Last year, Carson Wentz went from a second overall pick — expecting to learn on the sidelines and slowly integrate into an NFL offense — to starting all 16 games with the Philadelphia Eagles and posting impressive numbers on an otherwise lackluster offense.
Eagles coaches know there's nothing better for the development of a young quarterback than actually playing with the big boys consistently.
"Carson got to play a lot of football last year, which is a huge plus," Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich said before the Eagles' final OTA work out Monday.
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This year, he's been practicing nearly nonstop since 2016's last snap. In addition to working out with other players throughout the offseason, he's also seen a private quarterback coach to work on footwork and mechanics. Will that make him better in 2017?
"As coaches we would have loved to give him a few weeks off to rest and then get him into the lab to get to work," Reich said, recalling how players used to spent much less time working in the offseason. "It's fine. It's a different era. You can't do that anymore. Carson has an itch to get better."
In addition to doing extra homework and getting real-life game experience, Wentz is also among the best practice players on the Eagles roster. Reich said he expects Wentz to get the lion's share of the practice reps this spring and summer, in contrast to splitting them fairly evenly last year. And more practice can make Wentz more perfect.
"The quarterbacks, and this goes for all of the players, you've got to put yourself in the moment," Reich said. "You have to be able to find a way to be in a drill and pretend it's the Super Bowl. You can't have contact all the time — you have to, as a player, get in a drill and make it feel like it's the Super Bowl. The guys who can do that can get the maximum benefit out of their reps and Carson is one of those guys."