If you ask Carson Wentz, there’s really only one stat that mattered in 2016.
“I will always hold myself to high expectations and at the end of the day we finished 7-9,” the quarterback said. “That’s not good enough for anybody in this building. We all need to make strides so we can be playing into January.”
He’s being a bit humble.
Wentz broke the NFL rookie record for completions (379) in 2016 and also finished his rookie campaign with the fourth-most passing yards (3,782) in Eagles single-season history — also posting the fourth best mark among rookies in NFL history. He was the first Eagles quarterback to start all 16 regular-season games since Donovan McNabb did it in 2008.
And he did it in the most unusual of circumstances. In addition to his surprising ascention to starter with eight days’ notice, he barely played last preseason and had to learn a brand new playbook as he adjusted to life in the NFL.
A year later and he is much wiser and better off than he was as a wide-eyed first-timer.
“I’m excited,” Wentz said. “The mental side of things, being confortable with the environment and knowing what to expect, being able to take playbook knowledge to the next level.”
Wentz says he rested this offseason while also staying fit, working on his footwork and a few minor things, and staying fresh as the team reports for voluntary workouts this week. He’ll enter the offseason with a completely new quarterbacks room with the departure of de facto coach on the field Chase Daniel. In his place is former Eagles starter Nick Foles and former Penn Stater Matt McGloin.
“I have a lot of confidence in Nick, everybody has good things to say about him and now Matt coming in, we have a really good quarterbacks room, some smart individuals in there,” Wentz said. “Obviously we will be missing Chase, he knew Doug [Pederson]’s offense and was a professional and veteran.”
In 2017, with just one year of action under his belt, it sounds like Wentz has become the professional and the veteran. It would be impressive for Wentz to post better numbers in 2017, but he’s not focused on that.
“Making the playoffs, winning the division and just seeing what happens,” Wentz said. “The No. 1 goal is winning the East, that’s what we set our sights on but we have long way to go until then.”