Carson Wentz understands the big picture. He is, as the Eagles' starting quarterback entering his second season in the NFL, under an intense microscope. He is the Face of the Franchise.
Wentz is always in the spotlight both on and off the field, but it hasn't changed the young man from Bismarck, North Dakota.
"I'm pretty simple. 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," Wentz said recently to a pool of reporters at the NovaCare Complex. "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 honestly, what people know about me, that's who I am and what I am and really not a lot more to it."
Who Wentz is has been explained many times in his short career: Wentz is a man of deep faith and value, and when he's not playing football and trying to win a Super Bowl for the Eagles, he's hunting, enjoying the outdoors, playing with his dogs, or seeing friends and family. At the same time, he understands the pulse of the city. He knows how important all of the sports teams are and attends games or connects with the other athletes on social media.
Wentz admits that he suppressed some of his personality last season. He was the new guy. He was the first-round draft pick walking into a locker room full of veterans. It takes some time, he said, to understand just where and how to fit in.
"It was a challenge. I think the biggest thing for me, because that is natural, I do like to take charge in some extent, I think the biggest thing I recognized the writing on the wall," he said. "I was the second overall pick. I knew it was going to be, I was going to be in time.
"Now if I was a sixth-round pick and I knew my role from the jump, I would have owned that role, made the most of it. But I knew it was just a matter of time. So it was, 'How do I assert myself now when I'm the (third-string quarterback)?' And it was some interesting waters to some extent. But I tried to not be too vocal and let my work and my play speak for itself with how I interacted with guys and treated guys, without overexerting myself. But then eight days before the season, I'm like, 'There's no waiting time anymore.'"
Wentz was named the starting quarterback when Sam Bradford was traded to Minnesota. He started his rookie season off on fire, leading the Eagles to a 3-0 record in September as he was named the NFC's Offensive Rookie of the Month. The rest of the season wasn't smooth sailing.
and Torrey Smith, a deep offensive line, and a hammer in the backfield in 250-pound running back LeGarrette Blount.
"I think the biggest thing I can see watching (tape), I know I feel more comfortable, but I can see it on film. Everything - pocket movements, different things - everything's more subtle," he said. Everything's quieter from my feet. And it just looks like I'm more comfortable, kind of know the offense to another level where I can progress and work through. Am I perfect? No, I'll never be perfect. But I can tell from that that I do look more comfortable, and I feel that way.
"I thought last year, when you go back and watch the tape, I thought there were days where my footwork and everything lined up and looked great, and some games where the feet would just be off, I'd be jittery, different things, nothing major but I could notice. Some days it wouldn't affect the throw at all ... but I think everything just looks tighter and more consistent I think is the biggest thing to this point."
The Face of the Franchise also established his own nonprofit charity, the Carson Wentz AO1 Foundation, this offseason which seeks to help the less fortunate through some of the deepest passions in his life. AO1 stands for Audience of One, a faith-based motto that guides the quarterback.
Just as he did on the field, he didn't want to waste any time making an impact off of it as well.
"Coming into the league, my agents told me most guys will wait four or five years to do their foundation if they want, and I was like, 'OK,'" Wentz said. "I took their advice, thought about it, but I'm like, 'I have no idea in four or five years where I'm going to be.' God-willing, I'm still playing this game, hopefully still here and everything, but you just never know. You're not promised tomorrow, so I just said, 'Why wait? Why wait to make a difference and help out?'"
For Wentz, and for the Eagles, the time is now to take the next step. That is exactly the plan in place.