Carson Wentz still adjusting to being 'the man' in Philly

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Carson Wentz still adjusting to being 'the man' in Philly

What do we really know about Carson Wentz? He's a good quarterback. He loves to hunt and fish. He's very religious.

Honestly, that's about it.

He's been an Eagle for a year and a half and our knowledge of the would-be savior of the franchise remains a closed book. A mystery to everybody in Philadelphia.

So what about the real Carson Wentz? What about the guy who hasn't let us get to know him yet? What is Carson Wentz all about when he lets his guard down? Who is Carson Wentz beyond a devout hunter who throws a football far?

Wentz ponders the question for a second and then smiles.

"That’s pretty much all there is to it," he said. "I’m pretty simple."

We want to know everything about our quarterbacks. It's natural for a football-obsessed fan base. We knew all about Randall Cunningham's childhood, Donovan McNabb's high-profile college career, Michael Vick's stay in prison.

But Wentz?

The 24-year-old from Bismarck, North Dakota, says there's not much to really know. In a recent interview, he said he'll always keep his life private but admitted there's not much about him that people don't know.

“I feel like what I am and who I am is kind of out there," he said. "I do like being low-key, I do like being private, for the most part. I think this business, this world that I’ve come into, is really cool, but it can be a lot sometimes and sometimes it’s just nice to go home and be chill and be away from everything. But it’s cool at the same time.

"I definitely do enjoy it. There are perks of it. Honestly, seeing kids and stuff? That part’s really cool. Seeing how excited they can get. But at the same time, there are times I just want to go into Target real quick and or have something go on in my life so there’s those things.

"But honestly? What people know about me? That’s who I am and what I am and there's really not a lot more to it.”

Wentz knew what he was getting into when the Eagles drafted him. He knew how rabid the fans are here, he knew that the size of the market meant more intense scrutiny than most NFL cities, and he knew that the lifestyle he knew from small-town North Dakota and craved for himself as he moved on with his life would be very difficult to maintain.

To help isolate himself, he moved into deep South Jersey, where he can hunt and fish and get around with a large degree of anonymity.

But celebrity is impossible to avoid. No matter how hard you try.

"I was in the mall in Deptford in the spring," Wentz said. "I was literally talking to a guy for 20 minutes and there was a line of 20 people waiting.

"I said, 'Guys, I literally have to go. This isn't going to work.'"

Wentz got a taste of it in college. He was considered a god at North Dakota State and really throughout the Fargo area.

It prepared him for all this. But only a little.

"I did kind of have an idea that's what it was going to be," he said. "Back in Fargo even, before the draft, that's kind of what it evolved into. Even playing as a senior in college. In Fargo, Bison football is what it's all about.

"Just going to places in college, you kind of got that treatment to some extent. I was ready for it, but obviously, it's a bigger scale here. It's cool at the same time.”

Wentz said it's a nearly impossible challenge balancing his desire to just be a normal person and run to Target when he needs a few things while still maintaining his obsessive privacy.

“You kind of pick and choose, honestly," he said. "I know for me in the offseason, I wasn’t as reserved about things, like going public. It is what it is. But during the season I like to be focused on football and then go home and be insulated.

"So it’s kind of pick and choose and knowing when you’re comfortable with those things. But at the same time, it’s part of it, and I’m learning every time I go do something  — the reaction and everything. But honestly, just kind of learning on the fly.

"And like where I live, for example, I’ve gone to some places down there a number times where it’s starting to get normal a little bit where I can kind of be fairly casual for the most part."

Wentz said when he leaves the NovaCare Complex at night and heads home he likes to get completely away from football.

He spends time with his brother and his family, who live 10 minutes away in deep South Jersey, and likes to play with his dogs in his large backyard.

Wentz said he spends about 12 hours a day at the NovaCare Complex during the season, and when he leaves, he doesn't want to talk about or think about football. Being home is an important time for him to refresh and escape the game a bit.

So if you run into Wentz at the Deptford Mall, ask about his dogs, hunting or his favorite podcast.

Just don't ask about football. And that goes for family members, too.

“There’s times where I’ll be talking to my mom and she’ll be asking me football questions and I’ll be like, ‘Mom, I’m going to hang up,'" he said.

"Like, I’ll call you to see how you’re doing, but I don’t want to talk about football.’ Even my brother, who knows the game really well, will talk about it (but only) if I bring it up."

On Sunday, Wentz will become only the third homegrown quarterback in the last 40 years to start two straight openers for the Eagles, joining McNabb and Cunningham.

It feels like Wentz has already embraced the city and the fans more than McNabb ever did. McNabb, for all his success, never came across as someone who loved playing in Philadelphia.

Wentz has made that connection in a very deep way in a little over a year, and he's done it while still staying true to his North Dakota roots.

He's managed to stay true to his roots 1,600 miles away while still truly becoming a Philly guy.

"The things I like about North Dakota, that's who I am," Wentz said. "I'm not going to let the culture I live in and where I live kind of change me. I'm just going to keep being me.

"If other people embrace it, that's cool. If they don't, I'm OK with it because I'm comfortable with who I am. Like the hunting and all that stuff, I'm fortunate enough that I can do that out in New Jersey. I can kind of get that peace of mind to get away from the game.

"It's kind of just who I am and what I'm about. Not going to let where I live and the circumstances change that.”

All of this doesn't mean Wentz doesn't appreciate what makes Eagles fans unique. He does. 

He clearly gets it.

"My brother and I and his wife were going to dinner in the spring and some guy knew who I was and just kept walking by, but kept screaming, ‘You’re the (expletive) man,’ and started doing the Eagles' chant," Wentz said.

"Like the whole street was doing it. That’s Philly right there. That’s what they’re all about. It was hilarious.”

Navy pulls off iconic Philly Special at the Linc

Navy pulls off iconic Philly Special at the Linc

Let's just say, the Navy Midshipmen certainly know how to win over a crowd in Philadelphia.

On Saturday during the 120th Army-Navy game, a familiar play call was seen.

You might have seen it before. There's a statue immortalizing it in front of the Linc. It happened during Super Bowl LII. Anything come to mind?

That's right. The Philly Special.

What an awesome moment in the middle of one of the best days in sports. Check it out:

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A myth dispelled, thoughts on the Carson Sucks crowd and much more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations!

A myth dispelled, thoughts on the Carson Sucks crowd and much more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations!

Another myth dispelled, thoughts on the Carson Sucks crowd, an observation about Duce Staley and lots more in this weekend's edition of Roob's Random Eagles Observations! 

1. Dwayne Haskins may develop into a big-time NFL quarterback. He certainly has the arm. But right now he’s a 22-year-old rookie with 3 TDs and 7 INTs in seven career games and a miserable 61.2 passer rating — worst among current starter QBs. This is a quarterback the Eagles need to dominate. Pressure him. Mix coverages and blitzes. Confuse him. When you get your hands on a ball, make the interception. When you get your hands around him, bring him down. He can’t drive the offense 75 yards down the field in 10 plays, but he's got a legit arm so don’t allow big plays over the top. Don’t give the Redskins a reason to keep fighting like you did the last two weeks against bad teams. The Eagles are 4-1 against rookie quarterbacks under Jim Schwartz, allowing 12 points per game. More of that Sunday. This shouldn’t even be a game by 2:30 p.m. But I'm afraid it will be.

2. Here’s one for the Carson Sucks crowd: Despite missing eight games the last two years and with three games still to go, Wentz already has the 9th-most TD passes in NFL history by a QB in his first four seasons. Three more in the last three games move him up to 6th. He’s also thrown 35 interceptions. Of the 10 QBs currently ahead of him in TD passes over their first four seasons, only Russell Wilson has also thrown fewer than 44  interceptions in his first four years, and only Wilson and Dan Marino have a higher passer rating. Worst QB ever.

