Bears won’t be buy­ing into Car­son­ma­nia

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Bob Grotz bgrotz@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @BobGrotz on Twit­ter

A car­a­van of fam­ily and friends were in town this past week­end to share Car­son Wentz’s first NFL start with the Ea­gles.

Just like that, sales of his jersey shot through the roof.

Re­turn­ing to prac­tice Thurs­day had to be a let­down for Wentz, who in ad­di­tion to hav­ing the top-sell­ing jersey in the NFL last week­end found him­self part of a pres­i­den­tial con­ver­sa­tion.

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama was talk­ing sports smack while he was sup­posed to be cam­paign­ing lo­cally for Hil­lary Clin­ton. That’s what you do when you get a glow­ing scout­ing re­port from Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, who at­tended Wentz’s de­but at the Linc.

Did you hear the one where Bi­den urges the Prez to get on the Wentz Wagon?

“I thought it was kind of funny,” Wentz said Thurs­day. “I know a lot of peo­ple, a lot of friends and fam­ily thought it was pretty crazy. It’s cool and all but at the same time I’ve got a lot to ac­com­plish be­fore we make any­thing too big of that.”

The Chicago Bears will hear about all of that, too, if they haven’t al­ready. It should help them make ex­tra time to pre­pare for the rookie quar­ter­back who after just one start with two touch­down passes, seem­ingly has ar­rived na­tion­ally.

The Bears and quar­ter­back Jay Cut­ler, the 33-year-old vet­eran, are still Obama’s team. He’s a Chicagoan. But the Bears are yes­ter­day’s news next to Wentz’s star, hav­ing blown a 14-10 lead in a 2314 road loss to the Hous­ton Texans. The Mon­day Night game at Sol­dier Field is a chance to right the ship.

The Bears also have a lux­ury the Cleve­land Browns didn’t, which is game film of Wentz play­ing with the Ea­gles starters. That’s a big deal, be­cause when you go through the tape of the opener, the 6-foot-5 Wentz was for­tu­nate not to get picked off at least twice, and lucky not to lose a botched hand­off that was much too high for Dar­ren Spro­les, who is 5-6, to cleanly han­dle.

“De­fenses in gen­eral, the more film they get, the more they’re go­ing to try and pin­point his weak­nesses,” Ea­gles backup quar­ter­back Chase Daniel said. “So we have to work on that. Not only do we have to get ready for the Chicago Bears but we have to fig­ure out what did we do that wasn’t so great in this game? Not just him in gen­eral, just as an of­fense.”

Wentz says there were com­mu­ni­ca­tions is­sues, par­tic­u­larly in pro­tec­tions he calls in the first game. He blamed most of those on him­self. The big guy also took too many hits, even if he de­nied it by fall­ing back on the old line about it be­ing foot­ball, so you’re go­ing to get hit.

“I thought we did some good things,” Wentz said. “I thought we missed some op­por­tu­ni­ties. There’s some com­mu­ni­ca­tion we can def­i­nitely clean up; pro­tec­tion is­sues and stuff. There’s still some plays that we left to be made. We can still ex­e­cute at a higher level.”

That said, the Wentz Wagon is the least of the rookie’s con­cerns. He says he’s too busy pre­par­ing to dwell on the hype. The jersey sales, the Pres­i­den­tial men­tion, the ra­dio talk show feed­ing fren­zies ... with all due re­spect it doesn’t rate with the out­come Wentz and the Ea­gles got in the opener.

“That other stuff is all kind of cool but at the end of the day you just kind of iso­late your­self and block it out,” Wentz said. “I think get­ting that first start out of the way and get­ting that first win out of the way def­i­nitely helps my con­fi­dence go­ing for­ward. “Without a doubt.” Wentz ex­pects to be pumped Mon­day along with his team­mates and the Bears. Just in case the kid isn’t a nat­u­ral in block­ing the out­side noise, head coach Doug Ped­er­son has a plan. Ped­er­son was the quar­ter­back bridge to then-rookie passer Dono­van McNabb. If any­one knows what to do, it’s Coach Doug, as he was booed in some of the pre-game warm-ups at the Vet.

“This is where I can step in and help him and pro­tect him and keep him out of that and keep him fo­cused,” Ped­er­son said. “If I can keep him in the build­ing, as long as I stay in the build­ing, then we’re go­ing to be OK. I know there’s al­ways out­side in­flu­ences and the more suc­cess he has on the foot­ball field, all that off-the­field stuff will take care of it­self. But the last few days, he’s han­dled it well.”


Ea­gles quar­ter­back Car­son Wentz passes dur­ing the first half against the Browns in Philadel­phia. Wentz and the Ea­gles play against the Chicago Bears on Mon­day.

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