Put yourself for a moment in Rich Scangarello’s shoes.
It’s the offseason and the Eagles just hired you to be a senior offensive assistant. One of your big roles will be to maximize the strengths of the already-established franchise quarterback. They flew you into Philadelphia and you hit it off with Doug Pederson, who wants you to bring your ideas and offensive philosophy to his team, largely because it should, in theory, blend with the quarterback.
So now you’re all juiced up to start working with the former Pro Bowl quarterback, who managed to throw for 4,000 yards last year despite the team’s deficiencies at receiver. And you see it too, Wentz has the athleticism that should really mesh with what you bring. But you know you’ll have to earn Wentz’s trust for him to warm up to the changes you represent.
There’s one catch: You can’t actually meet him.
“It is a shame that we weren't able to be in a building and develop that rapport,” Scangarello said this week. “The Zoom meetings in the off-season actually went pretty well. We were able to talk football. It was very casual. We got to have these conversations about the game. I think we hit it off from the get-go.
“I’ve been impressed by him. I had a lot of admiration for him as a player already before I came here. As I've been around him, I've been more and more impressed. It's easy to form a relationship with someone that has a mind like his, that processes, has a football IQ like he does. You connect if you can talk the language with him and articulate things.
“Press (Taylor) has done an outstanding job with him, developing him. I feel like to be a part of it is a luxury with a guy like him. It's been easy to get along.”
I’m told Scangarello was understandably trepidatious about trying to build a relationship with Wentz in an all-virtual setting because of the pandemic. But all indications are that the two have gotten along great. And they’ve gotten along even better since getting in the same room.
That’s a good sign for the Eagles’ offense and for Wentz.
Because a lot of the stuff Scangarello brings to the offense should really help the veteran quarterback. And already at training camp, we’ve seen some of that influence. It was about at this point in camp last year when I actually asked Wentz about how little he was rolling out of the pocket on designed calls. The Eagles just weren’t doing it.
But already in camp this year, we’ve seen the Eagles be more willing to get Wentz moving and throwing on the run, two areas where he excels and two strengths game that separate him from many quarterbacks around the league.
There are plenty of high level offensive conversations happening in the NovaCare Complex this summer. In addition to Scangarello, Doug Pederson, Taylor, Duce Staley, Jeff Stoutland, Marty Mornhinweg and Andrew Breiner, Wentz has input too. And Scangarello has been impressed with Wentz’s football IQ.
“I think I would compare Carson more mentally to like a Matt Ryan,” Scangarello said. “I wasn't in the room with Matt, but I was there and around it. I talked a lot about people. I have a great deal of respect for Matt as a player and his mental ability.
“Carson, he's an elite processor in my opinion, both pre-snap and post-snap. He's able to do a lot of things because of it. That's what separates him to me from a lot of people in this league.”
Earlier this offseason, Wentz said he was excited about the changes coming to the Eagles’ offense, saying he thought they would complement their preexisting scheme and would help to get the most out of his talent.
That was ultimately one of the big goals in mind when the Eagles hired Scangarello: To maximize Wentz’s potential.
Said Scangarello, “He, in my opinion, has all the qualities it takes to be one of the top guys in this league for a long time.”