver group and the team,” Zampese said. “He fits in well and we just need to buy him more time with us.”

Wentz himself has also praised Dotson’s performance to date. The QB remarked, “He catches football as naturally as anyone I know,” and spoke about the rookie.

Aside from Dotson, Wentz has done well with other goals. Rookie tight end Cole Turner has shone at Ashburn so far; Curtis Samuel, while still struggling with general body issues, has performed well when paired with Wentz on the field; Sophomore WR Dyami Brown is hoping for a bounce back after a humiliating rookie season.

But it takes two to tango. For the Commanders to really make waves this season, Wentz will need to use his supporting cast to play close to his ceiling.

Wentz knows this, Commanders fans know this and Ken Zampese knows this. But from what you’ve seen from the QB so far, it might not be unfair to be cautiously optimistic. Again, Wentz’s curiosity is at the heart of his potential success in DC

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“He’s curious, and in a good way. That’s what we’re looking for,” Zampese said. “The communication was great, his ideas, he did what we asked him to do and he wanted to know, ‘Hey, how do you want to do that, how do you see this piece?’ This curiosity will take us further faster. It was really fun to see it that way.”

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