Wentz’s ego con­trol is an as­set to Ea­gles

No-drama quar­ter­back a plus for the Ea­gles

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Bob Grotz bgrotz@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @BobGrotz on Twit­ter

PHILADEL­PHIA >> Pro foot­ball play­ers are fa­mous for heap­ing praise on each other, war­ranted or not.

Ap­plaud­ing the me­dia skills of a col­league is so un­usual that only a char­ac­ter like Aaron Rodgers can get away with it.

With­out prod­ding, the man who spent three years in Green Bay back­ing up one of the most ego­tis­ti­cal quar­ter­backs ever to play the game of­fered his as­sess­ment of Ea­gles rookie passer Car­son Wentz.

“I think from the start, just watch­ing the way he han­dles his, you know, his me­dia obli­ga­tions, the way he han­dled draft night, he’s ob­vi­ously a very ma­ture young man,” Rodgers said. “And he’s been play­ing re­ally well. I mean, he’s tak­ing care of the foot­ball and mak­ing good de­ci­sions.”

Just when you won­dered if Rodgers re­ally said me­dia obli­ga­tions, the con­fer­ence call went in an­other di­rec­tion. Some­thing about the an­gles Wentz throws from, which is any­thing but break­ing news to any­one who pays at­ten­tion to the rookie, or the game of foot­ball.

“I just think that he comes off as a very hum­ble guy. And I think that plays well in any locker room. And, just a few things I’ve seen af­ter games, it sounds like he just han­dles him­self with a touch of class, and that’s good to see.” – Pack­ers quar­ter­back Aaron Rodgers, on Ea­gles quar­ter­back Car­son Wentz

The point about me­dia obli­ga­tions was dif­fer­ent. And if it came from Rodgers, one of the elite quar­ter­backs in the game, you just knew it would tell you some­thing you didn’t al­ready know about Wentz. What did he mean com­pli­ment­ing Wentz on the way he han­dled those me­dia deal­ings?

“I just think that he comes off as a very hum­ble guy,” Rodgers said. “And I think that plays well in any locker room. And, just a few things I’ve seen af­ter games, it sounds like he just han­dles him­self with a touch of class, and that’s good to see.”

Rodgers epit­o­mizes hu­mil­ity. In some ways the vet­eran in his 12th sea­son is the an­tithe­sis of Brett Favre, the brash quar­ter­back near­ing the end of his ca­reer when the Pack­ers chose Rodgers in the first round of the 2005 draft.

Favre wound up in the Hall of Fame. Ea­gles head coach Doug Ped­er­son said Rodgers will join him there.

Wentz is barely half­way through his ini­ti­a­tion to the NFL.

“He’s got a big-time arm,” Rodgers said of Wentz. “And you see the an­tic­i­pa­tion on film. Even in the Chicago game he stood in there a cou­ple times and took some big hits and de­liv­ered the ball very ac­cu­rately. So I think he’s well on his way.”

Wentz seemed much more open and forth­com­ing

in his avail­abil­i­ties with the me­dia when he wasn’t the starter. Since be­com­ing the guy, his time with the me­dia gen­er­ally is lim­ited to two news con­fer­ences a week, one post-game and one on Wed­nes­day.

When Wentz talks, Ea­gles coaches and play­ers agree, it’s with the added re­spon­si­bil­ity of be­ing the face of the fran­chise.

“Some guys can get frus­trated but you don’t want the head of your team, the star quar­ter­back to get frus­trated,” vet­eran cor­ner­back Leodis McKelvin said. “Once he gets frus­trated, ev­ery­body else gets frus­trated. As long as he keeps a level head and keeps mov­ing, the chains keep on go­ing. We keep on go­ing. He says the right things. He’s not go­ing to put any­body

un­der the bus. We’re all one team. Car­son is def­i­nitely do­ing it the right way. And with him be­ing so young, it’s crazy.”

Ea­gles of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Frank Re­ich backed up Hall of Fame quar­ter­back Jim Kelly while both played for the Buf­falo Bills. Re­ich wouldn’t com­pare Kelly, who had an edge, to Wentz. But Re­ich in­ti­mated that Wentz, at this early stage of his ca­reer, might be a lit­tle ahead of Kelly in the hu­mil­ity de­part­ment.

“You want the blend of hu­mil­ity and con­fi­dence,” Re­ich said. “Most peo­ple think those two things can’t go to­gether. But when a per­son can put those two things to­gether that’s when they’ve got the ‘it’ fac­tor. You’ve got to have the con­fi­dence. You’ve got to have

the swag­ger. But if that’s all you’ve got, if you don’t have an ounce of hu­mil­ity, then that just wears out. The guys who un­der­stand and have the ma­tu­rity and the char­ac­ter to truly have a sense of hu­mil­ity but still have a swag­ger, it’s like hey, how does he do that? How can he be so con­fi­dent but yet he just sounds like a hum­ble guy? That’s the ‘it’ fac­tor.”

Yes, Re­ich senses the ‘it’ fac­tor in Wentz. Echo­ing what team­mates have said, Re­ich called Wentz “a good hu­man be­ing.

“I think he gets it,” Re­ich said. “I think he’s truly a team-first guy.”

Jor­dan Matthews, who leads the Ea­gles in re­ceiv­ing, has bonded with Wentz on and off the field. He felt there was some­thing spe­cial, some­thing soul­ful about Wentz from the very start.

“That comes from a gen­uine heart,” Matthews said. “I think he’s just a good per­son nat­u­rally. He doesn’t want to ever come across as dis­re­spect­ful or any­thing like that. I think shows in the way he speaks, the way he car­ries him­self whether we win or lose, or in games when we’re up or down. He’s al­ways com­pli­men­tary of other teams but he’s also con­fi­dent in what our team can do. And it’s not a false con­fi­dence. It’s a very real con­fi­dence.”

Hum­ble, as Rodgers said, plays well in a locker room.

Wentz is off to a good start in that im­por­tant qual­ity that al­most cer­tainly will do more to shape his ca­reer than throw­ing an­gles.


Car­son Wentz walks off the field fol­low­ing last Sun­day’s game at Seat­tle.

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