Carson Wentz will take the field today for the first time since Dec. 10, 2017, which means 288 days between starts.
It’s fair to wonder how good he will be against the Colts. After all, he was playing at an MVP level last season, but he hasn’t played in a long while and will be without some offensive weapons.
We’ll find out today, but Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro give their expectations for Wentz's 2018 debut:
Two years ago, after sitting out a month of the preseason with a broken rib, Carson Wentz got a promotion from third string to starter eight days before the season began and went out with a bunch of receivers he barely practiced with and began his career with a 278-yard, two-touchdown, zero-interception masterpiece against the Browns. If Wentz can play like that as a rookie without a training camp, there is no reason to think he can’t go right out there today and light it up against the Colts as a third-year pro who had a training camp.
It’s not like Wentz has been hurt. He’s been rehabbing, but he didn’t miss a practice all summer. He just didn’t play. And I just don’t think an MVP type of guy like Wentz is going to be affected by not playing in a few preseason games. Conventional wisdom says this will take a while, but I’m not buying it.
I expect him to be comfortable, productive, explosive. The same Wentz we’re used to. Throwing the ball up and down the field, extending plays with his legs, making the guys around him better. I expect one thing from Wentz today. I expect he’ll be Wentz.
I expect Carson will be Carson too. It’s just that I think it’s going to take some time. Sure, Wentz has been practicing all summer, but he hasn’t played a football game since December. There’s going to be some rust. I think that’s just unavoidable. And the fact that both the receiver and running back positions are depleted won’t help.
I also don’t expect Wentz to be running around like a madman like he did at times during the 2017 season. I think he’ll be able to use his legs enough in the pocket, but I expect him to stay in the pocket more than he did at times in 2017. That can actually be a good thing. It’ll keep him healthy and keep his focus on getting the ball downfield.
The one aspect of Wentz’s maturation and rehab that I don’t think has been talked about enough is how much time he spent watching film over the last nine months. The time watching film and getting a new perspective is only going to help Wentz. Think about how much better me might be at the line of scrimmage; and he was already really good in that area. Obviously, no one wanted to see him get hurt, but I think he’ll come back an even better player. It might take a little bit of time to see it today, but I think by the end, everyone’s confidence in the MVP quarterback will be back.