What Are Doug Pederson's Expectations of Carson Wentz in Year 2?

It's not exactly like Carson Wentz was flying under the radar last year.

As Eagles training camp in 2016 approached, there were still plenty of eyes on the young quarterback. But a year ago, Wentz was gearing up for a season of watching football in a baseball cap, with clipboard in hand.

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That was the plan even through training camp, all the way until Teddy Bridgewater went down in Minneapolis and the Vikings came calling for Sam Bradford.

It wasn't until the Bradford trade that Wentz's redshirt year became a rookie season that saw him complete more passes (379) than any rookie in NFL history.

Yeah, a lot has changed, including the expectations of the 24-year-old quarterback as he enters his sophomore season in the league.

So, what's realistic?

"Realistically," head coach Doug Pederson said after spring practices concluded, "we want to see, and I've said this before, we want to see incremental growth."

As a rookie, Wentz completed 62.4 percent of his passes for 3,782 yards, 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions - good for a passer rating of 79.3. If he steadily increases his play in 2017, there's a good chance he will become the first 4,000-yard passer in Eagles history.

What the Eagles really need out of Wentz is more consistency. He had five games during his rookie season with a passer rating of over 90, but he also had five games with a passer rating under 65.

Perhaps what will help his consistency and his growth are the Eagles' new weapons. This offseason, the team added Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith and LeGarrette Blount in free agency and drafted receivers Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson. Pederson said it will help Wentz to be able to rely on those players and the run game more in his second season.

"I don't want to keep a box on it," Pederson said. "I don't want to keep a lid on it. He thinks a lot like I do, sort of out-of-the-box thinkers, which is good to have. He's creative and just understanding the overall structure of the offense, the plays, the situational football. He'll be so much better in those areas. We'll see increases and incremental growth in his play this year just by observing that."

During the offseason, the thing most folks said was different about Wentz wasn't his mechanics - that he worked on with a private QB coach. Instead, the biggest difference was as a leader.

Sure, Wentz is considered to be a natural leader by Pederson and the coaching staff, so much so that Pederson hasn't had to direct him at all in terms of leading his teammates.

But there's a clear difference this year. Instead of being a third-string rookie preparing for a redshirt season, Wentz is the man. He even gathered his teammates in his home state of North Dakota last week for some workouts (see story).

As he enters Year 2, he's the unquestioned leader of the team.

Pederson pointed to Wentz's willingness to accept blame for mistakes as well as his excitement for teammates after they make a good play as examples of his leadership.

"I think those are steps you want to see from your young quarterback," Pederson said. "You've seen it with the greats in the game. You've seen it with the Peyton Mannings and the (Drew) Breeses and (Aaron) Rodgerses and Tom Bradys and those guys. You see it with those guys. And he's starting to apply that in his own way with the guys on the team.

"You've been around [Wentz] now for a year and you know he's got one of those sorts of infectious personalities, people sort of gravitate toward him because of his work ethic and that's what we've seen with him this spring."

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