Allen doesn't get the ‘terrible reputation' that follows Wentz


Jonathan Allen is fully aware of what people say about Carson Wentz, but for Allen, what he's witnessed from the quarterback thus far doesn't match up with people's views of the passer.

"I think the thing that's bad about the NFL is how reputations can be built through the media," Allen told NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay in a one-on-one interview on Wednesday. "I feel like he's been given a terrible reputation, and I haven't known him as long as some people so I'm not going to say they're wrong, but from what I've seen, I don't see where all the negative press comes from."

Allen's time with Wentz, like the rest of the Commanders, has been pretty limited up to this point. The team has been together for a handful of off-field workouts and recently completed three rounds of OTAs, and aside from a round of golf here or a chat in the cafeteria there, everyone in Washington is still getting acclimated with the new signal-caller. 

So, the Pro Bowl defensive lineman understands the pairing of Wentz and the Commanders is only in its early stages.

But even so, he's pleased with how those early stages have unfolded.

"Now, obviously, time will tell, but from what I've seen, he's a great leader, he wants to come out here and win, play hard, have fun and really just be a great teammate," Allen said. "I really have no complaints, I've loved everything I've seen. Communicates with everybody, doesn't seclude himself, very open to the team. I mean, he's fitting right in."

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Ron Rivera is right there with Allen in terms of being encouraged by Wentz's actions.

"I really like his command of our offense," Rivera explained to reporters on Wednesday. "When you listen to him in the huddle, you listen to him talk to his teammates about certain aspects of the play. 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."

What's so difficult about evaluating Wentz and also setting expectations for him in 2022 is that, while he has undeniable talent and has seemed quite easygoing in his brief Commanders stint, those sorts of positive developments remained stained by how his Eagles and Colts careers concluded. 

Clearly, the guy can play effective football and earn the trust and respect of a locker room, judging by his one MVP-caliber season in Philadelphia as well as other stretches of above-average production there and in Indianapolis. 

“There's a lot of different things that he's capable of doing," coordinator Scott Turner said last week. "Obviously, a very skilled player."

The problem, much like it is for most non-Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes quarterbacks, is consistency. When he's not in a true rhythm, Wentz can be as liable to complete a clutch 30-yarder as he is to gift an interception to his opponent. 

If this stop in Wentz's career is going to truly work, he'll have to keep being affable with each member of the franchise — per Allen, he's on the right track, which apparently hasn't always applied with Wentz — and, more importantly, deliver on offense. 

It's almost inevitable that Wentz will represent an upgrade over 2021 starter Taylor Heinicke, yet how much of an upgrade is the key for Washington. Overall, the opportunity for him to turn his NFL life around is absolutely available.

"I'd like nothing more than to play here for a long time and have a lot of success," Wentz said Wednesday.

Transforming those words from a June quote into a future reality would accomplish a lot — including mitigating the "terrible reputation" that Allen referenced.

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