It’s been some time since Carson Wentz was not only healthy and active for the majority of the offseason, but also on the field for Day 1 of training camp, and that’s exactly where he was on Thursday when the Eagles were back at the NovaCare Complex.
The quarterback spoke to the media for the first time in six weeks, and talked about personal and team expectations, having so many playmakers and how he’s built relationships with the guys, and head coach Doug Pederson, over the offseason.
On being back from injury and his size
Wentz talked about how being available for OTAs and training camp is something that he used to take for granted, but now understands how awesome it is to be back on the field with his teammates compared to past years.
He said it felt great to be on the field Day 1, and he put in a lot of hard work this offseason and so it felt really good to ease back into things. Pederson said that Wentz could play if the season started today, and the QB agreed that he feels ready to take a hit. He said he’s ready to play in the preseason, but that’s ultimately Pederson’s decision.
It was also brought up that Wentz looked a little bit leaner, and he had talked during the spring about changing up his training and his diet. The quarterback admitted that he has leaned out a bit and “lost just a couple pounds” and feels good.
“I’m not really lighter, I’ve leaned out. I feel overall healthier from nutrition, from workouts, from just the way I’ve approached my offseason. I think it was just something about being healthier as whole, not just from an injury standpoint but just living a healthier lifestyle. That was just kind of a side effect of it. I’m really not that much lighter, so I feel good.”
On expectations and pressure
The quarterback also said that there’s always pressure, that’s the nature of the NFL, but they try and tune out all the outside noise and just focus on improving everyday. He said that the amount of pressure doesn’t really change the way he personally approaches things.
Specifically he said that he’s not the kind of guy who would have let a lingering contract issue cloud what he does at work everyday, and that it’s nice to have a new deal done ahead of the season, but it doesn’t really change his day-to-day approach.
Wentz said everyday he’s just striving to get better, and he’s not the kind of guy to get complacent — with a Super Bowl ring and new big-money contract — and personally, he wasn’t on the field for the Super Bowl win so he wants to experience that, too.
On the offensive talent
Wentz said that he’s excited for the deep ball threat that DeSean Jackson is, and the way that he takes pressure off for other guys and open things up underneath. Aside from his deep ball ability, the QB also appreciates Jackson’s ability to threaten defenders in new ways. He said he’s never played with someone who has that kind of speed, so he’s excited.
He talked about how the talent level from this year’s roster is among the most talented he’s played with, but that they still have a lot of work to do. Wentz echoed what Pederson said, in that talent will only get them so far, and they need to come together as a team and build a solid foundation.
“I think we have the ability to do something really special with this group, but it’s going to take a lot of work.”
Wentz also noted that it’s huge to have so many offensive players healthy right now on Day 1, and able to establish the chemistry and rhythms they’ll need as they get closer to the season. The quarterback joked that no one is trying to lobby to get more passes... yet — but he doesn’t think that will be an issue with this selfless group of players.
He also noted that “it’s awesome” to have Darren Sproles back with the team.
“A guy like that, obviously out on the field playmaker, super smart, always trustworthy both returning the ball and in the backfield, third downs picking up blitzes, kind of everything. But, from a personality standpoint, that guy is as awesome a human being as there is. Awesome family guy, but great teammate, great for the locker room, great for some of those younger running backs at the same time.”
Wentz said that his relationship with Nate Sudfeld, as he moved up to No. 2 in the depth chart, hasn’t really changed. They have a great relationship and trust within the quarterback room, so that’s stayed pretty much the same.
The quarterback talked a bit about the trip he took this summer with his receivers, and said they had a good few days of throwing and hanging out in Texas.
Similar to his rapport building with his teammates, Wentz said that his relationship with Doug Pederson has grown over the years and it’s also a friendship that goes beyond just the Xs and Os. That kind of communication means a lot to him.