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Schnepf: Fans should be patient with their expectations for Carson Wentz

FARGO -- Randy Hedberg, the quarterbacks coach who has tutored Carson Wentz the past two years at North Dakota State, remembers his first game as an NFL quarterback back in 1977. It was in Philadelphia--where, today, expectations are high for Wen...

Apr 29, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles first round pick quarterback Carson Wentz during his introduction media conference at NovaCare Complex Auditorium. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 29, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles first round pick quarterback Carson Wentz during his introduction media conference at NovaCare Complex Auditorium. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

FARGO -- Randy Hedberg, the quarterbacks coach who has tutored Carson Wentz the past two years at North Dakota State, remembers his first game as an NFL quarterback back in 1977. It was in Philadelphia--where, today, expectations are high for Wentz to become the Eagles franchise quarterback.
"It was pretty intimidating," Hedberg said, recalling his first start as a rookie with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That's not surprising. Sports Illustrated magazine once conducted a poll of NFL players in which they selected Philadelphia Eagles fans as the most intimidating in the league. Their fervor and loyalty is unmatched--with 70,000 reportedly on the team's waiting list for season tickets. These fans aren't used to losing, witnessing only seven losing seasons since 1988. Then again, these fans have never experienced a Super Bowl championship, losing to Oakland in 1980 and to New England in 2004. They haven't experienced a real championship since 1960, when the Eagles won the NFL title--seven years before the first Super Bowl was played. These hungry fans are starving for something big to happen. So it stands to reason, they are expecting big things from Wentz--someone they probably never even heard of three months ago before the Carson Wentz hype train picked up enough steam that the Eagles decided to trade away five draft picks to acquire Cleveland's No. 2 pick in last week's NFL Draft. As one Philadelphia sports columnist wrote: "This will be forever known as the Carson Wentz draft to Eagles fans, just as the 1998 draft will be forever known as the Manning draft to Colts fans and the Leaf draft to Chargers fans." Peyton Manning, the No. 1 pick, eventually won two Super Bowls and is a no-brainer Hall of Famer. Ryan Leaf, the No. 2 pick, is one of the biggest quarterback busts in NFL history. So those diehard Eagles fans can't help but ask: "Will Wentz be a blessing or a curse?" "It may take a few years for us to figure out exactly what we did this weekend," Eagles director of football operations Howie Roseman said, referring to the NFL Draft. It may be asking for the impossible, but Eagles fans--and North Dakota State fans for that matter--should exercise as much patience as possible when it comes to expectations for Wentz. If recent history reveals anything, it takes time for quarterbacks to adjust to the NFL--even for a great one like the aforementioned Manning. If there is one statistic that measures a quarterback the best, it is his touchdown passes-to-interceptions ratio. A good ratio is 2-to-1 with an elite ratio over 4-to-1. Tom Brady had the best ratio ever of 9-to-1 one season, while Aaron Rodgers is the NFL's all-time career leader with a ratio of 3.95-to-1. Well, in his rookie season, Peyton Manning had 26 touchdown passes but also threw 28 interceptions. That's not a good ratio. Leaf, who lasted only three years in the NFL, had two touchdown passes with 15 interceptions. Of the 17 quarterbacks who were drafted No. 1 or No. 2 since that 1998 season, only eight had more touchdown passes than interceptions during their rookie seasons. Then there is the passer rating, which is calculated using passing attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns and interceptions. The passer rating scale ranges from 0 to 158.3. Aaron Rodgers has the highest career passer rating (106) and the highest season passer rating (122.5). Only four of the 17 quarterbacks who were drafted No. 1 or No. 2 since 1998 had passer ratings better than 80. Take a look at some of these quarterbacks who are still playing who had rookie passer ratings below 63: Michael Vick 62.7, Matthew Stafford 61, Eli Manning 55.4 and Alex Smith 40.8. "No matter what level of college you play, the learning curve is big," said Brooks Bollinger, the only other North Dakota high school quarterback who was an NFL Draft pick. "You kind of buckle up and hold on for that first year. You are just keeping your head above water. It seems like after that first year, you get a chance to take a deep breath." Bollinger, a Grand Forks Central High School graduate who played at the University of Wisconsin, was a sixth-round draft pick of the New York Jets in 2003. Bollinger says Wentz not only has the size to succeed in the NFL, he is coming from a pro-style offense used at NDSU. "He has played in pro style sets with his hands under the center," Bollinger said. "Many times, you see many quarterbacks who have never taken a snap from center in college. That's kind of a big deal ... the more things you are comfortable with, the faster you pick it up." Some of the best rookie quarterback performances have come in the last six years with the likes of Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III (who has the highest rookie passing rating of all time at 102.4), Andrew Luck, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. So yes, it is possible Wentz can shine his rookie season. "On the positive side, he doesn't have to worry about class anymore," said Bollinger, a financial planner in Minneapolis who will start his first season as the Cretin Derham Hall High School football coach this fall. "This is his job. It's what you do. You are freed up to do this every day. It takes some time but I think he has as strong of a foundation to work off of as anybody." If the Philadelphia brass get its way, it will groom Wentz behind Sam Bradford--a No. 1 pick in 2010 who had a passer rating of 76.5 his rookie season. But Bradford, seemingly upset over what the Eagles spent a lot to get another quarterback, wants to be traded. Meanwhile, Eagles fans are hoping recent history with their quarterback situation doesn't repeat itself. The Michael Vick-to-Nick Foles and the Donovan McNabb-to-Kevin Kolb transitions certainly did not produce the championship that they have been pining for. So how will the Bradford to Wentz transition unfold? Stay tuned ... and be patient.FARGO -- Randy Hedberg, the quarterbacks coach who has tutored Carson Wentz the past two years at North Dakota State, remembers his first game as an NFL quarterback back in 1977. It was in Philadelphia--where, today, expectations are high for Wentz to become the Eagles franchise quarterback.
"It was pretty intimidating," Hedberg said, recalling his first start as a rookie with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.That's not surprising. Sports Illustrated magazine once conducted a poll of NFL players in which they selected Philadelphia Eagles fans as the most intimidating in the league. Their fervor and loyalty is unmatched--with 70,000 reportedly on the team's waiting list for season tickets.These fans aren't used to losing, witnessing only seven losing seasons since 1988. Then again, these fans have never experienced a Super Bowl championship, losing to Oakland in 1980 and to New England in 2004. They haven't experienced a real championship since 1960, when the Eagles won the NFL title--seven years before the first Super Bowl was played.These hungry fans are starving for something big to happen. So it stands to reason, they are expecting big things from Wentz--someone they probably never even heard of three months ago before the Carson Wentz hype train picked up enough steam that the Eagles decided to trade away five draft picks to acquire Cleveland's No. 2 pick in last week's NFL Draft.As one Philadelphia sports columnist wrote: "This will be forever known as the Carson Wentz draft to Eagles fans, just as the 1998 draft will be forever known as the Manning draft to Colts fans and the Leaf draft to Chargers fans."Peyton Manning, the No. 1 pick, eventually won two Super Bowls and is a no-brainer Hall of Famer. Ryan Leaf, the No. 2 pick, is one of the biggest quarterback busts in NFL history.So those diehard Eagles fans can't help but ask: "Will Wentz be a blessing or a curse?""It may take a few years for us to figure out exactly what we did this weekend," Eagles director of football operations Howie Roseman said, referring to the NFL Draft.It may be asking for the impossible, but Eagles fans--and North Dakota State fans for that matter--should exercise as much patience as possible when it comes to expectations for Wentz. If recent history reveals anything, it takes time for quarterbacks to adjust to the NFL--even for a great one like the aforementioned Manning.If there is one statistic that measures a quarterback the best, it is his touchdown passes-to-interceptions ratio. A good ratio is 2-to-1 with an elite ratio over 4-to-1. Tom Brady had the best ratio ever of 9-to-1 one season, while Aaron Rodgers is the NFL's all-time career leader with a ratio of 3.95-to-1.Well, in his rookie season, Peyton Manning had 26 touchdown passes but also threw 28 interceptions. That's not a good ratio. Leaf, who lasted only three years in the NFL, had two touchdown passes with 15 interceptions.Of the 17 quarterbacks who were drafted No. 1 or No. 2 since that 1998 season, only eight had more touchdown passes than interceptions during their rookie seasons.Then there is the passer rating, which is calculated using passing attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns and interceptions. The passer rating scale ranges from 0 to 158.3. Aaron Rodgers has the highest career passer rating (106) and the highest season passer rating (122.5).Only four of the 17 quarterbacks who were drafted No. 1 or No. 2 since 1998 had passer ratings better than 80. Take a look at some of these quarterbacks who are still playing who had rookie passer ratings below 63: Michael Vick 62.7, Matthew Stafford 61, Eli Manning 55.4 and Alex Smith 40.8."No matter what level of college you play, the learning curve is big," said Brooks Bollinger, the only other North Dakota high school quarterback who was an NFL Draft pick. "You kind of buckle up and hold on for that first year. You are just keeping your head above water. It seems like after that first year, you get a chance to take a deep breath."Bollinger, a Grand Forks Central High School graduate who played at the University of Wisconsin, was a sixth-round draft pick of the New York Jets in 2003. Bollinger says Wentz not only has the size to succeed in the NFL, he is coming from a pro-style offense used at NDSU."He has played in pro style sets with his hands under the center," Bollinger said. "Many times, you see many quarterbacks who have never taken a snap from center in college. That's kind of a big deal ... the more things you are comfortable with, the faster you pick it up."Some of the best rookie quarterback performances have come in the last six years with the likes of Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III (who has the highest rookie passing rating of all time at 102.4), Andrew Luck, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota.So yes, it is possible Wentz can shine his rookie season."On the positive side, he doesn't have to worry about class anymore," said Bollinger, a financial planner in Minneapolis who will start his first season as the Cretin Derham Hall High School football coach this fall. "This is his job. It's what you do. You are freed up to do this every day. It takes some time but I think he has as strong of a foundation to work off of as anybody."If the Philadelphia brass get its way, it will groom Wentz behind Sam Bradford--a No. 1 pick in 2010 who had a passer rating of 76.5 his rookie season. But Bradford, seemingly upset over what the Eagles spent a lot to get another quarterback, wants to be traded.Meanwhile, Eagles fans are hoping recent history with their quarterback situation doesn't repeat itself. The Michael Vick-to-Nick Foles and the Donovan McNabb-to-Kevin Kolb transitions certainly did not produce the championship that they have been pining for.So how will the Bradford to Wentz transition unfold? Stay tuned ... and be patient.

Related Topics: CARSON WENTZ
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