Carson Wentz on Sloppiness, Coaching, and the Outside Noise
PHILADELPHIA - Brett Favre would rather have a mediocre backup quarterback, an anonymous personnel executive chimes in about your poor decision-making, and an NFL Network reporter "breaks a story" about your "sloppy" practice habits.
Welcome to Carson Wentz's world.
When you're struggling, those kinds of things are par for the course for the quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Wentz said he went incognito when it comes to social media a couple of years ago but the negativity still permeates in his press conferences.
"To be honest, I don’t listen to a lot of the noise, because all that really matters is inside this building," said Wentz on Wednesday. "I’ve made it a habit and a point of emphasis of staying off social media for the past couple of years.
"Whether it’s good or bad, all that matters to me is the locker room and this organization and how we’re going to get better."
On Wednesday, in advance of Sunday's game in Cleveland, however, the lead-off question wasn't about Myles Garrett or the Browns, it was about Mike Silver, the NFL Media reporter who claimed there are at least thoughts from some in the organization that Wentz had developed "some sloppy practice habits that he's been allowed to perpetuate."
"Are my practices perfect? No," said Wentz, noting he himself never saw the report, something echoed by Doug Pederson earlier in the week. "That's why it's practice. But as far as sloppy practice habits and those things? For one, you guys are out there every day, and then you guys are asked to leave (after stretching and some individual drills). So the media's not even out there, so I don't know where that's coming from."
Whether that's an attempt at a deflection or a misunderstanding is up for debate but it's the same talking point that was disseminated Monday by the head coach.
"First of all, I did not see the report and secondly, you guys are only out there for a short period of time, so I don't know where the information is coming from," Pederson said. "Practice is where we perfect our craft and we do the things with all of our players to detail their work, whether it be fundamentals in the individual periods, all the way through to even for me sometimes even stopping practice and repeating a play because we've made a mistake.
"So I don't understand where that's coming from, and we're just going to continue to coach and make sure we hold everybody accountable."
Accountability is another buzzword that comes up often when it comes to Wentz.
The cliff notes there involve the now fifth-year QB being held accountable by former offensive coordinator Frank Reich and hard-nosed position coach John DeFilippo, something that has incrementally decreased with the Mike Groh/Press Taylor tandem and now the Taylor/Rich Scangarello regime.
"We’ve seen a couple of different personalities, a couple of different coaching styles and everything. I have a great relationship with all of these coaches, and they all work their tails off, just like us players," Wentz said.
Wentz did admit he's got things to work on in practice.
"It is what it is. I know I'm not perfect," he said. "That's why it's practice, and I've got to be better all the time. But I'm always out there working, and I know everybody else is, so I haven't seen any of that (sloppiness) from myself or really from anybody.
"We're out there busting our tails every day. Do mistakes happen? Absolutely. But is that something that I've seen or worried about from anybody else? No, I'm not."
To date, Wentz has an uncharacteristic 73.1 passer rating and a dismal 58.2 completion percentage, which are both on track to be career lows and rank near the bottom of the NFL, No. 33 out of 35 in both categories. Meanwhile, his 12 interceptions - just two off his career-worst mark as a rookie with seven games to play - are an NFL high.
"Honestly right now, it’s not hitting or clicking on all cylinders," said Wentz, "But I’m really confident that we’re going to get it all turned around."
John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every Tuesday and Thursday on "The Middle" with Eytan Shander, Harry Mayes, and Barrett Brooks on SportsMap Radio and PhillyVoice.com. He’s also the host of Extending the Play on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
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