The Eagles have made it clear that Carson Wentz is their franchise quarterback and they’re sticking with him going forward.
Maybe there are some locker room issues to work out.
A PhillyVoice story published Monday morning gives a different perspective on Wentz’s personality and standing within the locker room, characterizing him as egotistical and selfish. The story is cobbled together through what the writer calls “more than a half dozen players, plus other sources close to the team.” All the sources in the story are anonymous.
My thoughts are coming, but here’s an excerpt, which pretty much gives you the gist of the story.
“His aw-shucks, overgrown-Opie-from-Mayberry routine plays well with the local and national media. Indeed, sources describe Wentz as “incredibly hard working,” “determined,” and “highly intelligent.” But the true Wentz is more nuanced and complicated, with sources describing him as “selfish,” “uncompromising,” “egotistical,” one who plays “favorites” and doesn’t like to be “questioned,” one who needs to “practice what he preaches" and fails “to take accountability.”
Numerous sources confirmed Wentz was once verbally attacked by a highly respected teammate for not being “a team guy.”
“Carson Wentz’s biggest enemy is Carson Wentz,” one source said. “He’s had his ass kissed his whole life, and sometimes acts like he’s won 10 Super Bowls, when he hasn’t played in, let alone won, a playoff game yet. Everyone around him wants good things for him. He did more thinking on the field than he did playing (in 2018). You don’t have to be a brain surgeon or a football expert to see how differently this team plays and reacts with one guy as opposed to the other."
Wentz, according to sources, created friction within the offense.
That’s one helluva way to start the offseason, huh?
OK, the easiest way to do this is to just give you some thoughts here:
• Joe Santoliquito is the writer of this story. He’s a PhillyVoice contributor but has been in the Philly media market for a long time. I don’t necessarily agree with all of the writing in the story — like the idea that Wentz targeted Zach Ertz much more than Nick Foles (not statistically true) or comparing Wentz’s stats to Andrew Luck’s for some reason — but it doesn’t take away from the meat of the story, the thoughts from those in the locker room. Moving on.
• This isn’t the first time we’ve known some of this about Wentz. That's why I think some of the PhillyVoice story is over-dramatized.
He’s definitely a Type A personality and we’ve seen instances of it popping up before. It’s important to note, that’s not always a bad thing. During the 2017 season, then-OC Frank Reich even hinted at Wentz’s stubbornness. In October 2017, Reich said Wentz told them he had a lot of arguments with his OC in college, but the Eagles viewed that as a good thing because he knew what he wanted.
Reich was then asked if he got into arguments with Wentz. Here’s what he said:
“I wouldn't call them arguments. We're all stubborn. Coaches, players, you’re very confident in what you know and what you believe and what you want. And so we have good discussions and we take a lot of input from Carson, like we do all of our players. Certainly, from the quarterback position, there's a unique contribution I think that you can make and that he can make, but he's still — what we appreciate about him is that he's mature enough to understand there's a process.”
So when the story says new OC Mike Groh was “bullied” by Wentz, I wonder what constitutes bullying.
• Several leaders from both sides of the ball have already publicly backed Wentz shortly after the story was published.
Reading through this Carson Wentz thing and as a leader on this team none of that is true Carson is a great teammate and great player we are all behind him 100% he’s our guy and will come back and prove the world wrong. If you got a problem feel free to @ me I’ll respond— fletcher cox (@fcoxx_91) January 21, 2019
Don’t believe everything you read!!! Carson has been nothing but a GREAT person, GREAT teammate and GREAT leader since Day 1. Our locker room stands behind him all the way. We can’t wait to get back to work and be the best team we can be in 2019! #FlyEaglesFly— Zach Ertz (@ZERTZ_86) January 21, 2019
Not a big anonymous source in a disparaging article about your franchise QB guy. I am a huge #11 guy. That’s as a player, as a teammate and as a man. I love the dude. I’ve told him. You hate to tweet and give the topic life, but by popular demand... now carson and YOU know.— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) January 22, 2019
• These personality traits that were “exposed” in this story are the same personality traits found in a lot of great athletes. There’s something to having an ego and being stubborn. It’s not always a bad thing. In fact, I’d argue that it’s part of the makeup of a lot of great quarterbacks in the NFL. Heck, just think about Tom Brady in New England. People have said similar things about him over the years.
• The story says Foles is “universally loved” in the locker room and Wentz is not. While Wentz and Foles are very close, it’s almost not fair to compare them as people. It’s almost unfair to compare anyone to Foles, who is just a different kind of person, a guy who wants to be a pastor after he stops playing football. It is true that they have very different personalities.
• The part about Wentz’s being verbally attacked by a teammate for not being a “team guy” is the most troubling part of the report, but frustrations do boil over and sometimes things get said. That happens in football locker rooms. The bigger question about this becomes, how was it resolved? And, is there any animosity lingering? If there’s not, I’m not sure it’s as big a deal as it sounds.
• One part I did find interesting was Wentz’s need to take accountability. That was one of the anonymous jabs at the franchise quarterback and it’s something I’ll admit I’ve seen at least during some instances during the QB’s three NFL seasons. There have been times where I thought Wentz should come out and own a mistake and put some blame on himself, but he seemed hesitant to do it. I noticed it more his rookie season, though, and I thought he showed more accountability when things didn’t go well in 2018. I think there’s something to the idea of a guy being great at every level and finally having to learn how to deal with adversity.
• According to the story, multiple sources said Wentz complicated the offense. Well, that could be true. Everything was simplified once Foles took over late in the season, but a lot of that blame has to fall on Doug Pederson, right? I know Wentz is the franchise quarterback, but it’s still Pederson’s team, still Pederson’s offense. If things are too complicated, it’s more on him to simplify than it is on Wentz.
• This won’t make things any easier on Wentz. He went from having an MVP season to getting hurt, watching Foles win a Super Bowl, coming back, struggling to be the same guy, getting hurt and watching Foles lead the team to the playoffs again. There will be a ton of pressure on Wentz heading into the 2019 season. But it’s some of these same personality traits — if harnessed correctly — that might help him return to MVP form and help the Eagles forget all this stuff. And winning always helps too.
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