Eagles

Carson Wentz's goal is OTAs, but back not yet fully healed

Carson Wentz's goal is OTAs, but back not yet fully healed

When Doug Pederson announced on Dec. 14 that Carson Wentz had a stress fracture in his back, he said the full recovery time was expected to be around three months. 

That was four months ago. 

On Monday afternoon, as the Eagles began their offseason program, Wentz said the bone in his back has not yet full healed. 

“It’s still getting there,” Wentz said. “Some of the stuff just takes time. That’s not really the main concern, it’s just kind of how I feel and I feel really good with where I’m at.” 

That’s not enough to push the panic button, but the fact that it will take Wentz well over the original estimated amount of time to heal fully from this back injury, is certainly worth noting. 

But the Eagles still have time.

Wentz, 26, said his goal is still to be ready for the beginning of OTAs, which kick off for the Eagles on May 21. That will be at least five months removed from the injury and possibly even more. If Wentz isn’t on the field at the start of those practices, maybe then it’s time to start getting even more concerned. The Eagles have a few rounds of OTAs before their mandatory minicamp in mid-June. 

For now, Wentz said he is feeling good, but taking things “week by week.” He has been cleared to throw some and run, but wouldn’t get into too many specifics of his recovery. 

Wentz’s stress fracture in his back — it “developed over time,” according to Pederson last December —  ended his 2018 season early. It was the second straight year that Wentz finished the season on the shelf. 

In 2017, he tore his ACL in December and missed the historic playoff run to Super Bowl LII. He missed both playoff games in 2017 too, as Nick Foles again led the Eagles into January. 

Foles is gone this year as he signed a big-time free agent deal to join the Jaguars. That means the Eagles’ safety net is gone too and Wentz’s health is one of the most important elements to the team’s success. Nate Sudfeld is now the backup and while he’s a promising young player, he doesn’t have nearly the NFL experience Foles had. 

The Eagles have publicly been open to the possibility of extending Wentz to a long-term contract this offseason, the first offseason they are allowed to. Wentz said it is nice to hear their interest in signing him long-term, but will let his agent deal with all that. 

Wentz’s focus, for now, is getting healthy. Until he does, those questions about his durability aren’t going to disappear. 

“I get it. I get it,” he said. “I’m looking forward to putting those behind me. I understand it’s a part of this league, it’s a physical league and things happen. Some of those things are out of my control and I look forward to putting that behind me.”

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2019 NFL playoff picture: The entire NFC East really, really, really sucks

2019 NFL playoff picture: The entire NFC East really, really, really sucks

The Eagles have won one game since the first week of November, and they’ve lost exactly half a game to the first-place Cowboys in the NFC East standings.

The Cowboys lost their third straight game Thursday night, falling to the Bears, 31-24, in Chicago.

This definitely helps the Eagles although not quite as much as you might think.

Here's why:

The Cowboys fell to 6-7 after a 3-0 start. The Eagles are 5-7 with a game Monday night against the 2-10 Giants at the Linc.

But even with Dallas losing Thursday night, the Eagles still have to beat the Cowboys head-to-head and win their three other games to guarantee that they win the NFC East.

That’s because the Cowboys can still lose to the Eagles and finish 8-8 overall and 5-1 in the NFC East if they beat the Rams next Sunday and the Redskins on the final day of the season.

But even with a win over the Cowboys, a loss in any of their other games — to the Giants home and away or the Redskins — would leave the Eagles 8-8 overall and 4-2 in the division.

The Eagles easily win the common opponents tiebreaker with the Cowboys, but that doesn't come into play unless the teams are tied overall, head-to-head and in division record.

But the Cowboys' latest loss does help the Eagles in that if the Cowboys lose to either the Rams a week from Sunday or the Redskins on Dec. 29, the Eagles could afford to lose one of their remaining games and still win the division at 8-8 if they beat the Cowboys head-to-head, since in that scenario the Cowboys would finish 7-9.

The website fivethirtyeight.com, which provides percentages for teams to reach the playoffs based on changeable variables, had the Eagles with a 34 percent chance of winning the NFC East before the Cowboys-Bears game. That would have gone down to 26 percent if the Cowboys won. Instead it increased to 41 percent. 

If the Eagles beat the Giants Monday night, their chances increase to 47 percent. 

It's been so long since either of these teams won a game it seems silly to even talk about the playoff picture. 

But somebody has to win the NFC East. 

We think?

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Eagle Eye podcast: Which coaches are on the hot seat?

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Eagle Eye podcast: Which coaches are on the hot seat?

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast presented by Nissan, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro react to Doug Pederson’s comments about coaching staff accountability and go through his roster of coaches. 

Kamu Grugier-Hill has a concussion. Mack Hollins is gone. Jordan Howard still isn’t cleared for contact and the team hasn’t been the same without him.

And the Eagles do have a game this week! 

• Marken Michel is back and Dave is happy 
• Kamu Grugier-Hill has a concussion 
• Doug says he’ll hold coaches accountable 
• Which coaches might not be back?
• Mack Hollins gets cut 
• A lot of big contributors have gotten cut
• Eagles really miss Jordan Howard 
• Miles Sanders and Saquon Barkley 
• At least one more game vs. Eli 

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