Eagles

Carson Wentz is 'trusting the process' in his rehab

Carson Wentz is 'trusting the process' in his rehab

After seeing Carson Wentz ramp up his rehab during spring practices, reporters were pretty eager on Wednesday to ask him for an update. 

There wasn’t much of one. 

“Just keep progressing, just stay the course,” Wentz said. “As my man Joel Embiid would say, just keep trusting the process.” 

This process has Wentz now doing individual drills and has him involved in 7-on-7s. It also has Eagles fans incredibly encouraged about his progress. After all, Wentz has continued to say his goal is to be ready for Week 1 and we haven’t seen anything to dissuade that. 

Wentz said he’d love to be “full bore” but is still feeling pretty good with where he’s at in his recovery from a torn ACL and LCL he suffered on Dec. 10. 

During the last few weeks, in practices open to reporters, Wentz hasn’t seemed to be favoring his surgically repaired left knee. In fact, he’s looked pretty comfortable planting on that knee, which has been sitting inside a black brace. 

Perhaps one of the most important developments from his media session on Wednesday after practice was his confidence in his mechanics. Remember, he altered some of his footwork and possibly even his throwing motion before the start of last season. 

“I feel great with my mechanics,” Wentz said. “I feel like I’ve been able to retain those pretty well. Even since I got hurt, I’ve been able to do some seated throwing throughout the whole time. That’s one thing I’ve emphasized a lot, to make sure those don’t go away.”

Seated throwing? 

Wentz said he didn’t think anyone really recommended throwing from the seat of his pants. It was just difficult to become a spectator for the playoffs, so he started doing it on his own. Maybe that will give him a little edge in his recovery. 

For the next five weeks, Wentz will spend most of his time around Philly while he rehabs at the team facility. He’ll have some down time, but mostly just working on his recovery. 

Last summer, he took his receivers to North Dakota for a little retreat. Wentz thinks that’s probably not going to happen this year just because he needs to be at the facility to rehab. “I know they might be sad about that,” he said through a smile. 

There are plenty of benchmarks left for Wentz to hit in his recovery, but the big one still looms. Eventually, he’ll need to be cleared for contact. Until that happens, he won’t be able to play. 

“It's just a matter of steady progression as we build towards training camp,” Doug Pederson said. “He's going to work extremely hard over the next month, month and a half, and be ready for camp, obviously, and then we'll just reevaluate. But those boxes will all get checked based on what our doctors and training staff will put forth for him.” 

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Michael Bennett done being reserved, ready to become more vocal

Michael Bennett done being reserved, ready to become more vocal

Coming to Philadelphia, Michael Bennett was in a bit of a strange situation. 

Bennett, who just turned 33 this week, had been a leader in Seattle for years, but this offseason he was traded to an Eagles team that was coming off a Super Bowl and seemed to already have a leadership group intact. 

So he felt like he had to tread lightly for a while. 

"But there's times where you know you're supposed to lead," Bennett said to NBC Sports Philadelphia this week. "And for me, that time is now. I can't hold back anything anymore because you don't have time to hold back."

Early in the season, Bennett wasn't even a starter and he wasn't producing at his normal rate. But recently, not only has Bennett assumed a starting role after Derek Barnett went to IR, he's also been one of the best players on the team. In the last six games, he has 5½ sacks. And he's feeling more empowered to let himself be heard. 

In recent weeks, Bennett has been speaking up more and he said he wants to start becoming even more vocal. He thinks his experiences can help the rest of his teammates and vice versa. 

I feel like people are responding to it. At first, you want to be reserved, but that's not me. That's not who I am as a person. The person I am, I've always stood for what I believe in, regardless. This is not a moment not to do that, not to remind us of what it takes to rekindle a relationship. Sometimes, when you play sports, you assume the relationship is great every single day. You have to be able to work on those relationships, work on evolving with the team. That's where we're at now. 

"Doing the little small things that we did before when we were the underdogs, not as the champions. 'Oh, maybe we don't need to run.' No, we need to run harder. We need to take one more step. 'Maybe we don't need to study.' No, we need to study five more minutes. Everything is about taking the next step for the growth that we need as an individual and as a team.

Bennett has been a reigning Super Bowl champion before too. After winning the Super Bowl at the end of the 2013 season, the Seahawks went back the following year, only to lose to the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX. That means he's the only guy on this roster who has been to back-to-back Super Bowls with the same team. He might be the only guy who truly knows what it takes. 

So as the Eagles try to recover from a 4-5 start, they could stand to listen to Bennett a little more. 

"After you go to the Super Bowl, the essence of everything is 'win, win, win.' And sometimes, you start to lose a little bit when you lose," he said. "And that's what you can't do. You have to still keep your swagger regardless of what's happening. Because the world doesn't want to see you win. The story is you losing. You have to be able to stand tall with your teammates."

That's similar to what the Eagles' captains said this week about their roles as leaders and similar to what Doug Pederson said he wanted from his leaders. The younger players on this team are watching. They're going to feed off of the energy provided by the vets. They're going to notice if there are heads hanging and folks are moping around the facility. 

And Bennett also echoed Pederson's message. He said everyone needs to ask themselves if they can do more. He said he thinks it now comes down to leadership. 

When I approached Bennett to chat on Thursday, he was apprehensive. He didn't want to become a willing participant in a story he thought might end up sounding negative. The Eagles are 4-5 and that's probably not what Bennett would have expected when he was traded to Philadelphia in March. But it's clear he's staying positive through these early-season struggles. 

"I feel like it's just beginning," Bennett said. "I feel like a team is not judged on what they do in a comfort zone. They're really judged on adversity. How well can you face adversity? And there've been times where we haven't faced it very well, so it's time for us to face it. And we've been in every game except for, really, the Buccaneers game. And really getting back into the fold of everything and capitalizing on it is the big thing. I just think we need to finish."

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Eagles are biggest Super Bowl champ underdogs in nearly a decade

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Eagles are biggest Super Bowl champ underdogs in nearly a decade

The Eagles are the reigning Super Bowl champions, but they're limping into New Orleans with a 4-5 record to play the best and hottest team in the NFL. 

The Saints (8-1) opened as nine-point favorites. 

That's significant because the Eagles are the biggest defending Super Bowl underdogs in nearly a decade. 

According to Bovada, the last time a defending Super Bowl champion opened as nine-point 'dogs was back in November 2009, when the Steelers went on the road to face the Ravens. Coming off a win in Super Bowl XLIII, the Steelers were 6-4 when they traveled to Baltimore to face the Ravens, who were 5-5. 

The only reason the Steelers were such big underdogs in this game was that Ben Roethlisberger suffered a concussion the previous week and the Steelers started backup QB Dennis Dixon. This was one of three career starts for Dixon. 

Still, the Steelers covered, losing 20-17 in overtime. 

While the Eagles reveled in their status as underdogs last year on their way to winning Super Bowl LII, this is the first time they've opened as underdogs this season. So it's pretty amazing that their first time as an underdog is by nine points. 

So far, 74 percent of bets are for the Saints to cover the large spread. It seems many people are counting the Eagles out. 

"It's a natural position for us," Malcolm Jenkins said. " We're used to that. It's probably more comfortable."

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