Polarizing Free Agent QB Working out With Ex-Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden

jon gruden

Getty Former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden.

Jon Gruden is slowly working his way back into football. The former head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders recently made an appearance at organized team activities for the New Orleans Saints to help the team’s offense as they transition to quarterback Derek Carr, who played under the coach for four seasons with the Raiders.

Carr isn’t the only quarterback Gruden has worked with this offseason. According to a June 14 tweet from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, free agent quarterback Carson Wentz is in Tampa Bay, Florida, working with the coach. They have been studying film and throwing as Wentz has an eye toward joining an NFL team.

Wentz is coming off a season with the Washington Commanders where he threw a career-low 11 touchdowns to nine interceptions. He opened the season as the starting quarterback for the team but was placed on Injured Reserve after fracturing the ring finger on his throwing hand during a Week 6 win over the Chicago Bears. By the time Wentz returned on December 12, 2022, the starting quarterback job was taken over by Taylor Heinicke. Wentz regained the starting quarterback job in Week 17 against the Cleveland Browns but threw three interceptions in a 24-10 loss. He was subsequently benched once again for the final game of the season.

Carson Wentz Has Struggled in Recent Years

Despite the poor showing with the Commanders in 2022, Wentz has put together productive seasons in the past. When he was still with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017, he threw for 33 touchdowns to just seven interceptions and finished third in MVP voting for the season. He may have even won the award if it weren’t for him tearing his ACL in a Week 14 game against the Los Angeles Rams.

However, he hasn’t been able to recapture the magic of that season. The Eagles eventually soured on the No. 2 pick from the 2016 NFL Draft class. In 2018, he was still top-10 in pass rating (102.2) and was 13th (92.1) in 2019. Things really started to get off the track in 2020. The Eagles went 3-8-1 with Wentz as the starter and he was benched for Jalen Hurts. Even though he only played in 12 games that season, he was tied with former Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock for the league lead in interceptions with 15.

Following the season, Wentz was traded to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 first-round pick. He lasted one season with the team after missing the playoffs and was traded to the Commanders during the 2022 offseason.

Can Jon Gruden Help Carson Wentz?

Jon Gruden has been considered a quarterback guru since he helped turn Rich Gannon from an NFL journeyman to a Pro Bowler when they were both with the Raiders from 1999 to 2001. This led to him starting the ESPN show “Gruden’s QB Camp” in 2010 where he would where he would work with young quarterbacks who were coming into the NFL.

Though Gruden could only muster a 22-31 record during his second stint as head coach of the Raiders from 2018 to 2022, he has remained a respected mind when it comes to quarterbacks. Derek Carr recently said during his June 6 media availability for the Saints that he played his best football when Gruden was coaching him. Wentz is coming off his worst season as a professional quarterback so going back to the basics with the veteran coach could be what he needs to return to playing good football.

Read More