INDIANAPOLIS - Three years ago, the Eagles were at the annual scouting combine to interview Carson Wentz and realized he was their target.
Now, they're answering questions about his personality.
While Wentz has already commented himself (see story), Wednesday's media session from the Indiana Convention Center offered executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman and head coach Doug Pederson their first opportunity to address that PhillyVoice story that characterized Wentz as "selfish" and "egotistical."
Both adamantly defended their 26-year-old franchise quarterback.
"We know Carson," Roseman said. "And we know what kind of teammate he is and we know what kind of leader he is. You know, it's ironic because as we've gone through free agency since we've had Carson, we've had so many guys who have wanted to come to Philly to play with him. None of that is any issue to us. We're incredibly excited having him as our quarterback and excited about this season."
Even Wentz admitted he can be selfish and he has been described by many as having a Type A personality. So it would be somewhat understandable if his personality would occasionally rub some of his teammates the wrong way. Everyone can't like everyone.
But Wentz has traits that a lot of great quarterbacks have, which is something I pointed out shortly after the original report surfaced. Pederson on Wednesday mentioned two of those great quarterbacks he played with.
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I learned when I was a player in this business, I played with one of the greatest players … he's a Hall of Fame quarterback in Brett Favre … and Dan Marino. You know what, they had success because you're not always going to be buddy-buddy with everybody. Do you build relationships with everybody? Yeah. But you hold everybody to a high standard, including myself.
And we're not in a feel-good business. We're obviously in a business to win games and, ultimately, a championship and that's our goal. If people get offended, I'm sorry. That's just the way it is and you can't make excuses for it, but at the same time, at the end of the day, we walk out on that football field, we're united and we play the game.
Yeah, Doug's right. This isn't a "feel-good" business. Pederson is known for his emotional intelligence and even he knows everyone won't be best friends in a locker room of 53 guys who play different positions and come from different backgrounds.
Wentz admitted that the last couple years have been tough on him emotionally and because of that, he might have neglected some of his duties as a teammate. His friend Jordan Matthews thought his teammates should have cut Wentz some slack. But, ultimately, winning is what matters. If a quarterback is a pain in the ass, it's fine as long as he's helping the team win. And as long as Wentz can stay healthy, the Eagles expect him to help them win a lot.
One of the specific parts of the story that Wentz refuted was that he bullied offensive coordinator Mike Groh. In fact, Pederson seems to really enjoy the working relationship with Wentz as they prepare for games. He called it one of his strengths; anything to help them win a game.
"We know how we all feel about Carson," Pederson said. "Carson's our quarterback. I love everything about Carson Wentz and the way he attacks his job every single day, the way he competes, the way he embraces the locker room. I don't put a lot of weight in that, lot of stock in that. It's his performance on the football field, obviously, and he understands where he's at. He understands he has to stay on the field, obviously. He knows that. But at the same time, guys really rally around him, they support him. And listen, he's one piece. He's not the entire football team. We do this thing as a team. He's a part of it."
Pederson said that a few times on Wednesday: the most important thing for Wentz is his play on the field. Sure, he's a leader and maybe there are some things he can work on as far as being the best leader and teammate he can be.
Everyone can't like everyone. Ultimately, it's all about winning.
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