Thursday Minicamp Notebook: Wentz’s Wobble Worry
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - For the most part Carson Wentz has been as advertised, the strapping 6-foot-5 No. 2 overall pick with the skill set to die for.
And then, every once in a while, it appears ...the wobble.
Generally when you are supposed to have the Brett Favre fastball at your disposal, you don't expect to see footballs straggling to reach their destination as they sail down the field.
With Wentz, though, the wobble has been pretty consistent, generally showing itself at least a few times during each and every practice.
“I would agree, there is a little bit of a wobble," Eagles coach Doug Pederson admitted Wednesday, "but (it's) not a concern."
"A lot of those situations, a lot of those throws from a young quarterback, come from learning your system," the coach continued. "Meaning you’re a little late here, you’re a little late there, you’re trying to anticipate that throw, you’re a little off here. And so you’re processing all the information so fast, that the last thing that goes is the throw, the actual physical nature of the throw."
In other words, the blip is not a physical shortcoming, according to Pederson. It's the result of a young player trying to process information at the NFL level, coupled with the occasional breakdown in mechanics, which in Wentz's case usually comes down to footwork.
“Obviously we saw the tape in college and he can definitely spin the football," Pederson said. "And the more comfortable he gets — the other thing, too, when his feet are right, and it’s for any quarterback, Sam [Bradford], Chase [Daniel] included, when their feet are right, the ball comes out of their hand nicely and we’ve seen that from Carson as well.”
For what it's worth Wentz admitted he doesn't always have the tightest spiral at North Dakota State either but believes the consistency of his throws will improve with repetition, buying into Pederson's belief that it's a footwork issue, something that most young QBs struggle with, especially those with plus arms.
The willingness to go over the top too frequently also needs to be watched because forcing the football down the field at the NFL level could result in some significant interception numbers.
“There’s a fine line," Wentz admitted. "There’s a time to be aggressive and I think that’s something I like to bring. I like to push the ball down the field when it’s there, but there’s also time to just take the underneath one. That comes with learning the offense. Again, that’s kind of those fine detail things as to when you should attack and when you shouldn’t. ...Part of it’s my nature, but I need to walk that fine line.”
Interestingly, on the final day of the Eagles minicamp, the wobble did not show itself but the rookie decision-making did when Wentz pumped the football three times during red-zone work and tried to force it into a tight window when middle linebacker Jordan Hicks saw the telegraph and intercepted it.
One thing the Eagles aren't concerned with is, however, is Wentz's willingness to work and correct these kinds of mistakes.
While Thursday marks a six-week vacation for some of the veterans, Wentz will be hard at work training his mind and body in both Philadelphia and North Dakota as well as the one-week sojourn he will make to San Diego where he will join starter Sam Bradford and a lot of the skill-position players for personal workouts.
THURSDAY MINICAMP NOTES:
-The Eagles cut their final minicamp practice short by about an hour or so to work on some conditioning drills.
-Eagles coach Doug Pederson confirmed that rookie free agent defensive tackle Connor Wujciak hurt his right thumb and had a pin inserted.
"He'll be okay and ready for camp," the coach said.
-With Nolan Carroll back in the mix and taking some first-team reps in the nickel, Eric Rowe was relegated to the second unit with rookie Jalen Mills. Leodis McKelvin continues to be the No. 1 corner as Pederson alluded to before practice.
"Leodis has probably been the guy that's really stood out the most to me," the coach claimed. "He's a guy that it seems like he's making plays quite a bit, knocking PBUs [pass break ups] and getting his hands on balls and doing the things that you expect from a veteran corner. He’s a smart guy, very athletic and [we’re] excited for the upcoming season with him."
As we head to training camp, it's looks like Carroll and Ron Brooks have a leg up in the battle for the other starting corner spot and the loser will likely man the nickel. Rowe doesn't have the versatility of those two and is considered only an outside corner so he would have to win the starting RC job outright to garner consistent playing time.
-The throw of the day came from Chase Daniel, who hit Josh Huff in stride for a TD on a deep out to the corner of the end zone, beating both Mills and safety Chris Maragos in coverage.
Huff was back in action after missing Wednesday's session with an illness.
-Rookie free agent linebacker Myke Tavarres has the play of the day on defense, shadowing tight end M.J. McFarland in coverage and high-pointing the football near the back of the end zone. He didn't make the catch but it was textbook work by a player not used to drooping back into coverage.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen