April 20, 2017
Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski took the time to chat with PhillyVoice, speaking on a variety of subjects, most notably on Carson Wentz, and the 2017 NFL Draft.
Here, we'll share Jaworski's thoughts on Wentz, and we'll cover his thoughts on draft prospects in a separate installment.
Q: A season ago, Carson Wentz was the No. 3 quarterback up until a week before the start of the season, and then bang, they trade Bradford and in an instant, he’s the starter. This year he’ll have a full offseason knowing that he’s “the guy.” Are there advantages and disadvantages to that?
Jaws: I think it’s more advantageous to be ‘the man.’ As I’ve gotten to know Carson, I think he has the temperament to be able to handle it. Last year when you consider everything that happened – he’s drafted and he was going to be the third quarterback behind Chase Daniel and Sam Bradford, he plays one preseason game, he gets hurt, he gets no other preseason games, and then, ‘Oh, you’re the starter.’ That’s amazing, and to start out 3-0 and to play as well as he did is even more remarkable.
There’s never a rookie that’s ready to come into the National Football League and be a starter. There really isn’t. Some guys come in, they play well, but I think if you ask every single one of them after maybe three or four years and they’ll go, ‘Oh my God, I was clueless my rookie year.’ I got to know all these guys, and you think you got it, you know what you’re doing, but as you move further along in your career you realize how little you knew.
And there is an advantage to that sometimes. Sometimes what you don’t know is better. You go out there and play and all of a sudden you start thinking too much. I’ll give Frank Reich and John DeFilippo credit. There weren’t extravagant game plans. There were a lot of repetitive plays with formation variation. They didn’t give him the full playbook and game plans, so I thought they did a really good job of spoon feeding him along.
Q: Do you see mechanical issues with Wentz, and if so, what are they?
Jaws: Every quarterback that comes into this league needs to refine every detail of his game. Every quarterback needs to be more accurate, and I think it’s an area where Carson has to improve.
You don’t have to sit at NFL Films and watch tape after tape after tape. If you watch his games, he had trouble with the seam route. He had a tendency to have the ball sail on him. There are certain mechanical things that he’s going to have to adjust to. Drive the football. When you’re throwing those seam routes – and I break down these quarterbacks doing my ESPN draft work – that firm touch throw is the toughest throw to make on a consistent basis. That’s the one that every quarterback, from Peyton Manning to Tom Brady to Joe Montana, they had to work at when they got in this league. It’s a throw that Carson struggled with last year. So it’s an area, with repetition, that he will get better at.
As far as his stroke, I said it when I was in Fargo last year. He’s got to quicken up his stroke. He has a tendency – not all the time – but occasionally to drop the ball and force an elongated delivery. He’s got to improve on that, and I’m sure John DeFilippo and Frank Reich will be spending time in the offseason quickening up that stroke. This is the time to work on those types of things.
Just think of Randall Cunningham when he came to Philadelphia. He was like Byron Leftwich. He was my teammate, my roommate. I knew what the guy was. (Former Eagles quarterback coach) Doug Scovil comes in, works with that stroke, and Randall compacted that stroke to get it a lot quicker, and Carson will do the same. He’ll be much better this year than last year because he’ll work at his game.
I think footwork is always something you have to work on. I can remember being on Monday Night Football and talking to Peyton Manning. He starts from square one, with the grip of the football. He’d get under center, and get the center exchange. The basic fundamentals that you have to go back to, you have to be fundamentally sound in this league to be consistently good.
Q: Mechanics aside, what does Wentz need to improve on heading into year two?
Jaws: I think the Eagles have clearly made the move with him that clearly, he’s the guy. We all saw that. He’s the guy that’s going to be the quarterback of the Eagles for 10 years. Now, surround him with proper talent. I think they understood that and they have done that. You get an Alshon Jeffery, you get a Torrey Smith. They’re a better football team today with those two moves than they were when they walked off the field last year.
Those are the things that get me excited. They know they have the guy, they know they have the long-term guy, let’s surround him with quality football players. To me, that’s the biggest thing that happened this offseason.
Q: With those moves you mentioned, Carson said the Eagles have the pieces in place to win the division. Do you agree?
Jaws: I’m surprised that’s all he said. I may sound sarcastic. Unfortunately, when you show this great confidence and bravado, people think you’re bragging or something. When I played, I expected to go 16-0. I expected to win the Super Bowl. Everyone is going to say that’s unrealistic, but you have to develop a mentality that you’re not going to get beat.
I remember conversations with Dick Vermeil, guys like Chuck Knox, Don Shula, guys that I worked with, and you always get asked a lot of questions, and you give answers. They’d say, ‘Can you go 9-7?’ You’d go, ‘Yeah, I think we’re a 9-7 team.’ And I remember Dick Vermeil saying, ‘Well tell us the seven we’re going to lose, and we won’t show up.’
You shouldn’t even be thinking that. You should be thinking, ‘Our goal is to win every game,’ and always the Vince Lombardi trophy. As a quarterback, you must develop that kind of mentality. We all know that’s probably not realistic, you’re not going to win every game, you’re not going to be the league MVP, but you almost have to condition yourself to be that kind of player, to have that kind of approach.
Jaworski is the CEO of Ron Jaworski Golf Managment, which owns and operates five courses in South Jersey and one in Downington. His reigning Arena Football League champion Philadelphia Soul play their home opener at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 29th, just after Day 3 of the 2017 NFL Draft wraps up.
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