Eagles

Carson Wentz is tone-setter for unselfish Eagles

At some point this week, Carson Wentz, the hunter, will be in his element, dressed in his camo gear, hiding in a tree stand or behind some brush. 

It's much harder for him to blend in on the football field. 

Because this season, Wentz hasn't just taken a step forward; he's leaped into the national spotlight and into the forefront of the NFL's MVP race. Wentz threw four more touchdown passes on Sunday and leads the league in touchdown passes with 23. 

And he couldn't care less. 

"At the end of the day, touchdowns [are] whatever," Wentz said on Sunday afternoon, quickly dismissing a question about his stats. "That’s all great, but being 8-1 is what it’s all about. I didn’t really know what to expect with stats and all that stuff, that doesn’t really matter."

On a team full of unselfish players, Wentz is the tone-setter. 

And he's on his way to becoming the NFL's most humble superstar. 

How are the Eagles able to keep all their receivers happy? How were they able to bring in a Pro Bowl running back without fearing backlash from the others? How are the coaches able to use rotations while not worrying about any disgruntled faces appearing in theirs? 

It all starts with Wentz. 

It's pretty hard to care about stats or playing time or accolades when the guy who is getting the most doesn't even care about them. The Eagles have been able to create a culture led by a "team first" mentality. Sure, Doug Pederson and his coaching staff deserve a lot of credit for that. But it sure does make it easier to do when the face of the franchise is the furthest thing possible from a prima donna. 

"I think that with Carson leading the offense and kind of being the face right now and getting a lot of the accolades, he's the most humble guy you come across," Pederson said. 

"He'll give it right back to the team. He understands that this is a team game. So everything that he's getting, he deserves by the way he prepares and studies. But I also think there are a lot of guys on this team that do the same thing that it might get overlooked, but by no means are with us in the building overlooking those guys."

For weeks, Alshon Jeffery wasn't putting up the numbers most expected, but he didn't seem to mind, even in a contract year. Torrey Smith is an afterthought most weeks in a year where he wanted to prove his worth in the NFL; he's still all-in. LeGarrette Blount was having a great season, but knows he'll probably lose his starting job to Jay Ajayi; he hasn't caused a problem. 

And when rookie Corey Clement scored three touchdowns — an incredible feat — on Sunday against the Broncos, this was his response: "It was three? I was just playing football." 

Sound familiar? 

There's a reason Wentz's teammates named him one of five team captains this season and it goes beyond his being the quarterback. The Eagles noticed those leadership characteristics in Wentz from the time they started falling in love with him at the 2016 Senior Bowl. 

Wentz is focused on one thing: winning. Sure, he'd be mad at himself if he didn't perform well in a win. But stats? Doesn't care. He also doesn't care about whether pundits are drooling over his performances or critiquing him as they try to pump the brakes on the hype. 

Doesn't care. 

After he was named NFC Offensive Player of the Month for October, Wentz was asked if the honor came with any kind of physical manifestation like a certificate or plaque. He had no idea, but told a reporter if he found out, he'd let him know. Even if one comes in the mail, don't expect Wentz to run home and nail it to the wall in his South Jersey home. 

He doesn't care about the accolades or the stats. He cares about winning. He'd wear that camo all the time if they'd let him.