Eagles QB Carson Wentz spent an offseason getting his mind and body right
Carson Wentz gets hurt all the time.
Carson Wentz doesn’t deserve his mega-million contract.
Carson Wentz plays favorites.
The Eagles quarterback hears the criticism. He knows it comes with the territory. Still, it stings.
So he has made some changes.
He stays off social media. He got married.
VIDEO: Lane Johnson talks about Carson Wentz's commitment
And now, he said, he is at peace as horizon of his fourth NFL season approaches.
“Obviously there’s stuff that’s out there and really since I came into the league I try to avoid social media and those types of things but I think finally going through the journey I did I really just kind of said screw it, I’m not even going to look at it at all,” said Wentz, when he sat down for an embargoed interview session last week with the Eagles beat reporters.
“But the criticism from anybody and everybody that’s just kind of part of this game and for me when I started to kind of hear those voices a little bit that was something that when I got hurt last year I finally just kind of had to let it all go and then realize that I can’t control what people think, what they say, what they write.
“It doesn’t really matter to me. I realize I play this game for a bigger purpose. So it was it kind of all just freeing this offseason going through everything and just remembering again that there’s a bigger purpose.”
Wentz has taken an almost Zen-like approach this offseason.
He got his mind right.
“The mental side of it, I think the journey I’ve been on the last two years ending the season on the bench and everything that’s come with that, from the criticism, from everything about it, has just allowed me to find freedom in this game again and not press, not put so much pressure on myself and just let the stress kind of just fade away and go play,” said Wentz.
“It’s been a journey and, by no means am I going to say I’m perfect, that I have everything figured out. But the pressure and the expectations and everything surrounding everything that I have always done a good job of blocking out. But then you compound that with injury and then the struggle that we had last year early on, it just kind of got me to … seeing this game, it was more stressful and I was less free playing it.”
Relieving stress has been aided by his recent marriage to his wife Madison.
“Going home to my wife and a couple dogs has been such a huge stress reliever,” said Wentz. “You know whatever you’re doing with work sometimes it can just build up, be stressful. It’s a full time job and sometimes it’s long days, long hours, but going home to her just reminds me there’s more to life.
“I talk about my faith kind of reminding me of that, but my wife is a tangible representation of that too and going home to her, she’s going to love me, support me, encourage me, no matter what anyone else says or does. That’s been a tremendous blessing for sure.”
Wentz also got his body right.
No one can question the quarterback’s commitment to his job, and his team. He grew up in the wilds of North Dakota hunting and fishing, yet decided to adopt a vegan lifestyle. And he gave up pizza, too; all for his desire to be as great as he can be.
“Changed his diet, changed his workout, he’s very serious,” said right tackle Lane Johnson. “I like that. He’s just more mature, had more time to mature in the offense, had more time to mature in the city, learn and grow, and that’s what this business is all about.”
Johnson brings up a good point. Wentz has matured in the offense, something you would expect since this is his fourth season in it. Still, it is something that could be beneficial to him.
He says he understands the offense much better, so he shouldn’t have to scramble around as much.
That doesn’t mean, he said, that he won’t try to keep plays alive if he sees the opportunity.
What Wentz won’t do is play favorites, something he doesn’t believe he has ever done when it comes time to delivering the football, even though that was one of the charges levied against him last year when tight end Zach Ertz caught an NFL-record 116 passes.
Yet, Ertz was still one of Nick Foles’ top targets in the final three games, completing 18 passes to him.
“I don’t feel like I’ve ever really played favorites,” said Wentz. “I just go with the ball, where the defense tells me to go type thing and I feel like we’ve always kind of spread the love and shared the love over the years, and so I’m not really too concerned about that, and I realize the coaches do a tremendous job of making sure that that takes place, that we are getting guys touches and doing their job, making sure those things happen, so I’m not overly worried about it.
“Obviously, we’re all cognizant of it … ‘Hey, we want to get Alshon (Jeffery) going early this game, we want to get Ertz going,’ whatever it may be, and I know at the end of the day everyone will get theirs, and I believe at the same time everyone’s personalities will allow us, if they’re not getting the ball for three quarters, no one’s going to be complaining on the sideline, so I think we’re going to be in this thing together and I think we’re pretty good with where we’re at.”
Where Wentz is at is mostly unknown right now, not having seen him play in the preseason.
We are about to find out.