On the surface, the Washington Commanders hosting the Jacksonville Jaguars doesn't sound like an especially interesting matchup. But when you dig a little deeper, the Week 1 tilt should be very intriguing.
106.7 The Fan's JP Finlay says that the Commanders will host the Jaguars in Week 1 at FedEx Field, in what figures to be the start of a new era in Landover in a variety of senses.
Not only will the game mark the first time that Washington plays a game under the "Commanders" nickname, but it will be Carson Wentz's first game with the team. On his third team in as many seasons, this may be the final opportunity for the former No. 2 overall pick to re-establish himself as a franchise quarterback.
And in his first game as a Commander, Wentz will face the Jaguars, the team that upset him and the Colts in Week 18 of the 2021 season and potentially cemented his fate in Indianapolis.
Since a 26-11 Week 18 win, the Jaguars have added a slew of talent to their roster via both the NFL Draft and free agency, including No. 1 overall pick Travon Walker, right guard Brandon Scherff, tight end Evan Engram and wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones.
Still, as the Jaguars look to move past Urban Meyer's disastrous stint as head coach, the most important addition they've made this offseason might be new head coach Doug Pederson. Pederson went 42-37-1 in five seasons as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, guiding them to the playoffs on three occasions, including when they won the franchise's first Super Bowl during the 2017 season.
As Nick Foles -- who would go on to have an unsuccessful stint in Jacksonville -- quarterbacked the Eagles to a win in Super Bowl LII, Wentz stood on the sideline after a torn ACL halted his NFL MVP campaign in December of that season.
While Wentz has shown flashes since the 2017 season, he's never rediscovered the form he showed in his second NFL campaign, where he looked like one of the game's elite young talents at quarterback.
He and Pederson said the right things publicly, but ESPN's Chris Mortenson reported in January of 2021 that the two had a relationship that was "fractured beyond repair." In short order after that report came out, neither were employed by the Eagles anymore.
Now as Pederson looks to build a contender in Jacksonville with former No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence, his first game as the team's head coach will come against Wentz, the man he once thought he would be tied to for over a decade in Philadelphia.