Eagles

Eagles

He’s played one NFL game and already has had the President talk about him at a public appearance, sold more jerseys than any other player in the NFL and electrified a city that two weeks ago was still planning to snooze through another season with Sam Bradford at the helm.

It’s been a whirlwind few days for Carson Wentz, who on Sunday enjoyed one of the most successful opening-day NFL debuts by any rookie quarterback in NFL history.

Life these days is a little different than life at North Dakota State.

“He’s handled it fine,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said Thursday. “I’ll tell you that he and I have had conversations the last couple days, and I just wanted him to be aware, limit the noise from the outside and focus on football and that’s one thing about him and his maturity level is how well he does balance work with some of the outside influences like media and autographs and different things like that.

“So he’s handled it really well. Getting here early with Chase (Daniel) and Aaron (Murray) and getting ready for Chicago.”

Wentz completed 22 of 37 passes for 278 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in his NFL debut Sunday, and the Eagles beat the Browns 29-10 at the Linc.

Wentz’s passer rating of 101.0 is seventh-highest in NFL history by a rookie on opening day (with a minimum of 20 attempts).

 

On Tuesday, President Obama gave Wentz a shoutout during an appearance at Eakins Oval (see story).

"Some of you may have seen Joe Biden at the Eagles game,” Obama said. “He told me, 'Barack, you've got to get on the Wentz wagon. They’ve got a new quarterback. We’ve got hope in Philly.’”

On top of that, Wentz’s jersey sold more during the first two days of the week than any other NFL jersey, beating out Odell Beckham Jr., Tom Brady, Dak Prescott and Antonio Brown (see story).

Pederson is very aware of how distracting this sort of stuff can be. Especially for a 23-year-old kid who a year ago was playing I-AA football in relative anonymity in Fargo, N.D.

“This is where I can step in and help him and protect him and keep him out of that and keep him focused,” Pederson said. “If I can keep him in the building as long as I stay in the building, we’ll be OK.

“I know there’s always outside influences and the more success he has on the football field, all that off-the-field stuff will take care of itself. But the last few days, he’s handled it well.”

The Eagles face the Bears Monday night at Soldier Field in Chicago, so the spotlight isn’t going away anytime soon.

Wentz will be trying to become the fifth rookie quarterback since 1960 to open his career 2-0 with wins in Week 1 and Week 2.

The last to do it? Mark Sanchez.

“If they’re not talking about you then something’s wrong,” Pederson said. “That’s always been my philosophy. It is exciting to be mentioned that way but at the same time, listen, we’re onto Chicago, it’s another game week, another set of cirumstances, it’s Monday Night Football, it’s the national spotlight, there’s more media attention.

“Everything about this week is different than last week, and so we have to re-focus, I have to re-focus, and the beauty of it is you get back in here this past Monday and you dive right back into football and you don’t pay attention too much to all the peripheral stuff on the outside. That’s going to take care of itself.

“And the more success you have the more things can kind of creep in and you just have to stick to your plan and stick to what you believe in, and each week just dive into football and try to win another football game.”