ESPN Article Says Carson Wentz Became “Irritated” With Simplified Offensive Approach

Photo credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Can Philadelphia Eagles coach Nick Sirianni fix Carson Wentz?

That’s the title of a new story dropped by Tim McManus over at ESPN.

Good read, this one. T-Mac presents us with some nuggets about the Carson Wentz/Doug Pederson relationship, and the passage with information that I don’t believe has been reported yet is right here:

“Given Wentz’s high football IQ, Pederson gave him more and more influence over the offense. He built in a “take it” system he compared to the one quarterback Peyton Manning used to run, where Wentz would get to the line of scrimmage and call out a play based off what he saw pre-snap. Wentz noted at the time he would go into Pederson’s office upwards of three times a day during the week to talk game planning, asking him, “What do you think about this idea?” and “How do you feel about this?”

While that cognitive ability and sense of ownership is what teams look for in a franchise quarterback, it has been taken to the extreme at times. Coaches have had difficulty convincing Wentz he doesn’t have all the answers. He is often reluctant to play within the system, according to sources. That task of harnessing him became more difficult when Reich and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, who played the good cop/bad cop roles with great effectiveness, were poached from the staff following the team’s 2017 championship run, leaving fewer voices that could keep Wentz in check.

A confluence of circumstances brought the situation to a head this past season. Wentz became irritated, a source said, when the freedom he is accustomed to having over the offense was largely stripped from him as injuries and inefficiency forced the coaches to simplify the approach. When he lost control, his faith in Pederson’s playcalling was believed to be lost with it.”

Good stuff. Makes a lot of sense. It’s been widely reported that Carson is a Type A personality, and when you surround those people with the right folks, the results can be fantastic (see: 2017). When the setup is not working, the results can be disastrous (see: 2020). Sprinkle in myriad injuries and a lesser talent pool and you become a four-win football team.

Tim makes a good point later in the story, asking how Wentz would respond to a 39-year-old, first-time head coach. Does he have more or less respect for somebody who, unlike Doug, was not a professional quarterback and did not play in the league? Do you listen to that kind of person?

The funny thing about these “Wentz is stubborn” takes is that people seem surprised by this, as if a professional athlete is just going to automatically defer. Fact of the matter is that most people, in all walks of life, would prefer to do things their way. They identify a process and approach that they like, and want to execute it without interference. Look at the way Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan went about their business. We lionize Type A athletes all the time.

Likewise, you’re probably not in 100% lockstep with your bosses and co-workers, but you begrudgingly suck it up and get the job done in a way that satisfies all parties. And if you don’t like it, you don’t work with those people anymore, and find somewhere else to work.

That’s not so easy when you’re locked into a big-money contract with a professional sports team, but the point is that Carson’s reported selfishness shouldn’t come as a surprise. If you were the Eagles quarterback, you’d probably have your own vision of what works and what doesn’t. You’d have a preference for certain plays and personnel. The onus is, however, on you to make it work within the coaching and personnel setup.

It’s called compromise.

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