Pederson: Wentz Is ‘Right On Track’

Leftovers from Doug Pederson's minicamp press conferences.

Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz. (USA Today Sports)

Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz. (USA Today Sports)

Doug Pederson spoke every day during the Eagles’ three-day minicamp last week. Here are a few highlights that we haven’t hit on yet:

— The coaching staff continues to sing the praises of Carson Wentz. Pederson went out of his way to note that when it comes to the subtleties of the position, Wentz is wise beyond his years.

“One thing with Carson, is he’s seeing the field extremely well. He’s doing things out there that you might not see while watching practice, that we see while watching practice, from a communication standpoint with the offensive line: protections, subtle changes with routes, things that he sees that most people won’t and most young quarterbacks don’t at this [point] with where we are in the offseason,” said Pederson.

Asked where he is on the developmental scale in terms of becoming a competent NFL QB, Pederson said he’s “right on track where he needs to be.”

“We get into camp [mode] now. And his maturity — the thing is, too, from today until when they report in July, is how much retention that these players will keep. He’s one that’s going to continue to study the entire six weeks. He’s not taking this time off. He’s going to continue to learn and grow with the system.”

— Pederson referred to this tight end group as “one of our strong suits on offense right now.” He called Brent Celek the leader; Zach Ertz a talent who is getting better as a blocker; and Trey Burton “a tremendous athlete” that can be moved around to create matchup problems for opposing defenses. He also sounded high on Chris Pantale, the 26-year-old Wayne, NJ native who opened some eyes this spring with a number of pretty catches.

“Chris is there and he’s a guy that is learning really a dual role. He’s a little bit of fullback, he’s a little bit of tight end, but he’s been a pleasant surprise this offseason and I really look forward to camp and putting the pads on with all of those guys to really see where they are at physically,” he said.

Pantale is listed at 6-5  (254). Isn’t that a little big for a fullback?

Well, yeah if you stereotype a fullback, they are usually those short-neck guys that slam up in there and block linebackers. But you know, I have to look at it from, how much are we going to use that position? [What’s] the value of that position, and if you’ve got four tight ends active on game day, that’s pretty good, because one of them can be a fullback, play special teams [and] all of that comes into play.”

By the sounds of it, we should not be surprised if Pantale makes a push for a roster spot.

— Plenty of people had Eric Rowe penciled in as one of the starting outside corners heading into the offseason conditioning program. It was a bit of a surprise to see him getting limited work with the first team during OTAs and minicamp and running primarily with the twos to start.

“Well, I think he’s been learning a new system,” Pederson explained. “He’s a tremendous talent, he’s a long corner [and he is] learning some techniques that Jim [Schwartz] is bringing and Coach Undlin  is teaching. It’s just a growth process. It’s a learning process. Even though he played some games last year, you come in and you think you have an opportunity to play, and then with the talent that we’ve brought in around him, it challenges guys that way and it’s all part of the competition factor at those positions. He’s doing a nice job. He’s doing a nice job. He’s got some learning to do, but fully confident that he can handle it and get the job done.”

It does make sense that Leodis McKelvin and Ron Brooks — two corners Schwartz had with him in Buffalo — would be farther along at this point and therefor higher on the “depth chart”. It will be interesting to see if Rowe pushes his way into a starting job this summer.