Doug Pederson said he’s continued to meet with Carson Wentz to assure him he’s the Eagles’ quarterback when healthy, no matter what happens in the meantime.
Wentz, who went 5-6 in 11 starts before being sidelined indefinitely by a fracture in his back, watched as Nick Foles replaced him last year and led the Eagles to a Super Bowl championship and was on the sideline again Sunday night in Los Angeles as Foles led the Eagles to an upset win over the Rams.
Foles will make his fourth start of the year Sunday afternoon at the Linc against the Texans.
Pederson has made it clear publicly that Wentz remains the Eagles’ quarterback when healthy, but he said it’s important that he continues to make that clear to Wentz:
I think No. 1, I can stand here and say that Carson is our quarterback. He’s our quarterback of the future. That’s why we drafted him. That’s also why we have Nick here as a backup, as a veteran player, I don’t want to say to bail us out, but to come in and execute the offense, and I think we just continue to re-confirm that with Carson and let him know that and continue to say, ‘Hey listen, you’re going to be here for a long time and have a long career,’ and we just have to commit to that and communicate that to him and let that kind of sink in.
Wentz’s status beyond Sunday is unknown. He remains on the 53-man roster but was inactive for the win over the Rams and is expected to be inactive Sunday.
The Eagles haven’t made Wentz available to reporters covering the team since immediately after the Cowboys game.
Pederson indicated Friday that Wentz wants to play.
“Does he want to play through it? I would say this — and not speaking for Carson, I don’t want to put words in his mouth — but I think as an athlete who has an injury this time of year, if it’s not going to set them back, then yeah, I would say that everybody wants to play through injury,” he said.
“You see it around the league, not just with Carson, Avonte Maddox, Jordan Hicks, I think these guys have enough pride and want-to to try, but we’ve got to make sure they’re 100 percent. That’s kind of been our philosophy around here.”
This is a tricky situation.
The Eagles are 21-5 since 2013 when Foles starts and plays more than a quarter. The combination of his success and Wentz lacking some of the consistency of last year as he comes off his ACL injury has turned a segment of the fan base against Wentz.
So Pederson has to juggle two quarterbacks, one who was the second pick of the 2016 draft and played at an MVP level last year and the other who was the Super Bowl MVP.
But Pederson said this is really simple.
When the doctors say Wentz is ready, Wentz will play.
“Listen, it kind of goes back to the beginning of the year,” he said. “We’re going to trust the medical staff. It’s one of those deals, and you’ve got to make sure there won’t be any setbacks when you put him back out there.”
But Pederson acknowledged that it can be tough to keep Wentz on the bench when he wants to be out there.
“It can be,” he said. “But, listen: As long as we communicate and we’re up front and honest with him and have tough conversations — which we’ve had, not just me and him but the doctors and the medical staff — and he understands, I think we’re OK.”
What if Foles leads the Eagles back into the playoffs? What if Wentz replaces Foles going into the postseason and the Eagles lose? What if Foles gets the Eagles to the NFC Championship Game? Do you still change QBs?
Pederson is facing a complex issue. But one thing is certain: Having two quarterbacks capable of greatness is a much better dilemma than having none.
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