Reporters in the auditorium of the NovaCare Complex were silent as Carson Wentz walked to the front of the room on Friday evening. Camera shutters went off a mile a minute while the No. 2 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft took his spot at the podium in front of a Philadelphia Eagles backdrop.
As he began to speak, he made one thing very clear. He is here to work, compete and win.
“I think first and foremost that’s how I’m wired,” the quarterback said. “If I’m not the best at something it kind of ticks me off and I want to work my tail off to be the best. It’s also kind of my upbringing. My parents, my older brother always pushed me. I was competitive with him and I just hate losing. That’s kind of how I’m wired and hopefully I can bring that to Philadelphia.”
As it stands now, the most likely scenario is that Wentz will sit for at least a season behind veteran quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel. It will give the 23-year-old time to learn and adjust to the pace of the game at the NFL level.
In his first few years at North Dakota State, the quarterback was in a similar situation, which allowed him an opportunity to embrace the playbook and delve into the specifics. It ultimately helped him in many ways.
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“At North Dakota State I learned a lot about myself, you know, and while I wasn't playing, I was just diving in,” Wentz said. “I wanted to learn as much football as I could and soak up as much as I could from the offensive playbook, the defensive schemes, the whole nine yards. So if that were the case here, nothing is going to change. I'm still going to always prepare the same and compete my tail off and just try and continue to learn. This game is ever evolving, ever changing, and you're never a finished product, so there's always more to learn.”
The quarterback is especially looking forward to gaining as much knowledge as he can from head coach Doug Pederson, offensive coordinator Frank Reich and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo – three former quarterbacks. Wentz specifically reiterated his relationship with Pederson, explaining that the two really “hit it off” during the pre-draft process.
“He seems like a real player’s coach, someone you can get along with great and he seems like he knows a lot about football,” Wentz said. “With him and Coach Reich and Coach DeFilippo, a lot of quarterback knowledge, quarterback minds that I’m just going to try to soak up as much information as quickly as I can from those guys. I’m really excited. I think it’s a great opportunity for me to come in and learn from those guys.”
Prior to his visit to Philadelphia just over two weeks ago, Wentz had never been to the City of Brotherly Love, but he knows what to expect from the Philadelphia faithful. The ways of this city aren’t very different from his own.
“Everyone has just been telling me about how passionate everybody is,” Wentz said. “Talking last night to the media again, I just said, you know, ‘They're passionate here. They hate losing.’ I’m like, ‘Heck, I fit right in.’ I hate losing. I'm real passionate about the game, as well. I think that's the general consensus that I keep getting from this Philadelphia area.
“I'm excited to kind of see what the city has to offer and see what this place is all about.”