The Eagles made it no secret this offseason, they want to help Carson Wentz become a superstar.
Giving him shiny new weapons like Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith and LeGarrette Blount is a good first step — but the hard work to improve on an impressive rookie season is Wentz's alone. And one of Wentz's favorite targets, Jordan Matthews, says it's time to let the man do his job.
"I think he can make a big jump," Matthews said after practice at the team's first OTA Tuesday. "There are so many people putting crazy expectations on Carson. You know I am one of the biggest believers in him but I don't want to put those sound bites out there, just let the man work."
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One of the biggest differences Wentz's teammates see in him this preseason as opposed to last — when he was fresh off being taken second overall in the NFL draft — is his confidence and leadership.
"He's come in here ready to go," Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said. "He's come in here eager, excited about the offseason, working with the new guys and the guys from last year. That's what I've seen. I've seen him sort of come in rejuvenated. Last year at this time, he had played a bunch of football. He was coming off his world tour. He had just been drafted. Now he's had a chance to just kind of sit back and look at the regular season last year and make the necessary adjustments and corrections and learn from it."
Newcomer Jeffery has built an impressive NFL pedigree during his time in Chicago and he can't help but be impressed by the 24-year-old's natural leadership.
"He is a great leader," Jeffery said. "He's the first one in the building and may be the last one to leave. "He hustles on the field, off the field."
Wentz is always outgoing and always outspoken but humbly credits his teammates and the atmosphere in the locker room with encouraging his natural inclination to lead the team.
"The continuity and chemistry is important," he said, "knowing what guys are going to do when things break down. It's nice to have those guys but this is the NFL and things are always changing and we have to continue to grow with the new guys."
Always the optimist, Wentz added: "I love the guys in that locker room and I think we have the chance to do something special."