Earlier this week, an Eagles skill position player was asked to give his initial reaction upon hearing that Sam Bradford had been traded to the Minnesota Vikings eight days before the start of the regular season.
"My reaction? What the heck!" the player replied.
Although he didn't say heck.
It was a shock to the system that a veteran at a position of leadership would be removed from the equation after a spring and summer at the helm, replaced by a 23-year-old out of North Dakota State who missed the bulk of the preseason with a couple of broken ribs. While there seemed to be unanimous faith in the abilities of the rookie QB, the circumstances surrounding his rapid ascent led to some uneasiness.
"From a veteran on the team, obviously you trade your starting quarterback a week before the season opener, it's a little bit of a concern," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "But I think everybody had a lot of confidence in Carson knowing the talent that he does have and what we've been able to see since he got here."
Wentz hadn't worked with the first team until Monday, increasing the degree of difficulty as the Eagles switched gears and began cramming for the Browns. But the QB and his receivers were in sync on Sunday. Wentz went 22-of-37 for 278 yards, including a pair of touchdown tosses that hit Jordan Matthews and then Nelson Agholor in stride.
“It’s been cool, man,” Matthews said of his developing relationship with Wentz, which has had to come largely off the field to this point. “I really like music; I don’t really get into watching TV and stuff. So I was like, ‘Bro, what do y’all listen to in North Dakota because I don’t know of any rappers from North Dakota. So what’s your favorite album?’ And he was like, ‘Jason Aldean.’ So I was like, alright, if I’m going to learn this guy’s mindset, I’ve got to listen to his music. So I listened to the whole album. And it was pretty good, it was pretty good.”
In return, Matthews insisted that Wentz listen to a Kanye West album.
“Kanye’s good, too,” Wentz said. “I still like my country, though, first.”
While everyone is riding high and feeling in rhythm following a good showing against the Browns, Matthews, Wentz and several others cautioned against making too much of one game. There will be rough patches ahead, and that surely applies to the young quarterback.
Veteran tackle Jason Peters, however, did not throw any cold water on the growing hype in Philadelphia. He predicted it will only get better from this point forward for Wentz, who clearly has made an impression on him in the early going.
“I said he can throw it just as good as [Aaron] Rodgers on the run, on the move. He's got good release, he's real accurate on the run," Peters said. "That's who he reminds me of, is Rodgers when he gets to moving, the way he darts the ball on the run.
"He has it. All we've got to do is keep the pocket clean, and he's going to throw it to the open guy. Point blank. He's going to eat 'em up."
While that remains to be seen, it’s safe to say that the Eagles’ locker room is feeling better about the state of quarterback position after seeing the rookie in action Sunday.