If you were expecting anything other than complete professionalism from Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz when he met the media on Monday for a conference call, you really haven't been paying much attention to his career. In his first comments since the team used a second-round draft pick to select Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, Wentz said he was "excited" to work with the rookie as well as all the quarterbacks in the new-look room.
"I've heard nothing but great things about Jalen and how good he is and the player that he is," Wentz said. "I've gotten the chance to talk to him, just briefly. I'm excited to add him to the fold and create a really good, healthy, competitive, challenging environment for all of us."
It was the question on every reporter's mind – how Wentz, who last spring signed a long-term contract extension through 2024 to remain with the Eagles, felt about the addition of Hurts to the quarterback group. It's expected that Nate Sudfeld, who has a one-year contract through the 2020 season, would serve as the No. 2 to Wentz, and that Hurts would be a long-term quarterback who would move into that backup role. Kyle Lauletta returns after spending the 2019 campaign on the Eagles' practice squad.
In no way, Wentz said, did he have any issue with the decision to take Hurts, and he is focused solely on "winning football games" rather than any role Hurts might play in his rookie season. In other words, as the team's offseason virtual offseason program continues, Wentz is focused on business and not the drama circulating on sports talk radio among the fans or in the media.
"It really didn't concern me," said Wentz, who became a father on April 27 when his wife, Madison, gave birth to Hadley Jayne Wentz, who weighed in at 8 pounds, 2 ounces. "I think my reaction was kind of understood. I had a feeling there was a chance we were going to draft somebody just given the way our roster is laid out. We're trying to get younger and stuff, so there's no concern for me. I think the team showed their investment in me last year and I have nothing but confidence and faith in them and they have nothing but confidence and faith in me, so I think it's all about strengthening that position and this group that we have.
"If I were to start questioning Howie (Roseman, general manager) and management now, I'd really be questioning myself, because, I like I said, I signed the deal that I did and it was my way of showing them I trust and believe in what we're doing in Philly and they trust and believe in me. I have nothing but confidence and I'm excited to get to work."
When the Eagles drafted Hurts, Head Coach Doug Pederson spoke about his "unique" skill set as a multipronged threat, and that led some to wonder if the Eagles were planning if Pederson would devise some packages during the season that would allow Hurts to take some snaps and use those abilities. Maybe, some thought, the Eagles could use Hurts in a similar way to the one New Orleans has carved out for Taysom Hill, who last year gained 156 yards on 27 rushing attempts, added 19 receptions and 234 yards, and completed 3 of 6 passes along with playing on special teams.
If that's the case, Wentz said he has no issues. All he wants is what we all want: Wins on top of wins on top of wins.
"We'll see how that all plays out," Wentz said. "We haven't gotten too deep into the playbook and how things are going to look, but for me, whatever is going to help us win. I came to Philly when I was drafted and all I want to do is win … whatever that takes and whatever that's going to look like, I'm up for it. I'm a competitor. I want to be out there. I want to have the ball in my hands. We all do. But at the same time, whatever is going to help us win …"
Wentz's 2019 season ended early in the playoff loss to Seattle when he left the game feeling concussion-like symptoms. It turned out to be a concussion and a very disappointing conclusion to a season during which Wentz carried an injury-riddled offense to the NFC East title. Wentz was brilliant as he tossed 27 touchdown passes and only seven interceptions, passing for a career-high and franchise-record 4,039 yards, and completing 63.9 percent of his passes while compiling a career-low 1.2 percent interception rate.
He was great, from start to finish. It's just that he wasn't able to end the season on his terms, and that was extremely frustrating.
"I've had some time now to reflect on that," Wentz said. "It's frustrating. I've said it before about injuries. It's an unfortunate part of the game but this one just felt a little different given the fluky nature that it was. A head injury is something that is out of your control … I was frustrated to A) Deal with a concussion because that's never fun and I don't wish that on anybody and B) To not be able to finish that game with my teammates and to not give us the best chance to win and do everything I could. We did some amazing things just to get to that point. I was extremely proud of the team and the way we rallied (to win the NFC East) to get to that point.
"There's a ton of positives from the season that I, everyone can kind of look back on and grow and learn a lot from … It's a bummer. I hated not being out there. I hated dealing with a head injury and it's a scary part of the game. Makes me that much hungrier to get back to work so we can do something bigger."
The focus is on 2020 and an offense that, Wentz says, "added some speed and some explosiveness," including first-round draft pick wide receiver Jalen Reagor, who Wentz said is an "explosive playmaker" who will add dynamism to the offense.
"I'm excited to be creative and find ways to get those guys the ball," Wentz said.