A contentious Doug Pederson refused to say who will start for the Eagles at quarterback on Thursday night.
He did give a hint, though. Even if he didn’t want to.
Pederson admitted that Carson Wentz has not yet been cleared for contact as he recovers from surgery to repair a torn ACL and LCL. When asked if Wentz could theoretically get cleared for contact in the next couple days and be ready for Thursday, Pederson said, “We’ll see.”
The head coach’s pugnacious behavior came after Ian Rapoport from NFL Network reported on Saturday that the Eagles’ plan was to start Nick Foles in the game. Even though that appears to seem correct based on the fact that Wentz hasn’t been cleared, Pederson isn’t happy that the Falcons now know. Rapoport seems to clearly be the main target of Pederson’s angst.
“First of all, I appreciate y’all putting words in my mouth this week,” Pederson said. “And therefore, I’m not going to discuss it.”
When pressed about why he wouldn’t discuss it, Pederson said, “You saw the reports.” He then said he is lumping all reporters together.
Pederson refused to say who is taking first-team reps at quarterback, but when asked if the person who will start the game is getting all the first-team reps, Pederson said, “That’s usually how it works, yes.”
So let’s unpack all this.
Wentz isn’t cleared for contact. And the Eagles have clearly made a decision on who will start because one quarterback is taking all the first-team reps. If there’s a possibility Wentz wouldn’t be cleared for contact before the game, it wouldn’t make sense to give him valuable first-team reps that could go to Foles.
Unless the Eagles are pulling off some elaborate smoke-and-mirrors show, we know who the starter is.
Pederson said his refusal to answer questions about his starting quarterback were, in part, because of a perceived competitive advantage.
“A little bit, yeah. A little bit,” he said. “I’m trying to win a football game. And I don’t want to put my gameplan out there for everybody to see it and read it and teams can scheme. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense. So I appreciate it.”