Eagles Wake-Up Call: Carson Wentz’s Offseason Plan

Plus: What the Eagles' quarterback will use for motivation.
Carson Wentz and Jordan Matthews. (Jeff Fusco)

Carson Wentz and Jordan Matthews. (Jeff Fusco)

After throwing a pair of touchdown passes en route to a 27-13 win over the Cowboys, Carson Wentz experienced a strange feeling that typically doesn’t come with victory: sadness.

“Yeah, we won last night and that was cool, but it was weird last night and this morning coming in like, ‘We’re not going to be back here.’ That same team, that same locker room will never be the same,” Wentz said on Monday. “It’s kind of a crappy feeling, but we’re gonna use that now. I know I’m going to personally use that; I never want to have that feeling again. I want to be playing into January the rest of my career, God willing.”

Wentz will have his plate full in the offseason as he works to improve everything from his throwing motion to his footwork and timing. But before he dives head first into developing his game, he’ll do something he hasn’t had much time for since his final season at North Dakota State.

“I definitely have to take some time off — mentally and physically,” Wentz said. “It’s been a long haul from my college season to the pre-draft process to this whole season. It’s been a lot of fun [and I’ve] learned a lot, but definitely been physically and mentally taxing.”

The 24-year-old will take at least three to four weeks off before he throws a football again, as he plans to spend his initial days “just hanging out” and hunting. Wentz may work with a quarterback guru like Tom House, who lists more than a dozen NFL starters as his clientele (including Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan), but that’s not set in stone yet.

One thing Wentz will definitely do, however, is spend a lot of time with Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz to develop their timing and chemistry. Matthews and Ertz visited Sam Bradford in Oklahoma last offseason when Bradford appeared to be the Eagles’ starting quarterback for 2016, and although the duo will likely spend some time with Wentz in Philadelphia, they may also go to Wentz’s home state.

“(Matthews) wants to go to Fargo, North Dakota real bad. I told him, ‘I can take you right now, but you might never want to ever come back. It’s pretty cold,'” Wentz said of the city he played college football in. “He wants to go up there, so we’ll see what we do in the offseason. But it will be fun. Whatever we do, we got to get together and do something.”

While Wentz will have plenty to work on, he noted that he doesn’t think there’s “one big glaring” area he needs to improve on. He added that his biggest challenge as a rookie was getting accustomed to the speed of the game, although he felt he adjusted “fairly quickly.”

Still, Wentz clearly isn’t satisfied with how his rookie season went.

“I thought it was okay. It definitely wasn’t where it needs to be,” Wentz said. “Ultimately, we were 7-9, and that’s what it all boils down to. I learned a lot and I grew as far as mentally and physically. Definitely nowhere near where I want to be and where we can be as a team.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

The Eagles signed eight players, all of whom finished the year on the practice squad, to futures contracts.

“I just wanted to prove to myself and prove to the coaches and to the teammates that I can be the same guy.” NFC East Roundup.

“We knew we were finally going to have the opportunity to build that chemistry with one quarterback for a long time.” What Carson Wentz brings to the Eagles for the future.

“We’ve got to learn to make more plays and finish those games, but I think we’re extremely close.” Doug Pederson thinks the team is very close to being a playoff contender.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Tight end Brent Celek expects to be back with the Eagles next season, according to Les Bowen of the Daily News.

“I expect to be back, but that’s not my decision,” Celek said as players packed up in the NovaCare locker room Monday. “I think they expect me to come back, as long as I want to come back.”

Celek’s cap number in 2017 is $5 million, and releasing him would incur a $4 million dead-cap charge. He said he is fine with the 2016 trend of more snaps for Zach Ertz and Trey Burton, fewer for him.

“These guys deserve playing time as well, and whatever role they need me to play, I’m going to continue to play,” he said.

Celek is fourth on the team’s all-time receiving list, with 385 catches.

Bob Brookover of the Inquirer writes about how the Jeff McLane situation became a major problem for the Eagles.

Regarding the other media members who witnessed the altercation and backed McLane’s version of events, this was not a case of reporters sticking up for their own. We compete against each other for the benefit of our readers and McLane has always been among the most competitive.

Other reporters came to McLane’s defense because they saw that what Gordon did was wrong. Even a security source inside the Linc told me he could not believe that Gordon was having a reporter ejected.

Ejecting a reporter from a press box is so unusual that, even though it’s possible it has happened, no current sports writer for the Inquirer or Daily News can recall a single time in the last 30-plus years when it has.

As a former managing editor at the Inquirer, Gordon should respect that McLane is a diligent reporter who goes hard after news stories even if they do not always present the Eagles in a favorable light. She actually prevented him from doing so Sunday because McLane had a significant story that he was told to pursue inside the locker room after the Eagles’ meaningless win over the Dallas Cowboys. He never got the chance because security took away his press credential before escorting him to the exit.

COMING UP

We’ll have the latest news and notes on the Birds.

Chris Jastrzembski contributed to this post.