Carson Wentz's 1st NFL road test will be unlike anything he's experienced


Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz wasn't nervous about making his NFL debut, so why should Monday Night Football in Chicago be any different?

After all, the rookie signal-caller played in his share of big road games while at North Dakota State. There's Northern Iowa, Montana, oh, and don't forget South Dakota State. So which was the toughest?

"Probably the University of Montana," Wentz said. "Out there is a pretty cool environment, pretty loud atmosphere."

Washington-Grizzly Stadium, home to the University of Montana with its capacity for 25,217 spectators, is downright quaint compared to the 61,500 hostiles who will pack Soldier Field when the Bears host the Eagles. Wentz realizes it's not the same, but is there anything in his entire football background that can truly prepare him for this?

"Obviously it will be a little different," Wentz said. "I'm not naive to think that, but we'll be ready for it."

And how exactly does one go from Montana to preparing to play in front of one of the great die-hard fanbases in the NFL, an intense, passionate crowd that is sure to make the 24-year-old Wentz feel unwelcome?

"We expect it to be a loud environment," Wentz said. "We're going to have to work on a silent snap count and some different things, and it's going to be Monday Night Football. Everybody is going to be pretty hyped and ready to go, so we've just gotta focus in and we'll be ready."

All questions about Wentz's preparedness aside, if there's one thing he showed in the Eagles' Week 1 victory over the Browns, it's that he truly isn't afraid of the big stage. That much was apparent right away when he led a nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive capped off by a 19-yard touchdown to Jordan Matthews on his very first series in the NFL. 

Clearly nerves weren't an issue then, granted Monday night could be a little different. 

"Without a doubt, there's going to be a lot of excitement for me and for a lot of these guys playing prime time football," Wentz said. "When you grew up as a kid, you watched Monday Night Football all the time, so without a doubt it will be exciting.

"I find every game exciting. I don't take them for granted, so I'll be sure to have some fun out there."

Nothing seems to rattle this kid.

Wentz had the top selling jersey in the NFL this week. Even President Barack Obama is talking about jumping on the "Wentz Wagon." Oh, and the Eagles won this past Sunday, so there's that.

All of it figures to serve as one big confidence boost. Yet naturally, there is only one aspect of that which provided Wentz with any real assurance.

"I think the win does," Wentz said. "That other stuff is all kind of cool and it's all exciting, but at the end of the day, you kind of isolate yourself and block it out. But the win, I think getting that first start out of the way, getting the first win out of the way definitely helps my confidence going forward."

Despite the praise and attention his debut has drawn, Wentz sounds like he's managing to keep everything in perspective.

"It goes back to how I've kind of approached this all the way back since the draft process," Wentz said. "You just have to block out the noise — the good, the bad, whatever it may be — and just focus on ball, and just focus on getting better every week.

Can Wentz honestly be as cool as his attitude and performance on the field this past Sunday suggest? There go the questions again.

Wentz passed his first test with flying colors, but it was only one of 16 for this year. The Bears present a whole different challenge from the Browns, and the success he achieved last week won't dictate how he fares on Monday at Soldier Field.

And it might be important to remember the outcome when Wentz visited Montana.

"We lost," Wentz said. "We didn't lose many, but we lost that one."

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