Philadelphia Eagles News

Jaws: Wentz Ready To Take Next Step

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Day two of OTAs is in officially in the books. Step onto the practice field with these Eagles players...

What with all of the new faces on the field, the focus for observers tends to shift to running back, wide receiver, cornerback, and the defensive line. The Eagles are different in all of these areas. They're also different at quarterback with a second-year player who is totally in command of the situation.

Carson Wentz is no longer a curiosity. He is a second-year quarterback with 16 regular season starts under his belt. He has experienced the requisite ups and downs of the position. He has enjoyed the early-career moments of success and adoration. He has been the target of criticism and of intense scrutiny.

And here he is, on the right path to greatness.

"You look at Carson," Eagles Hall of Fame quarterback Ron Jaworski said after an Organized Team Activity practice at the NovaCare Complex, "and you see growth. I watched every throw today. I see a quarterback who has made improvements in his delivery, in his quick-twitch mechanics, in his footwork.

"He just looks more comfortable out there. He isn't rushing through his progressions. He is a young quarterback in terms of his years in the league, but Carson just has that look of someone who is completely prepared for taking that next step."

And what is the next step? Statistically, the Eagles want the touchdown passes up and the interception totals down. They want the completion percentage to go from 62 percent in 2016 to 65 percent. They want better reads and quicker decisions.

The growth of a quarterback includes taking command of the locker room and developing rapport with his teammates. Wentz has checked off those boxes. He runs the show. And he's extremely humble and professional in that respect.

  is making progress from the quad injury suffered during the win over Minnesota last season. There was no contact on the play. "It just burst on me and my season was over," Brooks said. "It's been a long road back. A lot of ups and downs. It's very tough emotionally, as much as it is physically. But I'm feeling good and I worked hard on my rehab. I'm confident I'm going to get back to where I need to be."  

Right tackle Lane Johnson on his offseason: "It's been great," he said. "I've been here and I feel great and ready to go. I think we've got an offensive line with a lot of depth and a lot of competition. For me, I'm excited about this offense and where I am. I think I'm having my best offseason."

New wide receivers coach Mike Groh is getting high reviews from his players. Groh is a vocal, demanding coach and he's put together some practice drills that haven't been used with the Eagles previously. "He's a guy who understands the position and he relates things well," wide receiver Jordan Matthews said. "He's cool. He wants the best for all of us and we know it. He's going to get on us, no doubt. But he has a good way of relating to us and I think he brings out the best in us. There's a lot of great competition."

First-round draft pick Derek Barnett notices the difference in practice tempo and competition with the full team on the field. The veterans, he said, are a new world. "It's everything," he said. "Technique, strength, speed. These are the best of the best and so working against this offensive line is going to make me a much better player." An observation from the first day, by the way: Barnett and Brandon Graham are explosive with their get-off at the snap of the football and veteran Chris Long looked very quick off the ball on Tuesday. Vinny Curry started with Graham and looked quick and powerful. That is, potentially, a very strong four-man rotation at defensive end. The Eagles like to carry five. Who wins the fifth defensive end job?

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