Wentz’s ego control is an asset to Eagles
No-drama quarterback a plus for the Eagles
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.