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July 24, 2017

Teammates, coaches see ‘refreshed,’ ‘mature’ Carson Wentz heading into Year 2

Eagles NFL

While preparing for the second year of the Doug Pederson/Carson Wentz era in Philadelphia, one of the main messages that the Eagles head coach had for his quarterback was to take some time off. Take a vacation, go hunting, or do anything to take your mind off football.

Now firmly entrenched as the Eagles starter heading into his second NFL season, Wentz had the luxury of time for an actual offseason. Pederson’s thinking was clear: he wanted the North Dakota native to recharge his batteries after playing 16 games and taking 1,127 snaps during an up-and-down rookie year.

“Last year at this time, he had played a ton of football in college, Senior Bowl, combine, all the workouts, getting ready for camp, OTAs, the whole thing,” Pederson said. “He played a lot of football, never really had an offseason last year.

“But as he comes into this camp, he’s refreshed, he’s eager, he’s ready to go.”

The quarterbacks — Wentz, Nick Foles, and Matt McGloin — are at the NovaCare Complex a few days before the majority of the other veterans will report to Eagles camp, practicing with rookies and other selected vets. And while we’re going to need to see some game action for tangible proof of whether Wentz has improved (better footwork, less sailed passes, oh, and Alshon Jeffery might help), the Eagles at least feel like he’s in the right frame of mind to do so.

Foles, who finds himself in the rare position of having experience in Wentz’s shoes as the Eagles starting QB, has liked what he has seen from the former No. 2 overall pick.

“I’m really impressed,” Foles said. “For a second-year guy and there’s a lot of pressure and everything, he handles it really well. He does everything the right way and it’s really neat to see a guy that young and that mature at this position. So it’s pretty cool to see.”

The additions of Jeffery and Torrey Smith on the outside should provide Wentz with some legitimate targets, but the Eagles also selected a couple of receivers on Day 3 of the NFL Draft in Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson.

And Hollins, who had a pretty strong first day of practice, says Wentz isn’t slowing things down for the rookies.

He definitely expects us to know stuff and doesn’t baby us at all, but if there’s a question, he might slow it down and point to where certain things need to be,” Hollins said. “But babying us now isn’t going to help us at all, so he’s leading in the right way.”

The primary focus of the 2016 Eagles season was Wentz’s development, and if we’re being honest, that isn’t going to change much in 2017.

“That’s the exciting thing about it, he has a year of experience in this league and those are things we can build on,” Pederson said. “He’s so excited for the season."

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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