Browns Believe Wentz Has Slow Release
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - There is a fine line between success and failure at the position Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich called the most difficult in professional sports on Thursday.
And maybe that explains how one organization can believe Carson Wentz is a future franchise quarterback and another thinks the former North Dakota State star will never be a top-20-level signal caller, nevermind a superstar.
Cleveland Browns chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta is on record saying his team does not envision Wentz as a star quarterback down the road, which is why the Browns shipped the No. 2 pick in this year's draft to Philadelphia for a plethora of picks.
On Thursday, Browns rookie defensive end Carl Nassib, a Penn State product, may have let the cat out of the bag as to why Hue Jackson and Co. aren't as high on Wentz as Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson.
"He can run, he has good mobility, and he's got a good arm," the 6-foot-7 third-round pick said before countering, "His release is a little slow, so we plan to take advantage of that.”
Throughout training camp and during his only preseason action, Wentz, like most young QBs, did on occasion hold onto the football a little too long. So, making sharp and quick decisions when the real bullets are firing is something to keep an eye on.
"We've worked on his feet. We've worked on a little bit of the upper body mechanics. We don't feel like it's a slow release," Pederson said. "It can be long at times. He's such a long guy; it can be like [49ers QB] Colin Kaepernick long at times. But anticipation [and] throwing the ball on time can help that process [and] get the ball out of his hand fast. The design of the play can get the ball out of his hand fast. It's nothing that we've really spent a lot of time addressing with him, more than just working on his feet and his mechanics from his lower body."
Nassib, one of 17 rookies on the Browns’ opening day roster, figures to mix in as a five-technique in Ray Horton’s 3-4 defense, which is likely going to be a bit more aggressive than usual because Wentz is not only a rookie making his first NFL start but he missed significant time in the preseason with two fractured ribs.
"I think they're going to keep things basic for him, but I'm just going to go out there and play as fast as I can and pressure him as much as I can, make him uncomfortable," Nassib said. “..."He's a dual threat, but I heard he's a little banged up right now, so I doubt he'll be running the ball very much."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen