WHEN REPORTERS ask Carson Wentz about mechanics and the work he did this offseason to improve, Wentz rarely answers in detail. Good luck pinning down the Eagles' second-year quarterback on exactly what he thinks he needs to do to get better.
But quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo said Monday that Wentz isn't like that when addressing his shortcomings with coaches.
"Carson's very, very coachable . . . I never thought Carson had bad mechanics. There were certain things that we needed to just tighten up a little bit," DeFilippo said.
DeFilippo gave a more detailed outline of Wentz's work than Wentz, Eagles coach Doug Pederson, or offensive coordinator Frank Reich have done. He said the main idea was "tightening up, just his whole motion - not as much wasted motion."
When Wentz returned this spring, DeFilippo said he saw "a quarterback that held the ball a little bit higher, taking the ball back, instead of dropping the ball a little bit."
DeFilippo said it wouldn't be right to say the Eagles wanted Wentz to develop a quicker release.
"Carson's always had a quick release, in my mind. We've made, I think that release more efficient . . . by keeping the ball a little bit higher," he said.
DeFilippo's larger message was that working on mechanics isn't something you do only when you have obvious mechanical flaws.
"In 2012, I'm the quarterbacks coach of the Oakland Raiders, and I have Carson Palmer, who threw for (4,018) yards for us in 15 games. He would always say, 'Flip, watch my feet on this play. Watch my right step on this play. Watch my arm slot on this play.'
"You are in a constant work in progress, all the time on your mechanics, whether you're a second-year quarterback or you're Carson Palmer," whom DeFilippo thinks has the best mechanics in the NFL.
If Wentz has looked ragged at times in OTAs this spring, it's because he's working with nearly an entirely new group of wide receivers, DeFilippo said.
He said making that operation smooth takes "a good amount of time."
"I think we're getting through that. When you came out and saw us on the first day of OTAs, obviously, we weren't on the same page with some of those throws. It was very evident to everybody that was at practice . . . I think you've seen a lot less balls on the ground. I think you've seen our timing better, not only at the quarterback position but at the receiver position."
DeFilippo downplayed any dissatisfaction over his not being allowed to interview for the Jets' offensive coordinator job several months back.
"It's an honor" to be valued so highly by the Eagles, DeFilippo said. "I've wanted to coach in this organization for a long, long time, having been from Philadelphia (growing up in Radnor) . . . Here's my take on the whole thing: My goal this year is to be the best quarterback coach in the National Football League, improve our guys as much as I can. And then usually, things have a way of taking care of themselves."
Donnel the Lionhearted
Running-backs coach Duce Staley said he isn't worried about the thin frame of rookie running back Donnel Pumphrey, who is listed at 5-8, 176 pounds.
Pumphrey often is compared to Darren Sproles and Brian Westbrook, but Sproles is listed at 190 and Westbrook was listed at 200 pounds during his career. Both had wider hips and more muscular lower bodies than Pumphrey.
Pumphrey, a fourth-round pick from San Diego State, has dazzled with speed and elusiveness in noncontact OTAs, which segue Tuesday into a three-day minicamp, the last full-team work before training camp. But what will happen when he gets hit?
"You can ask yourself that," Staley conceded. "But you've also got to ask, 'Can they hit him?' I think there's two sides to that. He's slippery. He can make you miss, and he's fast, he can turn the corner on you. But what I think you don't know is his heart. He has the heart of a lion, I can tell you that right now. I see it in his eyes, I see it when I talk to him, I see it when he gets the ball in his hands, I see it when he makes mistakes, I see it when he does good."
Staley said Pederson has told him he wants to run the ball more this season, with LeGarrette Blount and Pumphrey joining Sproles, Wendell Smallwood and possibly Byron Marshall.
"We're not bringing these guys in here to sit 'em up on the shelf. We want to run the ball, we want to impose our will," Staley said.
Apparently, everyone showed up for the mandatory minicamp that starts Tuesday and ends Thursday, including disaffected defensive end Marcus Smith, a source said . . . Offensive-line coach Jeff Stoutland said Jason Peters, his 35-year-old left tackle "had the best year since I've been here" in 2016, because he was allowed to rest up more between games. Peters skipped OTAs this spring, which Stoutland said got Lane Johnson, Peters' eventual replacement, valuable work at left tackle.