Marcus Hayes
phillynews.com

WHEN YOU BUY a new Benz, you don't want someone else driving it.

The Eagles moved heaven, earth and Kiko Alonso to draft franchise quarterback Carson Wentz with the No. 2 overall pick in 2016. Every resource in the franchise - every sports-science strategy, every minute of coaching, every mock-up and rubdown - was commandeered to speed the development of Wentz, an FCS (I-AA) quarterback with 23 college starts and one preseason game.

Then, this winter, Wentz hired the quarterback gurus at 3DQB in Los Angeles. He went to Southern California to find a better version of himself.

The Eagles obviously were not thrilled.

You can't blame them.

Asked Tuesday what Wentz gained from his time in California, head coach Doug Pederson replied, with tepid and artificial enthusiasm:

"Well, the biggest thing I've seen, No. 1, is leadership. He's come in here ready to go. He's come in here eager, excited about the offseason, working with the new guys and the guys from last year. That's what I've seen. I've seen him come in rejuvenated."

This is faint praise. Wentz could have gotten "rejuvenated" spending time on a yacht in Miami with Odell Beckham Jr. It's true that the QB gurus, Adam Dedeaux and Tom House, incorporate the psychology of leadership and resilience, but 10 days won't turn the Wentz Wagon into Gen. Patton.

Pederson continued:

"Now he's had a chance to just kind of sit back and look at the regular season last year and make the necessary adjustments and corrections and learn from it."

Again: Thanks for nothing. Wentz could have reviewed 2016 on that same yacht as long as he had an iPad.

Usually mild-mannered, Pederson didn't hide his disdain for having strangers tinker with his meal ticket, and that is remarkable. Pederson is as emotive as a turtle.

It got better. Pederson virtually sneered when he was specifically asked if Wentz had made improvements in his mechanics:

"It's subtle. That's the thing. We're going to see it as coaches. You may not see it as a spectator watching the game. It's just, pointing his toe, getting him on his target line, things that we talk about each and every day that coach DeFilippo does a good job with. And those are the things we continue to work on."

Translation:

Stay away from my ride.

There isn't an iota of malice in Wentz's North Dakota soul, but intentional or not, seeking outside help was a slap in the face. Pederson and offensive coordinator Frank Reich, both former NFL quarterbacks, were hired in 2016 for their QB expertise. Quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo is the hottest coach on the staff.

You can understand why they weren't thrilled farming Wentz out to a couple of former baseball pitchers.

Certainly, they didn't endorse it.

In late January, when a reporter asked general manager Howie Roseman about Wentz's plans to hire 3DQB, Roseman was shocked with Wentz's plan.

As for the effect, Pederson was right; nothing much seems to have changed. On Tuesday, the first day of full-team action at OTAs, it was hard for a layman to discern any difference in Wentz's performance. Sadly, no coach was available after the workout.

So, we asked an expert.

"His footwork looked good," said right tackle Lane Johnson, who played quarterback . . . in junior college, in 2009. "He's probably more mobile than he was last year."

Thanks, Lane.

Wentz committed no real sin; just a minor slight. Professional athletes seek outside help all the time. Brian Dawkins switched offseason trainers and training styles every couple of years to shock his body into a higher level of fitness. Johnson himself trained with mixed martial artists (also, after the MMA training, Johnson was popped for PEDs; you have to be careful).

To be fair, Dedeaux and House have a wonderful reputation. Tom Brady, Matt Ryan and Drew Brees all went to 3DQB and got help. But none went after his rookie season.

Wentz seems aware at how he's made his handlers look.

"It wasn't super in-depth," Wentz said. "It was just kind of cleaning up some things from an efficiency standpoint. No mass overhauls. Nothing major. A lot of it having to do with footwork."

What sort of footwork? Dedeaux did not respond to an interview request Tuesday.

Asked if he would return to 3DQB for a summertime tuneup, Wentz replied, somewhat hesitantly, "I'm really not sure."

So, apparently, no. He seems to have learned that making your coaches look inadequate can lead to an awkward return - especially after those coaches staked their reputations on you and turned you into a rising star.

Pederson might be a quarterback whisperer, but he lacks the gift of subtlety.

Sometimes you need to read between the lines. Not with this.

You just need to read the lines.


Putting an edge o the start of the season ?