Mandatory Minicamp is officially underway for the Philadelphia Eagles and for fans, there’s plenty to be excited about. While eyes will naturally veer to see of the most exciting battles on the roster, there’s one area of the team that continues to get stronger by the day.
It’s hard not to be bombarded with footage of Carson Wentz these days. At every practice, the face of the franchise is met with a flurry of cameras who are keen to film his participation in practice. How is he moving? Is he competing in seven-on-seven’s? Daily reminders of just how rapidly Wentz is progressing is a breath of fresh air, but when you examine the situation a little closer, you see just how remarkable the situation really is.
The Eagles lost former quarterback coach, John DeFilippo, to the Minnesota Vikings this offseason. Assistant coach, Press Taylor would be the man to receive the promotion and fill shoes that many would struggle to fill. ‘Flip’ was instrumental in the growth of Carson Wentz, but Taylor hasn’t wasted any time in making his mark.
“…his reports are thorough, they’re detailed. They’re well thought out. He has a plan that’s part of my philosophy as coaches, if you’re going to put something together, let it be well thought out and put some thought into it and have good reasons for putting it together.” Doug Pederson said of his quarterback coach yesterday. “Some things I’ve asked him to do, and he’s done a great job. He’s smart. He studies. He understands the position.
Last year he did a nice job, and this will be a new role for him, obviously. He’s done a great job this spring. He’s embraced it and looking forward to the season.”
That’s where it all starts for the Eagles. A strong quarterback coach to lead the room has been integral since Pederson’s arrival and as he enters year 3 as an NFL Head Coach, it may be more important than ever. The Eagles are still in limbo with regards to the week one status of Carson Wentz and will be for quite some time. On one hand, they have a Super Bowl MVP who led the franchise to greatness, picking up where one of the hottest hands in the game left off after he went down with a horrible injury in week 14.
For Carson Wentz, one would have to assume there would be a drive greater than ever. After watching the season he worked so hard to build get ripped from his clutches and turned into a historic run by Nick Foles, the competitor inside him would assuringly be burning to get back out on the field and reclaim what was rightfully his.
For the Super Bowl winning Nick Foles however, there’s a similar drive. After being named Super Bowl MVP and expressing a desire to start, Foles was gracefully handed a pay-rise by Howie Roseman and with the potential remaining that Foles will be starting in week one as Wentz rehabs his ACL, his hunger to prove himself worthy of a starting role elsewhere will be greater than ever.
We haven’t even touched on Nate Sudfeld, who now has former Packers QB, Joe Callahan breathing down his neck. This has pushed Sudfeld to an exceptional offseason so far, earning grand praise from peers and coaches alike. The QB3 role is hanging in the balance and everybody knows that Nick Foles could be looking at a long-term future elsewhere next season…making the projected promotion an opportunity that neither player can afford to miss.
So how do you control such a fiery quarterback room? By channelling that passion and determination into bettering one another and the team around them.
“I just think there are no egos involved.” The Eagles Head Coach told reporters on Tuesday. “They’re in this thing together. Both support each other. Nick supported Carson during the season last year, and then Carson turned around and supported Nick at the end of the year. Their relationship has carried over into this spring and summer, and it’s really good. I see them working in the classroom. I see them working on the field. They keep talking. They want to get better individually. They want to get our team better. And so it’s been a really good, really good dynamic between those two.”
There’s no bitterness, no jealousy, no selfishness. Just two, highly talented quarterbacks who want to push their team to a second consecutive Super Bowl. People wonder why the Eagles invested so heavily at the quarterback position when they first signed Chase Daniel and then last offseason with Nick Foles. But we’re finally beginning to see the fruit of Howie Roseman’s visionary labor.
There’s much more to quarterbacking than just having ‘the guy’. It’s about having the complete picture. A backup plan who is more than just a clipboard holder, a starter who is a leader inside the film room as he is on the field. A developmental arm who will be learning from the aforementioned in the hopes of one day assuming that very role.
It’s taken time, but there may be no greater example of a quarterback dynamic in the NFL. This is everything a quarterback room should be and more…and it’s a large reason why this team are favorably positioned to push on for a Super Bowl repeat.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports