Once you move past the awkward and grating use of “takes accountability” and “took accountability” to describe someone owning up to their professional failures, the thing that resonates from this ESPN story about Carson Wentz acknowledging to his teammates that he is a shitty quarterback is what it says about the collective psyche of the Philadelphia Eagles. It describes a team that has run out of regular, sports-as-sports ways of understanding why it sucks mondo ass all the time, and has moved onto the sorts of solutions you bring home from a weekend counseling retreat.
“The first step is admitting where you’re bad at, and that’s what I love that Carson did. When we talked to the team, he knew he had to own some of the stuff that he’s been doing, and he let us know that he’s working his butt off to make sure that he starts doing a lot of stuff better. And that’s all people want to hear is for you to take ownership of yours and we can move on. That’s how you build relationships: taking ownership of what you do.”Eagles DE Brandon Graham, via ESPN
Ah yes, that famous first step of winning football games, before you get to throwing and catching and running and tackling: a public acknowledgment of your professional deficiencies. That is definitely what the best football teams spend any amount of time on during a game week.
“He understands that he needs to play better. And for him to stand up and take ownership with the team and quite frankly show vulnerability I think is a sign of growth in any player, and we’ve had several players do that this week. It just shows that our young players—and I still consider Carson in that young [category], only five years in is still relatively young in this league—that they’re showing signs of maturity and growth and leadership ability, especially from your quarterback. It was good to see. And conversations that he and I have had over the last month hopefully have maybe spurred him in that right direction.”Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson
If there is one thing people are always saying about the NFL, a league in which the average career length for players is less than three-and-a-half seasons, it is that a player who is in his fifth season as a starter is still “relatively young in this league.” When Doug Pederson notes that Wentz’s newfound maturity arises from conversations between the two of them, he is for sure definitely not shoehorning in some quick praise for his own performance as a coach, which is otherwise looking super shaky these days.
Since they are in the self-flagellating spirit, Pederson remarked that he will also need to “soul search a little bit” about his role and performance as a play-caller for an offense in the NFL’s bottom ten in points, yards, and passing yards per game. This sort of vulnerability and commitment to self-improvement, plus an occasional bouquet of fresh flowers, is a first-class ticket to a happy marriage, and I wish the Philadelphia Eagles many years of happiness together!