3. The Eagles have used 18 cornerbacks since 2016.  Eight of them are no longer in the NFL.

4. I’m always up for a good conspiracy theory. Did you know the first manned moon landing was actually fabricated and the astronauts were actually on a film set in Arizona made to look like the moon? For real! I saw it in Capricorn One! Some conspiracy theories are hilarious, like the one making the rounds this week. Did you know Jordan Howard isn’t really hurt, he’s sitting out to protest not having a long-term contract? I swear, I got that from at least a dozen people this past week. Yeah, that’s a great way to get a new contract! Pretend you’re hurt, lie about a neck injury, miss five games, watch your free agency value plummet and hope that the Eagles just happen to forget to inform other teams that you were healthy all along but just didn’t feel like playing. Makes perfect sense!  

5. MYTH: “Jim Schwartz NEVER ADJUSTS.”
REALITY: Since 2016, the Eagles have allowed the 11th-fewest first-half points in the NFL  [11.0 per game], but they’ve allowed the 4th-fewest second-half points [9.6], behind the Vikings, Patriots and Ravens. Among the top 20 defenses in the league over the last four years, only the Vikings [2.1-point differential] have a larger first-half / second-half point differential than the Eagles [1.4 points]. Overall, the Eagles have allowed the 7th-fewest points in the NFL over the last four years.

6. I count 21 Eagles players who’ve missed a total of 105 games so far this year, a figure that will go up considering how many won’t be playing the next three. Two things: 1) The Eagles have to take an honest look at every facet of their training, conditioning and rehab this offseason and figure out why half the team is always hurt. And 2) It really makes you appreciate guys like Malcolm Jenkins and Jason Kelce, the only Eagles to start and finish all 45 games since opening day 2017. Not far behind are Brandon Graham and Brandon Brooks (44), Fletcher Cox (43) and Zach Ertz (42). Those guys have been there for their team every step of the way — or almost every step — for three years now. They're all-time Eagles.

7. What the heck is going on with Genard Avery? The Eagles spent a 4th-round draft pick to acquire Avery from the Browns in October, and he’s played 20 snaps on defense in five games since. TWENTY SNAPS. He didn’t play a snap on defense in the Giants game. His snaps were supposed to go up as he got acclimated to the defense. Now he’s not even playing. He’s been here seven weeks now, and he can’t even get a single snap on defense? He’s playing a lot on special teams (19 snaps per game), but that’s an awfully expensive special teamer.

8. How bad are the Redskins? They've scored 79 points in six home games. They have eight offensive touchdowns at Fedex Field this year. And five of them were in their first two games. They've scored THREE offensive touchdowns in their last four home games. The Eagles are actually 3rd-BEST in the NFL in road scoring at 29.3 points per game. This REALLY needs to be a blowout.

9. Rasul Douglas is the Eagles’ best cornerback.

10. Think about Duce Staley’s body of work as Eagles running backs coach: 1) Got a 776-yard, 9-TD season out of Ryan Mathews in 2016. 2) Won a Super Bowl with LeGarrette Blount on his last legs and Jay Ajayi coming in halfway through the season. 3) Undrafted rookie Corey Clement, who had 10 catches all year, had a 100-yard receiving game and miracle TD in a Super Bowl. 4) Got over 500 yards and a 4.3 average from undrafted rookie Josh Adams in 2018. 5) Miles Sanders has already broken the franchise record for scrimmage yards by a rookie. 6) Jordan Howard was in the midst of a comeback year with a 4.4 average and 7 TDs before he got hurt. 7) Darren Sproles netted nearly 1,400 scrimmage yards in just 30 games, all after turning 33. 8) Boston Scott comes off the practice squad to pile up 128 scrimmage yards in a critical win over the Giants. 9) Eagles are the No. 12 rushing team in the NFL in four years under Staley even though nobody on the roster has rushed for more than 850 yards TOTAL during that span. 10) All 11 running backs who’ve gotten at least 30 carries under Staley have averaged at least 4.0 yards per carry under Duce. Nine of them have averaged at least 4.3 yards per carry. The Eagles haven’t had a back with 550 yards in consecutive years since Shady, yet the Eagles always seem to run the ball well. The guy’s really good.

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