OPINION: Stern: Rams signing Carson Wentz a desperation heave


Albert Einstein spoke logically when he defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Rams head coach Sean McVay evidently didn't have Einstein's wisdom in mind when he took a flier off the wall for burned-out veteran quarterback Carson Wentz. As much as one wants to respect his decision-making, being just two years removed from a championship, McVay's most recent act of despair speaks to how he may have hit the peak of the coaching mountain a bit too early.

There's a reason why all 31 other teams passed on Wentz before Los Angeles concluded he was worthy of being a flashy insurance policy. The 30-year-old signal-caller hasn't proven worthy of a starting role in the NFL for quite some time, plus his egotistical attitude prevented him from even considering most backup jobs. It's no accident those whose talent doesn't match the hard-to-deal-with persona don't last in the NFL, and despite his golden boy sense of entitlement, Wentz was given the red-headed step-child treatment based on performance, first and foremost.

If a poll was taken in a stadium full of fans, asking whether they'd take Wentz over previous Rams backup Brett Rypien, the overwhelming response would be "yes." But that's just like saying Coors Light is preferred over Natural Light. One option isn't that much better than the other, and maybe the Natural Light isn't as expensive. Truth is, Matthew Stafford has become McVay's unreliable ex-girlfriend -- in this case, due to injuries -- and McVay believes he can earn back some street credibility by reigniting the fire in Wentz.

McVay did so last season, winning a game with Baker Mayfield on two days' notice, which led to his latest opportunity with the Buccaneers. So, why not try to channel that magic again? Unfortunately, Wentz is the wrong player to perform CPR on. The former second-overall pick appears to be too stubborn to take coaching, and thus will be beyond repair. Sure, Wentz will have some moments, But he’s not even someone you can rely on to win. Even with a dry quarterback market, it behooved the Rams to tank with a veteran retread like Rypien, than go with an alternative who offers more downside than upside.

A lack of recent success after their Super Bowl victory, paired with a slew of questionable personnel decisions have left a barebones roster for McVay to work with. His unenviable situation likely leaves him questioning whether he would’ve been better off in the broadcast booth, where he reportedly had a $20 million offer from Amazon Prime. McVay's already indicated he won't be coaching forever, having recently gotten married and had a kid. So, finding a way to extend the glory days was his best chance at success.

At the age of 37, McVay's in an oddly similar predicament with a new backup quarterback in Wentz, who's only seven years younger. Both guys ascended too quickly and were pushed down the mountain before they could try to find more leveled ground to walk on. Most players and coaches wait years -- if not decades -- to strike gold. McVay was 33 when he lost Super Bowl 53 against the Patriots, and he became the youngest NFL head coach to win it all, three years later. Getting back to that point is tough enough, and after aggressively going all-in on their championship window, Rams general manager Les Snead had few long-term building blocks and even less draft capital to recoup talent.

In hindsight, McVay definitely would've been best served walking off into the sunset then. Only it isn't supposed to be that easy in the NFL, and he's wired to embrace the next challenge rather than running from it. Perhaps the move for Wentz was made as a way of proving McVay still has that "it" factor, which that made him one of the fastest risers in the coaching profession. But trying to put your year on life support with Wentz -- who most recently lost his job to a rookie, hasn't returned to the MVP-caliber form we saw during his break-out 2017 season, and burned bridges with a number of general managers -- looks more like a Hail Mary than a goal-line fade.

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