Pederson: Wentz can lead; ‘he’s got it in his DNA’

NFL

PHOENIX — Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson believes Carson Wentz can grow as a teammate by being more “vulnerable” with his peers, a key part of the maturation process that he saw greats like Dan Marino and Brett Favre go through firsthand.

“First of all, I think everybody can be a better teammate. I can be a better coach. I think being a better teammate would just be sometimes being a little more vulnerable, being a little more accessible,” Pederson said at the owners meetings Tuesday. “You’re obviously committed to your craft, to developing your skill, but it’s like you want to walk across the aisle and talk to the other side. And that’s all part of the maturation process and the growth process, and it’s something you learn through time.

“I watched it with some of the greatest quarterbacks I’ve ever played with, I saw it from Dan Marino, I saw it from Brett Favre. For them to become better teammates, they approached the entire team and take on that personality, and then people follow. Carson’s got that in him, he’s got it in his DNA, and that’s what we’re excited about.”

Wentz acknowledged he “maybe wasn’t the greatest teammate at times” last season as he battled multiple injuries, worked separately from the group while he rehabbed and dealt with the disappointment of having to once again watch from the sideline as the team had success.

This was in response to a critical article of him on PhillyVoice in which sources described him as selfish and egotistical. Wentz rebutted multiple details in the story but allowed that he is a work in progress. A host of teammates took to social media in his defense.

“It is harder when you’re not with your guys like he was a year ago because he was rehabbing and he’s not out there, so it’s hard,” Pederson said of Wentz. “But the more now he interjects himself with the team, that’s what you’ll see. It is difficult because you want to be out there with your guys and you want to be competing with your guys, and when you’re not, it’s hard.”

Pederson said Wentz is in “a good spot” mentally and is feeling good physically as he recovers from a stress fracture in his back. Pederson said the team is optimistic that Wentz will be ready for OTAs.

“He and I are tight. We’re married together, too. Part of my job is to help all the players on the team become better teammates,” Pederson said. “I’m looking forward to this season, working with him again, and getting this thing going.”

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